Lu Ann Simms

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On a warm Sunday afternoon in October of 1961, a bridal shower was held at the Stage Coach Inn in Webster, NY. Likely not the first or last such event held at the inn, but this one was special. This was a bridal shower for the future wife of Casper Stolt, whose older brother Tony owned the Stage Coach Inn. And as it happens, the bride to be, Lu Ann Simms was a popular singer and household name through her many appearances on Arthur Godfrey’s radio and television programs.

Though Casper and Lu Ann had known each other since childhood, their path to marriage was a long and bittersweet one.

Both were from families who immigrated from Italy. Lu Ann’s birth name was Lucille Ann Ciminelli but she changed it for “stage and screen”. Casper’s entire family changed their last name from Di Giamberardino to Stolt.

Lu Ann grew up in the city of Rochester, went to Our Lady of Mercy High School and worked at Morrie Silver’s record shop before landing a spot on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. Godfrey was at the height of his success in the early 1950’s, and produced multiple radio and television programs. Lu Ann was hired to appear regularly on all of them. From 1952 to 1955, she appeared on 8 separate radio and television broadcasts a week.

Casper grew up in Fairport, played sports in high school, served in the military, and worked in the beverage industry. If Casper had had any dreams of marrying Lu Ann, they likely were forgotten when she married a record executive named Loring Buzzell in 1954.

Unfortunately after the birth of her first child in 1955, Simms was fired by Godfrey. She was one of many fired by Godfrey for no explainable reason. His pension for dismissing popular stars soon led to a huge decline in viewership and the end of many of his programs.

Simm’s career problems soon seemed trivial when her 32 year old husband Loring died of a heart attack in 1959.

With the help of family and friends Lu Ann regrouped and on October 15, 1961 became Mrs. Lu Ann Stolt. The couple and Lu Ann’s two children with Loring, soon moved to Los Angeles but things never really went as planned. Casper and Lu Ann divorced in 1968.

Both remained in California and largely out of the public eye. Lu Ann died in 2003 at the age of 71. Her grave marker reads “Loved Ice Cream & Dodgers”. Casper married Gloria Mescia, a fellow New Yorker of Italian descent in 1973. He died in 1998 at the age of 68.

PUPPY LOVE – LU ANN SIMMS; PERCY FAITH and his ORCHESTRA – 1952

Puppy Love 1952

LA LA LU – LU ANN SIMMS; Mitch Miller and his Orchestra – 1955

La La Lu 1955

More of Lu Ann’s Recordings

Le Parfum de Rochester

Le Perfum de Rochester

Lilac could easily be considered the fragrance of Rochester…but for many years a variety of scents filled the Flower City air via a perfume factory on Capron Street.

In 1856, Chauncey B Woodworth, an Irondequoit farmer and saw mill owner, purchased of all things, a fledgling perfume business. With the help of his sons, Woodworth soon turned the unique enterprise into a thriving family business. By the turn of the century their “imperishable perfumes, triple extracts and toilet preparations” were known well beyond the Rochester city limits.

The company’s product line continued to grow through the 1920’s. One of their most significant products were their face powders that were sold in attractive custom made metal tins.

After establishing a presence in Europe, the company caught the attention Pierre and Paul Wertheimer who owned the french perfume house Bourjois as well as the perfume lines of Chanel. In 1929 the Wertheimer’s purchased Woodworth’s and merged their operations into Bourjois. For the next 45 years Bourjois would manufacture products for the American market in their Rochester facility.

One of their best known perfumes produced in Rochester was Evening in Paris which was a fragrance created by Ernest Beaux, the creator of Chanel No. 5.

Sadly, in 1974 during a period of reorganization in the perfume and cosmetics industry, the Rochester facility was closed. In 1975 the Bourjois factory on Capron St. was torn down and is today a parking lot.

Some have said the air on summer nights near the old factory location still possesses the aroma of an evening in Paris.

Further reading:

The Story of C B Woodworth Perfumer
Woodworth & Sons
History of Bourjois
Cosmetic History Timeline