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Passings: Larry Verne (1936 - 2013)

It is amazing that an artist who hit the top of the charts in the United States could fade so much from the scene that his passing can go unnoticed for almost a month.

While there is no confirmation from the family, it has been reported that Larry Verne died on October 8 in Sylmar, CA at the age of 77 (other reports put him at 79). He had been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and had suffered three strokes but the cause of death is reported as heart failure.

According to a 1978 interview by Jerry Osbourne, Verne was working in Hollywood as a stuntman when he got to know songwriters Al DeLory, Fred Darian and Joseph Van Winkle. They had a new novelty songs called Mr. Custer and asked Verne to go in the studio and try to record it. The song was released in the U.S. on Era and went to number 1 on the pop and 9 on the R&B charts in 1960.

Verne went back in the studio for the followup, Mr. Livingston, but it only made it to number 75 and was the last charting record for the singer. According to the interview, he remembers recording about ten singles and one album before leaving the recording industry, although he did do background vocals on occasion. He returned to backstage work as a full-time vocation, becoming a construction foreman and assistant set art director.