Skip Cannon made his debut in the early days of television on Ted Mack’s “Original Amateur Hour,” a show that could be compared to today’s “American Idol” as performers were chosen by popular vote of the audience. He sang a cappella on the show, and although he did not win, he could count himself among alumni the likes of Frank Sinatra, Gladys Knight, and Diana Ross and quickly became a teen sensation.
Mr. Cannon, who had cancer for 10 years, died of the disease at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn on April 10. He was 77.
Mr. Cannon caught the fever for shark fishing, his wife, Mary Cannon, said yesterday, and it led him to live in Montauk. He worked on the Cricket with Frank Mundus, the world-famous shark fisherman, and later bought the boat from him.
He continued to fish after working on the Cricket, mostly as a guest on the Oh Brother charter boat out of Montauk.
Born on July 11, 1933, in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, Mr. Cannon was the son of Richard Henry Francis Cannon II and the former Blanch Majewski. As a child he lived for a time in Melbourne, Fla.
During the Korean War he served for a year in the military police and saw combat, as a result of which he experienced a 60-percent loss of hearing and what would now be described as post-traumatic stress disorder, his wife said.
Once he returned home, Mr. Cannon worked as the director of airport maintenance for the Mid-Island Air Service at MacArthur Airport in Islip. He told his wife stories of stars bringing their aircraft there, and, as a golfer, he was especially impressed when Jack Nicklaus flew in.
Mr. Cannon enjoyed working on Jaguars and completely restored several of them. He also knew a good deal about animals and owned a pest control company for a time.
He was previously married to Grace D’Andrea and Patricia Wilkins. He married the former Mary Monahan in Northport in 1988.
Mr. Cannon was active in the Montauk Fire Department, serving as a fire commissioner, lieutenant, and as an emergency medical technician in Company 4, the ambulance crew. In 2002 he was named fireman of the year.
Last year he took a job as a traffic control officer in East Hampton. Even though the job could be trying when he had to issue a ticket, his wife said, “He had superior people skills. He should have been a hostage negotiator.”
In addition to his wife, Mr. Cannon is survived by a daughter, Andrea Cannon Giaordano, a sister, Doris Cannon Brown of Toms River, N.J., and a brother, James Cannon of Rocky Point. A son, Matthew Cannon, predeceased him.
Mr. Cannon made a gift of his organs to the donor program at the State University at Stony Brook. His family has asked that memorial donations be made to the Montauk Fire Department’s Company 4, 12 Flamingo Avenue, Montauk 11954.
A celebration of his life will be held at the fire department on May 14 from noon to 3 p.m.