Deaths Elsewhere

August 14, 2004

Robert "Willie" Egan,

70, who rose to fame as a blues singer and pianist in the mid-1950s, then fell into obscurity in the '60s and saw his career reborn 20 years later when European audiences discovered his music, died of cancer Aug. 5 in Inglewood, Calif.

Mr. Egan recorded the successful singles "Wow Wow," "What a Shame," "Come On," "She's Gone Away, But" and "Wear Your Black Dress." His last solo single was "Rock and Roll Fever" in 1958.

He later teamed with Marvin Phillips to form Marvin & Johnny, but eventually abandoned his music career as bookings dried up.

He was an unemployed hospital orderly in 1983 when a promoter tracked him down at his home in south Los Angeles to tell him he had a hit album in Europe. The album was assembled from remastered 45 rpm records he had made years earlier.

He went on to perform in London's Electric Ballroom with saxophonist Big Jay McNeely and others, and he recorded a well-regarded studio album called Going Back to Louisiana.

Giovanna Fontana,

88, the youngest of three sisters who were part of the heyday of Roman high fashion in the 1960s, died Wednesday at her home in Rome after suffering cardiovascular problems.

In 1936, she moved to Rome, where she opened the Sorelle Fontana fashion house with her sisters, Micol and Zoe. By the 1960s, the sisters -- along with other designers such as Fabiani and Capucci -- were creating outfits for film stars as well as the rich and famous.

The sisters created the dress worn by Anita Ekberg in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, and dressed Audrey Hepburn in her role in the Oscar-winning film Roman Holiday.

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