The Fontane Sisters

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The Fontane Sisters
The Fontane Sisters Geri (left), Marge (center), Bea (right)
The Fontane Sisters
Geri (left), Marge (center), Bea (right)
Background information
BornGeri: (1921-10-15)October 15, 1921
Bea: (1915-12-12)December 12, 1915
Marge: (1917-10-19)October 19, 1917
OriginNew Milford, New Jersey, United States
DiedGeri: September 13, 1993(1993-09-13) (aged 71)
Bea: March 25, 2002(2002-03-25) (aged 86)
Marge: March 12, 2003(2003-03-12) (aged 85)
Years active1941–1961
Past membersBea Rosse (December 12, 1915–March 25, 2002)[1]
Marge Rosse (October 19, 1917–December 3, 2003)
Geri Rosse (October 15, 1921–September 13, 1993)[2]
Frank Rosse (1914–1945)

The Fontane Sisters were a trio (Bea, Geri and Marge Rosse) from New Milford, New Jersey.[3]

Early years[edit]

Born to an Italian family, their mother, Louise Rosse, was both a soloist and the leader of the St. Joseph's Church choir in New Milford.[4] Bea and Marge started out singing for local functions, doing so well that they were urged to audition in New York City. Originally they performed as a trio with their guitarist brother Frank, under the name the Ross Trio (Rosse with the "e" omitted).[5] The group auditioned for NBC and was soon sent off to work in Cleveland.[6]

When they returned to New York in 1944, Frank was drafted into the Army; he went to France and was mortally wounded by a German sniper.[7] Geri, who had just finished school, took her brother's place, making it an all-girl trio.[4][6]

The sisters first performed together as The Three Sisters. Sheet music of two of their songs, "I'm Gonna See My Baby", and "Pretty Kitty Blue Eyes", was published by Santly-Joy in 1944.[citation needed]


The now all-female group chose the name of Fontaine from a French-Canadian great-grandmother.[5] They cut two singles for Musicraft Records in 1946, and then worked on sustaining (non-sponsored) programs for NBC, meeting and working with Perry Como soon after he came to the network. Word reached the sisters, then in Chicago for NBC, that "Supper Club" would be making cast changes; they were eager for a chance to join Como's show, which also meant being closer to their home.[6] Beginning in the summer of 1948, they were featured on his radio and TV show known as The Chesterfield Supper Club and later (1950–1954) as The Perry Como Show.[8][9] The trio also did appearances on Chesterfield Sound Off Time when the program originated from New York; however, the television show lasted only one season.[6][10]

In 1949 they were signed by RCA Victor and dropped the I from "Fontaine." There they cut a few dozen singles over the next several years, sometimes as backup to Perry Como. These songs were in the typical slow, sedate pop style of the period.[11] In 1951, they had a minor hit with "The Tennessee Waltz", of which bigger selling recordings were made by Patti Page and Les Paul and Mary Ford.

In 1954 they switched to Randy Wood's Dot Records,[12] where they abandoned the slow late '40s-early '50s style for faster material aimed at the growing teen/rock-and-roll audience and they had 18 songs reaching the Billboard pop charts, including ten in the Top 40. Their late 1954 recording, "Hearts of Stone", was the highest charting single of their career as it sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[13]


The Fontane Sisters released their last significant hit when Chanson D'Amour went to #12 in 1958, and they retired from performing around 1961, when youngest sister Geri was expecting her daughter.[14] The daughter was named after Geri, and as an adult she went by the name 'Geri Fontane Latchford' — 'Latchford' coming from her father's name, Al(bert) Latchford.[5] Neither Bea nor Marge had any children, and the younger Geri was her parents' only child.[4][6][14]

With the rise of rock-and-roll in the mid-'50s, most older performers were quickly sidelined and the sisters were tired of touring as well as the direction popular music was headed in, and were ready to cede the charts to the younger generation. Geri married Al Latchford, a history professor.[7] Marge was married to Franklin Hobbs, who became a long-time on-air personality at WCCO in Minneapolis-St. Paul.They met while the sisters were still working in Chicago for NBC.[4][6][15][16] She remarried and became Marge Smith, the wife of an advertising executive. Only Marge left the area, relocating to Florida with her second husband.[14] Bea became Mrs. E. Holmes Douglass in 1964.[14][17]

In 1963, Dot Records released one final album, Tips of my Fingers, and single ("Tips of My Fingers"/"Summertime Love") by The Fontane Sisters. These recordings did not mark a return to performing for the trio, who remained retired despite having agreed to make the recordings.[citation needed]


For the next 40 years, The Fontane Sisters remained mostly out of the public's eye. In 2001, RCA Records released a CD compilation of recordings made by the Fontane Sisters and Perry Como, "Perry Como With The Fontane Sisters", containing many of the songs featured on the Como radio and television shows.[18]

In 2004 an article in the New York Daily News reported that Geri Fontane Latchford had received royalties due to her mother and two aunts. It was revealed in this same article that all three of The Fontane Sisters had died: Geri, on September 13, 1993;[2] Bea, on March 25, 2002;[1] and Marge, on December 3, 2003.[19]

Hit Records[edit]



  • The Fontane Sisters/Novelty Orchestra and Organ - Fontaine Sisters And Orchestra (1955)
  • The Fontane's Sing (1955)
  • A Visit With The Fontane Sisters (1957)
  • Tips of My Fingers (1963)


  1. ^ a b "Bea Fontane". OTRRpedia. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Geri Fontane". OTRRpedia. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  3. ^ "Two Gypsy Folk Tales". Ottawa Citizen. August 8, 1949. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d Biographies of Dot Artists-The Fontane Sisters. Billboard. March 9, 1954. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Werley, Judy (27 June 1975). "Fontane Sisters' Mother Still Keeps Busy". The Evening News. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Fontane Sisters Spend Yule with Parents in Cornwall". The Newburgh News. December 26, 1951. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Okon, May (February 20, 1955). "They Have Hair Harmony, Too". New York Sunday News. p. 7. Archived from the original on April 4, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  8. ^ Macfarlane, Malcolm, ed. (2009), Perry Como: A Biography and Complete Career Record, McFarland, p. 310, ISBN 978-0-7864-3701-6, retrieved 2010-04-28
  9. ^ Slifka, Adrian M. (August 14, 1954). "Networks Budget Millions For 'Rainbow' TV Shows". Youngstown Vindicator. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  10. ^ "Chesterfield Sound Off Time". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  11. ^ Recorders Snare Wax Talent. Billboard. January 22, 1949. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  12. ^ Dot Inks Term Pact With Fontane Sisters. Billboard. April 17, 1954. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  13. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 68. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  14. ^ a b c d Schiff, Martha (January 23, 1977). "Where Are The Fontane Sisters Now?". The Evening News. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  15. ^ "Franklin Hobbs". Minneapolis-St. Paul Museum of Broadcasting. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  16. ^ "Voice of all-night radio legend Franklin Hobbs falls still". Star-Tribune. October 20, 1995. p. 8. Retrieved January 10, 2011 – via open access
  17. ^ "Attendants For Fontane Bridal Named". The Evening News. 1 April 1964. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  18. ^ "Perry Como With The Fontane Sisters". RCA Victor. July 8, 2001. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  19. ^ Peterson, Helen (May 13, 2004). "MUSIC TO THEIR HEIRS Long-lost royalties delivered". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  20. ^ "N'yot N'yow". Kokomo. Archived from the original on March 7, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  21. ^ "A You're Adorable". Kokomo. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  22. ^ "A Dreamer's Holiday". Kokomo. Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  23. ^ "I Wanna Go Home". Kokomo. Archived from the original on June 9, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  24. ^ "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo". Kokomo. Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  25. ^ "Hoop Dee Doo". Kokomo. Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  26. ^ "I Cross My Fingers". Kokomo. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  27. ^ "You're Just In Love". Kokomo. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  28. ^ "There's No Boat Like a Rowboat". Kokomo. Archived from the original on September 25, 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  29. ^ "Rollin' Stone". Kokomo. Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  30. ^ "Cold Cold Heart". Kokomo. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  31. ^ "Noodlin' Rag". Retrieved April 4, 2015.
  32. ^ "To Know You (Is To Love You)". Kokomo. Archived from the original on March 11, 2014. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  33. ^ "Kissin' Bridge". Kokomo. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2010.

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