Danny Rapp — After the hop, a lonely death

The rise and fall of Danny & The Juniors

Everybody was dancing and having fun

Everyone but Danny Rapp

In 1957, superstar DJ Dick Clark booked Danny & The Juniors on his national television show American Bandstand. Danny Rapp was just sixteen.

The four teenagers sang ‘At The Hop’ — and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

The rise and fall of Danny & The Juniors.

The doo-wop song was a worldwide hit, selling millions of copies and bringing instant fame to four young guys from South Philly.

The band had two more big hits, ‘Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay’ and ‘Twistin’ USA.’ They released several singles in the 1960s but never had another hit.

In the 1970s, they capitalized on 1950s nostalgia by going on tours. They rerecorded ‘At The Hop’ in 1976.

The rise and fall of Danny & The Juniors.

In the years of fading popularity the band broke up and regrouped.

But it was all downhill and the guys had a hard time making it in the music business. Danny had a wife and kids and got a job driving a cab.

But never say die. In March 1983, Danny’s latest revamped band landed a month-long gig at a resort in Phoenix, Arizona.

They were booked to do two shows nightly through April 2. The former doo-wop sensation of the 1950s and ‘60s was paid $1,000 a week.

Last ad for Danny Rapp show

Over the years Danny had turned to booze to ease the pain of a dying career. He was hitting the bottle hard during the Phoenix gig.

He fell in love with a new female singer he had hired for the band, but she wanted to stay loose and free.

One time after the show he picked a fight with a guy in the bar who was putting the make on her. Hotel security broke it up. The girl packed up and left the band. And Danny checked out of his room at the resort. The band performed the last show without him.

On Saturday, April 2, 1983, Danny checked into the Yacht Club Motel in the small town of Quartzsite, Arizona, about 160 miles west of Phoenix. He bought a .25-caliber pistol from some guy.

Danny was last seen alive knocking them back in the Jigsaw bar near the motel. 

The next day, Sunday April 3, the maid found his body in the room. A bullet had been fired through the right side of the head.

The death was ruled a suicide. Danny was 41.

News story Danny rapp suicide

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The inner torment of Sinead O’Connor


“I’ve decided to follow my son. There is no point living without him,” she said of Shane, 17, whose body was found January 7, a day after he went missing from suicide watch at an Irish hospital.

The Irish singer blamed herself for her son’s death. She called herself “a monster” who had alienated her family. She said she didn’t “deserve to live.”

“God made me wrong, so I’m sending myself back and I’m finding the only person on this earth who ever truly loved me,” the 55-year-old singer posted on social media.

The boy’s father, Irish folk musician Donal Lenny and Sinead separated soon after Shane was born. Sinead has three other children from different former husbands.

Shane had been committed to Tallaght Hospital in Dublin and made two attempts to kill himself before escaping from suicide watch. His body was found last Friday in the Bray area of County Wicklow

The brief career and shocking death of actor Frank Wolff


Frank Wolff began his acting career in the late 1950s with roles in several films directed by low-budget horror cult maestro Roger Corman.*

In 1960 he moved to Rome and became a popular character actor in more than fifty Italian-made movies, mostly crime flicks and Spaghetti Westerns.

Early in his European career, he landed a second-billed role as Vartan Damadian, the Armenian friend of the central character in the 1963 Elia Kazan film America, America. The movie received a ‘Best Picture’ nomination at the Academy Awards.

Remembering actor Frank Wolff
Frank Wolff in ‘America, America’

His most memorable, albeit briefest role was the friendly farmer Brett McBain who is gunned down in Sergio Leone’s 1968 classic Once Upon a Time in the West.

One of his last roles was playing a police commissioner in the 1972 Fernando Di Leo film Milano calibro 9. 

His brief, struggling movie career — and his life — ended in a Hilton Hotel room in Rome on December 12, 1971. Frank Wolff committed suicide by cutting his throat. He was 43.

* I’m happy to report that, as of this writing, Roger Corman is still alive at 95.

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