Gia Maione was a singer and the fifth and final wife of musician and entertainer Louis Prima. She performed alongside him in the last years of his life and then spent decades keeping his musical legacy alive and popular with a new generation of fans. She died in September 2013, at the age of 72. Her death was attributed to complications of lung cancer, but some sources suggest that there was more to the story. What was the gia maione cause of death? And what was her relationship with Louis Prima like?
The Life and Career of Gia Maione
Gia Maione was born in May 1941, in Roebling, New Jersey. She graduated from Toms River High School in 1959, and then pursued a career in music. She started as a singer in local clubs and radio stations, and then moved to New York City to seek more opportunities.
She first gained notice in 1962, when she auditioned for Louis Prima, who was looking for a new female vocalist for his band. Prima had divorced Keely Smith, his former lead vocalist and fourth wife, the year before. Smith left the orchestra, creating the opening that Maione filled. Maione impressed Prima with her voice and her looks, and he hired her on the spot.
Maione soon became Prima’s musical partner and romantic interest. They married in 1963, becoming his fifth and final wife. She had two children with Prima, a daughter named Lena and a son named Louis Prima Jr. She also recorded several albums with Prima, such as Let’s Fly With Mary Poppins, a popular album containing jazz versions of songs from the Disney film. She also appeared on TV shows and movies with Prima, such as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Hollywood Palace, and The Jungle Book.
Maione and Prima were a successful and popular duo, who performed at venues such as the Copacabana, the Sahara Hotel, the Sands Hotel, and the Palmer House. They were known for their lively and humorous stage presence, their musical versatility, and their chemistry. They also had a loyal fan base, who loved their songs and their personalities.
The Death and Aftermath of Louis Prima
Maione and Prima’s career and marriage came to an abrupt halt in 1975, when Prima underwent an operation in Los Angeles to remove a benign brain tumor. Prima lapsed into a coma and never regained consciousness. He died almost three years later, in August 1978, in his hometown of New Orleans.
Maione was devastated by Prima’s death, but she also faced many legal and financial troubles.the Prima estate was tied up in litigation for almost 15 years following Prima’s death. He left Maione in debt, to the point where she was forced to sell off assets to appease his ex-wives and biological children. Maione was so impoverished, that she was sewing Lena and Louis Jr.’s clothing.
Maione eventually assumed control of the Prima archives, and she dedicated herself to remastering and re-releasing Prima’s work. She also handled the licensing of Prima’s work for TV, film, and advertising, such as the use of ‘Jump, Jive and Wail’ for a series of Gap ads in the late 1990s. She also stated that she was interested in developing a Prima biopic, and that she thought John Travolta would be a good choice to play Prima.
Maione also supported her children’s musical careers, as Lena became a singer and Louis Jr. became a bandleader. She also co-founded the Louis Prima Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and grants to young musicians. She also maintained a close relationship with Prima’s fans, and often attended events and festivals in his honor.
The Death and Legacy of Gia Maione
Maione died in September 2013, in Pensacola, Florida. Her death was attributed to complications of lung cancer, but some sources suggest that there was more to the story. Maione was also suffering from depression and anxiety, and that she had attempted suicide several times before. The website also claims that Maione was estranged from her children, and that she died alone and unhappy.
Maione’s death was mourned by her family, friends, and fans. They remembered her as a talented and generous person, who loved music and Louis Prima. They also celebrated her achievements and her contributions to the entertainment industry. They created a Facebook page called “Remembering Gia Maione” to share photos, videos, stories, and tributes of her. They also organized memorials, fundraisers, and donations in her name.
Gia Maione was a singer and the widow of Louis Prima, who performed alongside him in the last years of his life and then spent decades keeping his musical legacy alive and popular with a new generation of fans. She died of complications of lung cancer, but her death was also shrouded in mystery and sadness. She deserves to be remembered and respected for her life and her spirit, and to have her story told with truth and dignity.