Sam Butera

Birth Name:
Sam Butera
Birth Date:
August 17, 1927
Birth Place:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Death Date:
June 3, 2009
Place of Death:
Sunrise Hospital, Las Vegas, Nevada
Cause of Death:
Cemetery Name:
Greenwood Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Sam Butera was a tenor saxophonist best noted for his collaborations with Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Butera is frequently regarded as a crossover artist who performed with equal ease in both R&B and the post-big band pop style of jazz that permeated the early Vegas nightclub scene. With Louis Prima, Butera remained the bandleader of The Witnesses for more than twenty years. During that time, he performed with Louis Prima and/or Keely Smith on such Prima-associated songs as "That Old Black Magic", "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody," "Come on-a My House," and "I Wan'na Be Like You" (from Disney's The Jungle Book). Butera is noted for his raucous playing style, his off-color humor, and the innuendo in his lyrics. The arrangement he made with Prima of "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody" has been covered by David Lee Roth, Los Lobos, Brian Setzer, The Village People, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. In addition to his accomplishments as a saxophonist and composer, Butera is widely regarded as the inspiration for the vocal style of fellow New Orleans-born jazz singer Harry Connick, Jr.

Fun Facts

Sam was named “Best Saxophonist” by Look Magazine in 1946 at age 19, which gave him the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall, receiving the Augustus Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Entertainer of the Year in 1998, as well as performing at the Presidential Inauguration of John F. Kennedy.

Butera played a part in the movie The Rat Race (1960), starring Debbie Reynolds and Tony Curtis. He played a scam artist along with Joe Bushkin who fleeced Curtis out of his instruments.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Greenwood Cemetery

5190 Canal Blvd

New Orleans, Louisiana, 70124


North America


Cemetery map of Greenwood Cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana

Grave Location:

Butera Mausoleum, 8 Live Oak Avenue

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery drive straight ahead on Metairie Road and then turn right on Live Oak Avenue that runs the length of the cemetery. The Butera Mausoleum with the large cross on the top is located between Osier Walk and Mercury Walk (closer to Osier Walk).

Grave Location GPS

29.986393770270656, -90.11337570185466



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