Eddie Fontaine





3/6/1927 , Springfield, Massachusetts

Birth Name

Henry Edward Lafountane




Few people can say that they came into contact professionally with Frank Sinatra,Sammy Davis Jr., Alan Freed,Nat King Cole, Teddy Randazzo,Bobby Darin, The Platters, Stephen Cannell and Bruce Springsteen in the same lifetime; only a talent as diversified as EDDIE FONTAINE. Eddie was one of the most electrifying character actors in the 1960's,'70's and 80's. He didn't mug the camera; he wasn't a ham. He simply owned the sound stage by reaching a high level of concentration and empathy, with a subtext and passion that was the soul of one of the most underrated rockabilly singers and actors of all time.Of French and Italian ancestry, Eddie began his professional singing career at the age of 5, by singing at the intermissions of the neighborhood theaters in Rego Park (Queens, New York). He graduated to street musician in his teens, but, after a three year tour in the U.S. Navy, matured into a successful night club singer . By the time Neil Hefti (composer of the TV "Batman" theme) of RCA signed him in 1954, Eddie was one of the few rock-n-roller's with an active, complete night club act, appearing regularly in New Jersey. Three recordings placed him in rock-n-roll history. He sang his "X" release (an RCA subsidiary), "Rock Love", in Alan Freed's first rock-n-roll show ever, at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater on Easter Sunday , 1955. And he sang his Decca release, "Cool It Baby", in arguably the greatest rock-n-roll film of all time, THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT (1957). In 1958, Argo Records released his self-penned demo, "Nothing Shaking But The Leaves On The Tree",(which he wrote on a Sunday morning in about 15 minutes), without his knowledge, and added three more names to the writing credits(they wrote the flipside, "Don't You Know"). It took him twenty years to collect the royalties! Although it peaked at # 64 in the U.S., it was a huge hit in Europe, and was later recorded by The Beatles, who closely cloned their version to Eddie's. In the late 1950's, Eddie successfully took his night club act to Cuba, until Battista was replaced by Castro(well documented in "Godfather II"). With rockabilly on the wane, Eddie Fontaine moved to Holywood in 1961, and sang Italian songs at PUCCINI'S, a night club co-owned by Frank Sinatra. It was there that a Warner Brothers TV executive heard him and hired him on the spot to act in a new series, THE GALLANT MEN, in which he co-starred, and even sang in fifteen episodes. The series even garnered him a smash hit in the Far East, "My Heart Belongs To You". After the series was cancelled in 1963, Eddie resumed his night club act,but at a much higher fee. As his acting career fizzled, he relocated to Dallas. In January of 1964, Eddie remarried, and with his two sons from a previous marriage moved back to California and settled in Encino. In 1965 and 1966, he and his new wife had two more sons, and his nightclub and recording careers flourished. But in 1973, Hollywood called again, Eddie got a role on IRONSIDE, and it was all systems go! Eddie had recurring guest appearances in abundance,well over sixty, including THE ROCKFORD FILES, PLANET OF THE APES, BARETTA, KOJAK, THE SIX-MILLION DOLLAR MAN, QUINCY,THE QUEST, HARRY-O, STONE, POLICE WOMAN, STARSKY AND HUTCH, and HAPPY DAYS. Every one was memorably spectacular! By 1978, Eddie returned to rockabilly, which was again fashionable, all the while making some of his greatest televison appearances. He made successful six month tours for the next decade, often teaming with Janis Martin (The Female Elvis) and Charlie Gracie. Unfortunately, in the late 1980's, Eddie had to deal with tragedy and loss: his new girlfriend died in 1987, and one of his four sons died in a gliding accident. He grieved over these for the remainder of his life. He made his last TV guest appearance on SISTERS in the fall of 1991, then died on April 13, 1992, and was buried in Roselle, New Jersey. But his spontaneous, no-nonsense personality continues to thrive on celluloid and CD's as a rock-a-billy pioneer,an extremely successful night club singer, and a character actor extraordinaire!!! And what Bruce Springsteen remembers about him is only icing on the cake! A special thanks to Ake Berg Roos and Bo Berglind of AMERICAN MUSIC MAGAZINE, to Trevor Cajiao of NOW DIG THIS.