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 1952
La La Lu 1955