Deathiversary: The Gene Krupa Story

Gene Krupa is a famous jazz drummer, bandleader, actor, and composer. Krupa is known for his energetic style and showmanship. His drum solo on "Sing, Sing, Sing" elevated the role of the drummer as a frequently used solo voice in the band. He is also known for defining the standard drum kit used today. Sal Mineo stars as Krupa in the 1959 biopic "The Gene Krupa Story." Krupa himself plays the drums on the soundtrack for the film, and for the sequences in which Mineo, as Gene, plays the drums. In 1943, Krupa is arrested for possession of two marijuana cigarettes. He is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and is given a 90-day jail. He serves 84 days of the sentence. In the early 1970s, Krupa's house in Yonkers, New York, is damaged by fire, but he continues to live in the parts of the house that were habitable. On October 16, 1973, Krupa dies in Yonkers at the age 64 from heart failure, though he also had leukemia and emphysema. In 1978, Krupa becomes the first drummer inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. Sal Mineo dies in 1976 when he is stabbed to death in the alley behind his apartment building near the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, CA. Mineo is stabbed just once, but the knife blade strikes his heart, leading to immediate and fatal internal bleeding. Before the New Beverly closed for remodeling, my husband and I got a chance to watch "The Gene Krupa Story" on the big screen. It was less than a week after I had finished my first zine: Dead in Hollywood: Sal Mineo (Issue 1). The manager was nice enough to let me leave a stack of my zines in the lobby next to postcards of Sal.