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Julius LaRosa

  • Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
  • Birthday: January 02
Date of passing: 
May 12, 2016

Julius LaRosa was a singer and actor who became embroiled in controversy early in his career when popular radio and television host Arthur Godfrey fired him on the air during a national radio broadcast.  

From 1951 to 1953, shortly after his discharge from the Navy, LaRosa rose to fame as a singer on the CBS variety series Godfrey Time, which aired on TV and radio on weekday mornings, and Arthur Godfrey and His Friends, which aired on Wednesday nights. As his popularity rose, he began to receive more mail than Godfrey himself.

Julius LaRosa was a singer and actor who became embroiled in controversy early in his career when popular radio and television host Arthur Godfrey fired him on the air during a national radio broadcast.  

From 1951 to 1953, shortly after his discharge from the Navy, LaRosa rose to fame as a singer on the CBS variety series Godfrey Time, which aired on TV and radio on weekday mornings, and Arthur Godfrey and His Friends, which aired on Wednesday nights. As his popularity rose, he began to receive more mail than Godfrey himself.

Although Godfrey had an easygoing on-air persona, he was reportedly a stringent manager who made numerous demands of his performers. He required them to take dance lessons and forbade them from working for outside companies and from being represented by agents.

LaRosa bristled at the edicts and refused to obey them, which rankled Godfrey. The situation came to a head on October 19, 1953, during a morning segment heard only on the radio. After La Rosa finished singing the song “Manhattan,” Godfrey, audible to listeners, said, "That was Julie's swan song."

The public termination brought criticism to Godfrey and tarnished his image. For LaRosa, who emerged from the incident as a sympathetic figure, it brought new career opportunities. Ed Sullivan hired him to perform on several episodes of his popular program Toast of the Town, he began touring the country as a singer and in the summer of 1955 he had a program of his own, The Julius LaRosa Show

In addition, he guested on dozens of other variety and talk shows, including those hosted by Dinah Shore, Steve Allen, Peggy Lee, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Polly Bergen, Perry Como and Pat Boone. He later joined the cast of the daytime drama Another World, and in 1980 he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for best supporting actor.

Over the years, he also remained busy in regional theater productions and nightclubs, and in 1957 he appeared in the feature film Let's Rock. In addition, he worked as a disc jockey for WNEW in New York and for WNSW in Newark.

LaRosa died on May 12, 2016, in Crivitz, Wisconsin. He was 86.
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