Day in History 24 August – Louis Prima – Simone Weil

On this day in 1978 Sicilian-American singer, actor, songwriter, and trumpeter, Grammy Award winner, “The King of the Swing” Louis Prima died from a cerebral hemorrhage in New Orleans at the age of 67.  Born on 7 December 1910 in New Orleans.  Known for his voice performance of the orangutan King Louie in the Walt Disney film, The Jungle Book (1967) and for singing the song “I Wanna be like You”.  Also known for his arrangement and recording of the medley “Just a Gigolo”/”I Ain’t Got Nobody”, which was later covered by David Lee Roth.  Prima wrote the swing standard “Jump Jive and Wail”.  The Final Footprint – Prima is entombed in the Prima family private mausoleum in Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.  The gray marble crypt is topped by a figure of Gabriel, the trumpeter-angel, sculpted in 1997 by Russian-born sculptor Alexei Kazantsev.  The inscription on the crypt’s door is:  A LEGEND “WHEN THE END COMES, I KNOW, THEY’LL SAY, “JUST A GIGOLO” AS LIFE GOES ON WITHOUT ME,  LOVINGLY, YOUR LITTLE FAMILY…”  Other notable final footprints at Metairie include; Jim Garrison, jazz trumpeter Al Hirt, Hall of Fame baseball player Mel Ott and poet Stan Rice.

Simone_Weil_1921On this day in 1943, French philosopher, Christian mystic, and social activist, Simone Weil died after a lifetime of battling illness and frailty in a sanatorium in Ashford, Kent, England, from cardiac failure at the age of 34.  Born 3 February 1903 in Paris.  Weil wrote throughout her life, though most of her writings did not attract much attention until after her death.  In the 1950s and 1960s, her work became famous on continental Europe and throughout the English-speaking world.  Her fame began to decline in the late 1960s and she is now rarely taught at universities.  Yet her thought has continued to be the subject of extensive scholarship across a wide range of fields.  A meta study from the University of Calgary found that between 1995 and 2012 over 2,500 new scholarly works had been published about her.  Although sometimes described as odd, humourless, and irritating, she inspired great affection in many of those who knew her.  Albert Camus described her as “the only great spirit of our times”.  SimoneWeilGraveAug2012The Final Footprint – Weil is interred in the Catholic Section of the Bybrook Cemetery Ashford Kent, England Plot.

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