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48 Hours

August 11, 2001

Joyce Rudolph

BURBANK -- Before Dean Colley goes on stage portraying the famous

singer Neil Diamond, he draws on his memory of videos the pop artist made

during the mid-1970s. Colley tries to capture Diamond's stage presence,

how he moves his arms and hands and how he walks while he's singing.

"I just love to be able to step up and put someone else's face on,"

Colley said. "It's a real challenge. It gives me a chance to express


myself in a different way."

He will perform Sunday night at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank along

with Frank Gorshin and Frank Sinatra impersonator Michael B. Levin.

Colley grew up in Los Angeles and was a pre-med student at USC in the

late 1970s and early '80s while working at Queen of The Valley Hospital

Emergency Room. But medicine wasn't his true passion, so he turned to

music, playing guitar in a variety of rock 'n' roll bands for 18 years.

Four years ago, a promoter remarked that he looked so much like Neil

Diamond he could be making three times as much with a tribute act. So

Colley put together a backup band and a 25-plus song list. "Hot August

Night! A Tribute to Neil Diamond" went public for the first time

producing a promotional concert in 1998 to a sold-out crowd of 500 at the

Ontario Convention Center.

A thrill for Colley was performing with the late Vince Charles at one

of his first shows. A longtime member of Diamond's band, the steel drum

player and percussionist sat in for half the show, Colley said.

Over the years, the act has appeared in Las Vegas, Reno, Oregon, and

throughout California at local fairs, clubs, concerts in the park and


Also finding success in the impersonating field is Michael B. Levin,

who has portrayed a tribute to Frank Sinatra for more than six years.

Sinatra's popularity, Levin said, stems from his unique singing style

-- his use of phrasing and his charisma.

"He recorded over six decades. I don't think there was anyone else who

did that. It was pretty amazing," he said.

Levin, who is also a stand-up comic/impressionist with more than 25

different singing voices, has performed as Old Blue Eyes in casinos and

clubs throughout the United States, including The MGM and Luxor in Las

Vegas. He is also the voice of Dino Spumoni for Nickelodeon's TV show

"Hey Arnold."

One of Levin's favorite mementos received from a fan is a $100

gambling chip that Sinatra had given the fan.

Most people remember Frank Gorshin as the original Riddler on the '60s

TV show "Batman."

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