Bobby Curtola, a Canadian teen heartthrob from the early ’60’s, died suddenly over the weekend while in Edmonton, Alberta. He was 73.
While the cause of death is unknown, his passing comes just over six months after his wife Karyn was killed in a car accident in Nova Scotia.
Curtola was born and raised in my hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario which at that time were the cities of Fort William and Port Arthur (they would amalgamate in 1970). Curtola hailed from Port Arthur and began to perform music while attending Lakeview High School (now known as St. Ignatius High School) backed up by a band called The Bobcats.
Some of Curtola’s hits include “Hitchhiker”, “Aladdin” and “Indian Giver” (Imagine trying to record a song like that in our politically correct age). His most enduring hit was “Fortune Teller” which barely missed the U.S. Top 40 in 1962.(which I have posted below).
Although success on the American charts eluded Curtola, he did capture the attention of Bob Hope who named him his opening act in Las Vegas during the early ’70’s.
Thunder Bay would honor its native son in 2003 by naming a street in his honor. Curtola was also named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1997 (the equivalent of the Presidential Medal of Freedom) for his musical and charitable endeavors.