Julius La Rosa is an American traditional popular music singer who has worked in both radio and television since the 1950s.
La Rosa was born in Brooklyn, New York. He joined the United States Navy in 1947 after finishing high school becoming a radioman who sang informally. The young sailor's Navy buddies managed to promote him to Arthur Godfrey - at the time one of America's leading radio and television personalities, and himself a Naval Reserve officer, whom the Navy often accommodated as a nod to the good publicity he gave the service. Godfrey, a personality in the early years of network television, heard LaRosa in Pensacola, Florida, where LaRosa was stationed, and offered him a job. Godfrey, for his part, was impressed by La Rosa's singing and had him flown to New York to appear on his television show, with Godfrey ending the spot by saying, "When Julie gets out of the Navy he'll come back to see us."
Discharged from the Navy on a Friday, La Rosa went to Godfrey on the following Monday, and a week later he appeared on Godfrey's variety show. He was a regular on both the morning Arthur Godfrey Time and the Wednesday night variety show Arthur Godfrey and His Friends. LaRosa was joining a show that was extremely profitable for the new CBS television network. But Arthur Godfrey was caught between the enmity of CBS owner Bill Paley and the admiration of CBS management for running a successful show. Godfrey was subject to aesthetic criticism by Paley, as noted by Time magazine in 1950. "earing that William Paley thought the Godfrey TV show 'lacked movement,' Arthur brought on a line of hula dancers and leered into the TV camera: 'Is that enough movement for you, Bill?'" The same Time magazine article also found Godfrey to be vulgar and "scatological". However CBS management realized the show was extremely successful and cost little to produce, in turn earning their admiration.
Julius La Rosa's tenure on Godfrey's shows lasted from November 19, 1951 to October 19, 1953. When Archie Bleyer, Arthur Godfrey's bandleader, formed Cadence Records in 1952, the first performer signed was La Rosa. Cadence's first single, which was also La Rosa's first recording, was "Anywhere I Wander." It reached the top 30 on the charts, and his next recording, "My Lady Loves To Dance", was a moderate success, but La Rosa would hit gold with his third recording, "Eh, Cumpari" in 1953. It hit #1 on the Cash Box chart and #2 on the Billboard chart, and La Rosa got an award as the best new male vocalist of 1953. Like the other "Little Godfreys", as the cast members were known, Godfrey discouraged La Rosa from hiring a manager or booking agent, preferring to have his staff coordinate and negotiate on La Rosa's behalf. He then hired his own agent and manager: Tommy Rockwell.