Hello from Louis

Hi friends, hope all is well with you and yours and that you`re having a great summer. I haven’t written much lately as there have been many changes in my life. Sadly, Corinne my darling, beautiful wife of almost 61 years passed away peacefully on March 25th, with all of us at her side after a two year illness. She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend and everyone who knew her loved her.

We will celebrate her life at every special occasion and everyday by keeping the family close and being good to one another. Although I, the kids and entire family miss her terribly she is now at peace and as one of my sweet great grand daughters Shaye said: “Great Nonna is dancing with the angels” and I know she is.

As well as Corinne I’ve recently lost some close friends including my dear friend Ferny Flaman. Ferny and I, Corinne and his wife Jeanne were friends for 47 years. Ferny was a true gentleman. He was known around the world for being a great hockey player and played for both the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was a legendary coach at Northeastern University and a renowned scout for the New Jersey Devils. I also had the honour of knowing him as my friend and buddy and will really miss him.

I`m lucky to be surrounded by my wonderful family and great friends who continue to support me at every turn. My son-in-law Dave turned 60 and they threw a big themed Woodstock party for him. I remember when Patti brought him home and yes he did look like a hippie!! Lots of fun and so was the combined backyard birthday party for my great –grandchildren Owen, Shaye and Kiera. Family, friends, great food, music and laughter, it feels good to be out in the sun again.

I look forward to hearing from you and to hopefully seeing some of you soon. Be well…Louis

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Charlie Camilleri

Yesterday I attended the standing room only Memorial Celebration for Charlie Camilleri. I met Charlie through Variety Club International, The Children’s Charity where both of us were proud members. Charlie did so much for the kids and Variety Village, even becoming Chief Barker.  I learned so much about him I never knew like he played for the Toronto Argos and was their Grey Cup Champion quarter-back in 1946 & 47. He was a Promotion Manager at CBS Records back in the 60’s,70’s and 80’s. A true gentleman and family man.  My daughter Patti, son in law Dave and I sat with friends marveling at his wonderful life full of great accomplishments. Friends & family were invited to the podium to share their special memories and pay tribute. His son Ron asked me to say a few words and I was very honored to speak.

Sincere Sympathy to his lovely wife Peggy, sons Ron & Rick and family.

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The being FRANK Show

Last Monday I was honoured to guest for the second time on Frank D`Angelo`s popular late night TV show, The beingFRANK Show. My daughter Patti was also invited and to sing with Frank`s talented band too. Arriving at Frank`s renowned restaurant Forget About It, we were greeted royally. The restaurant was filled with lively people enjoying fabulous food. Frank had arranged a private pre-show lunch for everyone and we enjoyed great wine, antipasto, cheeses and a delicious main course. The food was superb (and I know a little something about good food!) Author Dr. Georgina Cannon, comedian Jeff Elliot and my friend of 70 years Lou Myles, were also guests on the show. Before his career as clothier to the stars, Lou and I were bus boys together at the Royal York. We shared memories and lots of laughs, especially in the Green Room trying to stay quiet! It was time to tape the show and one by one we were introduced. Patti did a fabulous job of singing Stand By Me with the band and when Frank joined her at the end the crowd loved it! After Patti’s interview it was my turn. Frank asked me a few questions and I told stories from my book King of the Maitre`D`s, a name given to me by friends in the hospitality industry. Before I knew it, my time was up. (I remembered later that I had forgotten to mention my new web site and how people could contact me on it) After the taping Frank extended even more generosity to us as we were invited to join him for some delicious pasta, one of Frank`s famous family recipes. It was a wonderful day from the moment the limo picked us up and I want to thank Frank again for having us on the show. It will be aired on January 20th at 1:00am or you can get it anytime on Rogers On Demand.

Frank’s a smart, classy, talented guy and we look forward to seeing him again soon.

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My Portrait at Fairmont Royal York Hotel

I was thrilled to learn that The Royal York Hotel had hung my portrait taken by the great photographer Al Gilbert in the Main Mezzanine. I went there today to see it and met with my friend Mike Bellissimo who arranged a photograph. What an honour to be surrounded by such history and the people that made the Royal York so great. Royality, dignitaries, the biggest and brightest stars and of course, the staff who were the glue, the strength that held this great hotel together. Working with so many of them, brought back wonderful memories.

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Twas the Bite Before Christmas

Went with my daughter Patti, son in law Dave, granddaughter Ashley, to a fundraiser for the Mississauga Food Bank. Ashley & I were guests of  Deanna and Scott Insley and Patti and Dave were sitting with Ward 1 Councillor Jim Tovey, his lovely wife Lee and friends. Matt Dusk performed, a lot of money was raised for a great cause. Congratulations to the organizer Dan Meadowcroft.

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Happy Birthday Tony Bennett

Here’s a story I’d love to share with you about my recent trip to New York City to see Tony Bennett in concert for his 85th Birthday celebration.

I was picked up by 3:00 PM in front of my condo by the limo and whisked off to Pearson Airport where a private plane was waiting for us. Our party of 10 was dropped off 30 feet from the plane for a champagne and wine flight to New Jersey. We arrived at 5:00 PM, US customs was all pre-arranged and we jumped into two stretch limos waiting to take us to the Plaza Hotel. Here, we enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails before we went back into the limos and on to the Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House. We were a bit late and Tony Bennett was already performing with the great Aretha Franklin, so we stood where we could still see them. Then we were quickly escorted to our seats where President Bill Clinton was seated 20 feet away. After Aretha’s fabulous performance, Tony invited Elton John to the stage where he performed to an enthralled crowd.
The Metropolitan Opera House is one of the most beautiful opera houses in the entire world and that night it was packed to capacity.
You could almost cut the excitement in the air! Tony was in fabulous voice as always. When he sang “Fly Me To The Moon” accapella, it reminded me of The Imperial Room and all the great times that we’ve shared since first meeting in 1971. He has been such a great friend, I thought back to the days of running the Canadian Italian Amateur Hockey League, when Tony would travel with me to the George Bell Arena to throw the first puck. I remember him coming to our first little home in Etobicoke for dinner, how the word spread like wild fire that he was there and how suddenly our house was surrounded by ecstatic neighbours and Tony gratiously signed autographs to each and every one of them.

After Tony’s marvelous and brilliant performance and to the sound of numerous encores and thunderous applause, we walked out of the Opera House into a huge tent with seating for 500. Through the kindness and generosity of Will Burton, a great guy and same friend who who invited me, chartered the plane and planned the entire evening, we were fortunate to have a wonderful table at the exclusive birthday dinner for . All proceeds went to the Frank Sinatra School of Fine Arts of which he founded. There were numerous pictures of Tony and his lovely wife Susan standing proudly beside gifted students who had been awarded scholarships. A few weeks before we had watched Tony perform at the Rexall Centre with Diana Krall opening for him. (I’ll have to tell you all about our wonderful experience that night with Tony and his wife Susan, Diana Krall and her husband Elvis Costello, my daughter Patti, son-in-law Dave and Frank DeAngelo another time!) Backstage after that show I had let Tony know that I had been invited and would be coming to his birthday celebration. He was so happy I was coming and now it was hard to believe I was actually here!

As I walked in I found myself in front of a very tanned George Hamilton. I said “Mr. Hamilton, my name is Louis Jannetta and I worked at the famous Imperial Dining Room at the Royal York Hotel. I had the privilege of meeting the greatest stars from all over the world”. I knew his father was a famous orchestra leader. We had a great conversation about him and then we took a picture together. At the entrance we were being escorted to our table when I saw Regis Philbin. I said hello and that I loved his show. I added that when he performed for our Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion’s Gala my daughter Patti and her band performed right after him for the dancing part of the show. I had also sent one of my books backstage to him. He seemed genuine when he said he remembered and had enjoyed it.

The MC was none other than Alec Baldwin and what a fabulous job he did! During the dinner Elton John sang hit after hit for at least an hour to constant ovations and thunderous applause. Just before dessert arrived I walked towards Regis’s table and there was Alec Baldwin, Richard Gere and Whoopee Goldburg having an animated conversation with Regis. I didn’t want to interrupt but noticed Robert DiNiro sitting alone. I approached him and introduced myself and mentioned I was a good friend of the late Dusty Cole, the originator of the International Film Festival. He loved him so we spoke about what a great guy he was and then had our picture taken together. Aretha Franklin was at the next table. I smiled and told her how much I enjoyed her performance. We started talking about how some of the greatest female voices had performed in the Imperial Room. Stars like Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Josephine Baker and Eartha Kitt and she said she knew them all. I told her I wished she had of performed there. We shared some warm conversation and then had our picture taken. I went by Regis’s table again and struck up a conversation with Alec Baldwin, then Whoopee Goldburg and Richard Gere and had pictures taken with all of them. I noticed Elton John and husband David at the next table. I bowed and said “Your Lordship, we met many years ago when you brought the cast of a show you’d just seen to see Phyllis Diller”. David laughed and said “I know you Louis, and my mother knows you. She used to come to the Imperial Room”. He asked for my card so I could send his Mom my book. Then Elton and I had our picture taken. What an experience! What memories!
Thanks to my friend Will Burton I experienced an incredible night I will treasure forever.

A night spent honouring the birthday of my great and dear friend Tony Bennett.

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Tony Bennett and Diana Krall at the Rexall Center

What a surprise to receive the call from my dear friend Tony Bennett’s manager saying Tony had tickets for me to his show at the Rexall Centre. So honoured that he always thinks of me and my family. My daughter Patti and son in law Dave were excited to see him again and also that Diana Krall was the opening performer. I invited a few other friends along including Frank D’Angelo who invited all of us for dinner before the show. Tony, his lovely wife Susan, Patti and Dave, their guitarist Roy, myself and Frank’s guest enjoyed a delicious meal full of lively conversation. Tony and Susan left for sound check and the rest of us headed to the Rexall Center later. Our seats were terrific. Diana Krall was brilliant and the crowd loved her. Anticipation grew with people chanting “Tony, Tony!” He walked onto to a standing ovation that never seemed to stop. Song after song, he enthralled us and kept us in the palm of his hands. There’s nobody like him! Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas and a huge storm rolled in cancelling the rest of the show. People waited for over an hour for it to stop but it never did so they announced the show was finished. We went backstage and had a fabulous visit with Tony, Susan, Diana and her Irish husband Elvis Costello. Elvis and I had a great conversation about the stars and renowned authors of Ireland like Brendan Behan. Patti told me as were leaving, Diana kissed her cheek and said Thanks for the gift of your father, Elvis really enjoyed meeting him. Shortly after, I sent him a book. What another wonderful night with my dear friend Tony Bennett.

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