Curtola played Minden in 1998
Canadian crooner Bobby Curtola is remembered for 60s hits such as Fortune Teller and Aladdin, but Minden Hills resident Lois Rigney recalls the man behind the music.
Former teen idol Curtola, 73, died during the weekend.
“He was the greatest entertainer,” Rigney says. “Just a great guy.”
Curtola was a friend of Rigney’s late husband, Ross, who was an executive with Sears and also the former reeve of Snowdon Township and the amalgamated Township of Minden Hills.
“Ross got to know him through Sears . . . I don’t know how that connection happened,” Rigney says. “When I’d pick up the phone, and this voice is singing, ‘Fortune teller . . . . ‘ He’d never say who it was.”
Curtola performed at Ross’s retirement party and later came to Minden, performing at the arena for a fundraiser for the construction of a new hospital.
“We packed it,” Rigney says, recalling that attendees came dressed in retro style; poodle skirts on the women and slicked-back hair for the guys.
Afterwards, Curtola, then-wife Ava and singer “Birdie” stayed with the Rigneys at their place on Canning Lake.
“They stayed overnight,” Rigney says. “We sat on the couch and talked until three in the morning. I said, ‘Bobby, I don’t even stay up this late on New Year’s Eve. I’ve got to go to bed.’”
Curtola was born in what is now Thunder Bay, beginning his recording career at age 16. He had numerous Canadian hits as well as a couple of international ones. In the 1970s, he signed on as a performer in Las Vegas and later in his career had contracts with cruise lines.