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Donny "Conn" Claps

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Donny "Conn" Claps Obituary
January 3, 1930 - September 2, 2015 Donny 'Conn' Claps An 85 year adventure marked the life of Donny Conn, musician, comedian, speaker and creative spirit who entertained and enriched our lives. Donny was born in Waterbury, Connecticut where he attended schools and where he started playing drums. He went on and graduated from the University of Connecticut where he was one of the founders of Beta Sigma Gamma, the first intercultural and interracial fraternity in New England. After college in 1952, he toured the United States and Canada with The Playmates, pianist Chic Hetti and vocalist Morey Carr, who were also from Waterbury. The groups song "Beep Beep," the story of a Nash Rambler and a Cadillac was on the Billboard Top 40 charts for 12 weeks. It sold over 1 million copies and was awarded a gold disc. The Playmates followed up that hit with a chart topping single in 1959, "What Is Love," and then again in 1960 with "Wait for Me." Their 50's and 60's pop hits earned the group 5 Gold Singles and 'The Playmates' performed on classic television variety shows including the 'Ed Sullivan Show,' the 'Milton Berle Show,' and 'American Bandstand.' They recorded four albums for Roulette Records before the group, which was known for its between-song comedy and banter, broke up in 1965. Donny was able to successfully reinvent himself as a stand up comedian and then turned his comic talents to acclaim as a professional speaker. At the same time he started one of the first speakers bureaus to help book other speakers for conventions and business meetings. He moved to Malibu, CA in 1972. He is survived by his wife Joanne of 58 years and his children Kiela, Steven and Koby, and grandchildren Amanda and Kelly. A memorial service will be held in October. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to HOLA, (Hearts of Los Angeles Youth) at 2701 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100 Los Angeles CA 90057 or by web directly to: http://heartofla.org/ways-to-give/donate
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Sept. 18 to Sept. 20, 2015
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