Born June 12, 1936 in Indianapolis, retired comedian, author and radio engineer Louis Alfonzo Coppola died on July 16, in Southampton. He was 86.
A son of southern Italian immigrants, Louis, or Luigi as he was affectionately known, grew up in Brooklyn and led an accomplished life full of adventure, family, hard work and success. Most of all, he did it his way. A graduate of James Madison High School in Brooklyn in the mid 1950s, Louis enlisted in the Army after graduation. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1957 having served in Armed Forces Radio at Schofield Barracks/Fort Shafter in O’ahu, HI. Lou was fondly remembered by his platoon for rounding up folks and throwing parties he called “spaghetti-mixers” when they were on leave.
While attending the University of Hawaii for a period, he was introduced to martial arts in the late 1950s. After moving to San Francisco, he then made his way to Los Angeles attaining a level of brown belt in Kenpo Karate by training under and working for Ed Parker at Parker’s first studio in Pasadena, CA.
Louis broke into Hollywood, appearing on The Lucy Show, in “Lucy and Viv Learn Judo” (1963). He became a disc jockey in Anaheim, CA and a traveling stand-up comedian; his style of performance pushed the envelope for the times. He performed across the states, including the Vaudeville circuit, eventually finding his way back east to NYC in the mid 1960s where he began studying yoga and later met his wife Ann in the late ’70s. Settling in Manhattan, and later in Englewood, NJ, Louis was employed for 25 years at CBS Inc. as a radio engineer in Manhattan working with Charles Osgood, Charles Kuralt and Dallas Townsend, among others.
In addition to radio work, Louis was an author and playwright. He wrote Chiaroscuro, published by Samuel French Inc. and produced in Equity Showcase Off-Broadway (1978), TV episode “Checkmate” for Benson/ABC TV prime time (1979), and eight self-published books over two decades. Louis created the After3Theatre Co. (1988) in Englewood, where he wrote, produced and directed young children’s plays for over a decade, introducing them to the world of drama arts. Later, he was proud to lecture from time to time on his experiences with Lucille Ball, karate, CBS, as well as Old Time Radio and Vaudeville.
Eventually, after many decades and careers, including building a family, Lou returned to school in his 50s to proudly achieve his goal of receiving a BA from Fairleigh Dickinson College in New Jersey in the early 1990s — the first of his family’s generation to do so. Retiring near a beach on the East End, Louis loved to play tambourine with the Good Ground Ukulele Players of the Hampton Bays Public Library, and to take in the view at Tiana Beach.
He loved his mother dearly, Antoinette Pena Coppola. Played catch countless times with his son, and was a devoted husband and father where it mattered most. He loved his dog Scuffles, who often sat happily in the passenger seat of his blue Corvette Stingray — now riding together down the West Side Highway and into the sunset.
Louis, a beloved father, grandfather and family member, is survived by his wife of 44 years Ann Coppola, son Christopher Coppola, grandson Joseph Coppola, aunt Josephine Beeler, sister Josephine Fallo, nieces Donna Fallo and Jeniene Stango, brothers Frank and Richard Coppola and Richard Fallo, and great nephews Nicholas and Matt Stango.