Gia Maione

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Gia Maione is an American singer and widow of singer Louis Prima born 1941.

Gia Maione is a 1959 graduate of Toms River (New Jersey) High School (now known as Toms River High School South). She first gained notice in 1962, when she was signed to sing lead female vocals for Prima and his band. Prima had divorced Keely Smith, his former lead vocalist, the year before. Smith left the orchestra, creating the opening that Maione filled. The young singer's rich voice was an ideal match for Prima's rugged jazz riffs, and the couple performed and recorded together until Prima fell ill in 1975.

In 1963 she married Prima, becoming his fifth and final wife. She had two children by Prima, Louis Jr. and Lena. In 1965, the couple recorded Let's Fly With Mary Poppins, a popular album containing jazz versions of songs from the popular Disney film. The couple routinely performed at locations such as the Copacabana, the Sahara Hotel, the Sands Hotel, and the Palmer House in Chicago. Although paired with Prima near the end of his career, Prima, Maione and orchestra remained extremely popular and sang to sold out crowds up to the time of Prima's death.

In 1975, while undergoing 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 on August 24, 1978 in his home town of New Orleans.

The Prima estate was tied up in litigation for almost 15 years following Prima's death. In 1994, Maione assumed control of...
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