Julius La Rosa (January 2, 1930 – May 12, 2016) was an Italian-American traditional popular music singer, who worked in both radio and television beginning in the 1950s.
Julius La Rosa was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he attended P.S. 123K in Bushwick. At age 17, he joined the United States Navy after finishing high school, becoming a radioman. He sang in a Navy choir, at the officers’ club, and at bars to pay for his drinks.
The young sailor’s Navy buddies managed to promote him to Arthur Godfrey – at the time one of America’s leading radio and television personalities, and himself a Naval Reserve officer, whom the Navy often accommodated as a nod to the good publicity he gave the service.
George “Bud” Andrews, from Omaha, Nebraska, a seaman mechanic on Godfrey’s airplane struck up a conversation with Godfrey and told him that he really should hear his buddy sing. They arranged a time for La Rosa to audition in Pensacola, Florida, where La Rosa was stationed. Godfrey was impressed, offering La Rosa a job. Godfrey had La Rosa flown to New York to appear on his television show, with Godfrey ending the spot by saying,
“When Julie gets out of the Navy he’ll come back to see us.”
Discharged from the Navy on a Friday, La Rosa went to Godfrey on the following Monday, and a week later, in November 1951, he appeared on Godfrey’s variety show. He was a regular on both the morning Arthur Godfrey Time (broadcast on both the CBS radio and television networks) and the Wednesday night variety show Arthur Godfrey and His Friends.
La Rosa’s first recording, was “Anywhere I Wander”. It reached the top 30 on the charts, and his next recording, “My Lady Loves To Dance”, was a moderate success.
La Rosa’s third recording, “Eh, Cumpari”, hit #1 on the Cash Box chart and #2 on the Billboard chart, with La Rosa getting an award as the best new male vocalist of 1953. “Eh, Cumpari” was followed by another major hit, “Domani”. For thirteen weeks during the summer of 1955, La Rosa had a three-times-a-week television series on CBS, The Julius La Rosa Show, featuring Russ Case and his Orchestra. The Julius La Rosa Show aired in an hour-long format in the summers of 1956 and 1957 at 8 p.m. Eastern on Saturdays on NBC as a seasonal replacement for The Perry Como Show (Perry Como previously had La Rosa, on occasion, fill in for him during the 1954-’55 season of his CBS series).
See if you remember this adorable song by Julius La Rosa
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