November 4, 1920 - September 11, 2014 Johnny Rotella, 93, musician/song writer for Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Johnny was born in Jersey City, NJ, one of 8 children of Italian immigrants, Francesco and Angela Rotella. He began his music career in his teens, playing clarinet and saxophone with his brothers. After serving in the 389th ASF Band at Ft. Monmouth, NJ during WWII, Johnny joined the Raymond Scott band in NY, then Benny Goodman's and Tommy Dorsey's. He met Ann Graziano, in 1946, in NY and they married in December 1947. He came to Hollywood to join Jerry Gray's band on Club 15 and started his recording career. Johnny went on to play for Jimmie Haskell, Earle Hagen and Buddy Baker on TV shows like the The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, Mickey Mouse Club, I Spy, Andy Williams and film scores including Godfather 1 and 2. He recorded with Neil Diamond, Frank Zappa and Steely Dan, and played for theatre productions in L.A., with artists like Ethel Mermen and Billy Ekstine. Johnny wrote over 200 songs including those with Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn, Paul Francis Webster, Ray Gilbert and Jerry Gladstone. His songs have been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Doris Day, Rosemarie Clooney and Tony Bennett, and his hit song, "Nothing But the Best" was the title track for the ten year anniversary CD of Sinatra's death. Johnny is survived by his wife of almost 67 years, Ann (Graziano) Rotella. He is also survived by children: Geraldine Rotella Rotter, son in law Peter Rotter, Joanne, John, Bill and Mary Rotella; grandchildren: Jessica, John, Brianna, David, Danielle, Mia and Mason; and great-grandchildren: Viola and Miles. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30AM on Wednesday, September 24, at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood. Interment Services will be private, at San Fernando Mission Cemetery.
Published in Los Angeles Times on Sep. 24, 2014.