Louis Prima Biography
Louis Prima was an American singer, actor, songwriter, bandleader, and trumpeter. He rooted in New Orleans jazz, swing music, and jump blues, Prima touched on various genres throughout his career.
Louis Prima Age
He was born on December 7, 1910, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Prima was 68 years old as 2019.
Louis Prima Parents
His father, Anthony Prima, was the son of Leonardo Di Prima, a Sicilian immigrant from Salaparuta. Prima’s mother, Angelina Caravella, had immigrated from Ustica as a baby. He was the second child of four; his older brother, Leon, was born in 1907. Louis’s sisters Elizabeth and Marguerite were younger.
Marguerite died when she was three years old. Leon, Louis, and Elizabeth were all baptized at St. Ann’s Parish. They lived in a house at 1812 St. Peter Street in New Orleans. Prima’s mother, Angelina, was a first-generation Italian American. A music lover, she made sure that each child played an instrument.
Louis Prima Wife
Prima married five times he was previously married to Gia Maione (1963 – 1978), Keely Smith (1953 – 1961), Tracelene Barrett (1948 – 1953), Alma Ross (1935 – 1947). He meets Louise Polizzi in 1929, to 1936. They married on June 25, 1929. He had six children; five daughters and one son.
Louis Prima photo
Louis Prima Education
Prima attended Jesuit High School but transferred to Warren Easton High in the fall of 1926. At Warren Easton, he played with the “Eastonites”, the school band. In 1927, he partnered with fellow musician Frank Federico and the pair played at “The Whip”, a run-down French Quarter nightclub. By the spring of 1928, Prima decided he would become a professional musician.
Louis Prima Jungle Book
Prima and Butera’s act was soon joined by vocalist Gia Maione, who wed Prima in 1963. He recorded for his own imprint Prima One Magnagroove before starring in Walt Disney’s 1967 animated film The Jungle Book. Providing the voice of the swinging king of the apes, Louie. Prima recorded the classic “I Wan’na Be Like You,” with the movements of he and his band serving as inspiration for Disney animators. He later recorded songs for the Disney film The Rescuers (1977) that remained unreleased until the 2000s.
Prima continued to play together in Vegas for a time and by the ’70s had returned to New Orleans. In 1975, he underwent surgery to have a brain tumor removed and lapsed into a coma. In which he remained until his death in 1978.
Maione has worked to maintain the Prima estate and helped to keep his legacy alive in the pop culture canon, including overseeing his music’s usage in a number of films that have included Analyze This and Swingers. A 1999 documentary appeared on the musician’s life as well–Louis Prima: The Wildest.
Louis Prima Career
After finishing high school in New Orleans, he had a few unsuccessful gigs. Including when he joined the Ellis Stratako Orchestra in 1929. Prima, Federico, and saxophonist Dave Winstein drove to Florida for a gig but no one showed up. They made it to a relative’s house, where they were given money for gas and a meal. He did not give up. Prima joined Joseph Cherniavsky’s Orchestra in 1929 at Jefferson Parish.
He got a temporary job playing on the steamship Capital that docked on Canal Street. The Capital did not provide him with a big break for his career. From 1931-32 Prima occupied his time by performing in the Avalon Club owned by his brother Leon. His first break was when Lou Forbes hired him for a daily afternoon and early evening shows at the Saenger
Louis Prima Death
Prima suffered a heart attack in 1973. Two years later, following headaches and episodes of memory loss. He sought medical attention and was diagnosed with a brain stem tumor. Prima suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and went into a coma following surgery. He never recovered, and died three years later, in 1978, having been moved back to New Orleans.
He was buried in Metairie Cemetery in a gray marble crypt topped by a figure of Gabriel. Trumpeter-angel, sculpted in 1997 by Russian-born sculptor Alexei Kazantsev. The inscription on the crypt’s door quotes the lyrics from one of his hits: “When the end comes, I know, they’ll say, ‘just a gigolo’ as life goes on without me…”
Louis Prima youtube
Note: This biography is based on the available information as of 2023, and real-time updates or developments are being updated by our editorial team.