RIP William "Bill" Casilli

January 22, 2012

Tags: William Casilli, Bill Casilli

William "Bill" Casilli passed away in his sleep on December 29, 2011. He was a gifted keyboardist who began playing at the young age of four and played his first professional job at age 13. Over the years he played and conducted for Frankie Avalon, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Dihanne Carroll, Nancy Wilson, Gogi Grant, Ann Blythe and Katherine Grayson, including a 10-year stint with Leslie Uggams. He was also the last pianist to play Westside Story on Broadway and conducted the last four months of Leslie Uggams’ Broadway show Hallelujah Baby. Bill appeared as conductor and pianist on several television shows, including Johnny Carson, Dean Martin, Red Skelton, Merv Griffin, Ed Sullivan and Mike Douglas. He is survived by his son Rod Casiili, his daughter Marcella Casilli and his wife Edith.

In case you're wondering why this is posted here?
He was my ex-husband. He was border-line famous, but apparently not enough for the Los Angeles Times to consider him news worthy. So no "news" obituary.

Still it seemed to me that there ought to be a notice somewhere – online obituaries are picked up from newspapers. So that meant placing a classified obituary – the kind you pay for. No problem.

Whoa. Do you know what an obituary costs these days? According to the LA Times website, to include a photo and enough copy to even vaguely describe his illustrious life was around $1,000. OK, not an exorbitant amount of money to commemorate a loved one, but he would have thought it a huge waste of money. Who reads newspapers anyway.

Comments

  1. May 2, 2012 11:49 AM EDT
    I am Jimmy Ernest, former lead trumpet for Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians and Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians. Bill was my high school choral director, his first teaching position when he got off the road with The Sammy Kaye Orchestra. Musically yours,
    Jimmy Ernest (814)-339-6821
    - Jimmy Ernest
  2. May 2, 2012 3:21 PM EDT
    Hi, Jimmy,
    Thanks for posting. I shared your comment with his kids, who will be surprised that anyone actually saw this. Our best to you,
    Rachel
    - Rachel Canon
  3. May 6, 2012 8:07 PM EDT
    Received the obituary notice from a friend. Bill is a legend here in Osceola Mills, PA. Was surprised to know that he accomplished so much after leaving our little town.
    - Michael R. Burns
  4. May 7, 2012 6:33 PM EDT
    I was a struggling music teacher near Osceola Mills Pa. when Bill hosted a Clfd. Co choral music festival. I was so impressed that one person could whip these inexperienced kids into a brilliant concert in just a few days. This is still a
    vivid memory of maybe the year 1953.
    - Grant Thompson
  5. May 8, 2012 12:44 PM EDT
    This is Marcella Casilli, Bill's daughter. Thank you for the lovely comments and messages about my dad. My email address is mmcasilli@gmail.com if anyone has any questions, would like information, etc.
    - Marcella Casilli
  6. July 23, 2012 9:27 AM EDT
    I GREW UP WITH BILL IN PGH. WE PLAYED IN SEVERAL BANDS TOGETHER. WE WERE SEPERATED WHILE SERVING OUR COUNTRY. REUNITED WHEN WE WENT TO DUQUESNE UNIV. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU RECEIVE THIS. YOU HAVE MY HEART FELT SYMPATHY
    - MIHAEL FERRARO
  7. April 7, 2013 12:55 PM EDT
    Hi, Mike
    I remember your name. Bill used to talk about you -- all good. Thanks for your good thoughts.
    Rachel
    - Rachel Canon
  8. August 6, 2013 9:52 AM EDT
    I just ran across this obit and was greatly saddened. Mr. Casilli was Concert Choir director at Lewistown High School in the late 1950's. I was part of that choir. He was brilliant! He really did have a talent for forming great choirs. In our case it was not an easy task! We respected him very much. The choir traveled to other venues to perform in concerts and we always received a standing O. There was a choir director from a university (the years have erased the memory of which one)approach me after one of our concerts and told me that any one of us would be accepted in her choir with NO audition. That is how great and talentrd he was. I imagine he is in heaven now conducting many angelic choirs. His talent will be missed here on Earth by many.
    - Jean Sheffield Russell

Selected Works

Fiction
Random House, 1996
Headline Books, 1995
Novel in progress
Short Fiction
Appeared in the anthology D*cked: Dark Fiction Inspired by Dick Cheney (2011).
In Turning Up The Leaves, Coe Review Pres, 2000
In UnEarth, Second Anniversary Issue, Winter 1979
Just for Fun
In BBQ'ed Poetry, 1989

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