Posted on May 15, 2020
Diana should have started grade school in about 1950. It appears she lived in Gardena in 1950 per the 1950 census. It’s unknown where or if she started grade school in that community. See chapter 1950s #1.
Grandmother Virginia LaRocca is listed in an online Gardena 1951 phone directory as a Christian Science Practitioner, see below. Husband Joseph Ned is not listed. This is unusual after looking at decades of the couple linked. Had Ned already moved up to the SFV? Did the girls and Donna move with him or stay with Virginia another year in Gardena?
The family likely moved to 13055 Moorpark St in Studio City between 1953-1954.
Riverside Drive Elementary is located at 13061 Riverside Drive, very close to the Moorpark house.
If the Cotterell girls walked to school from their house on Moorpark, all they had to do was turn north on Ethel Ave., and it was a straight walk straight to the school. It would have taken only a few minutes.
There would have been no Ventura Freeway to walk under along the way. I think that came in 1959.
UPDATE 5-20-20 I found this article.
Both Dixie Canyon and Riverside Drive elementary schools are the same distance, .6 miles, to the Moorpark/Ethel house where Diana lived with her mother, sister and grandparents through much of the 1950s.
Diana was definitely at Dixie Canyon in the 6th grade as seen in the above article.
It can be confirmed that she attended Van Nuys Junior High for the 7th and 9th grades.
This photo below is one of the first articles I found that showed me Diana Cotterell and Paige Young were the same person.
1959 The above photo is from the Van Nuys Junior High yearbook. Diana Cotterell was in the 9th grade. Her grandfather Jospeh Ned LaRocca would die later that year. (separate post) I found these photos in the VNJH school library with the librarian standing over me as lunch was about to start. There were several yearbooks, more like paper notebooks, in a jumble. This was the only photo I could find of Diana on that day. I haven’t found a photo of her 8th grade year.
I have reason to believe that Diana Cotterell dropped out of school after the 9th grade.
Here is the photo in a larger context. Candy Conklin was a member of the Singing King family and performed with them at some point.
1953-1959 Like many kids living in 1950s San Fernando Valley, Diana Lee Cotterell is obsessed with horses according to her friend from junior high, Joan Edwards. Diana and Joan ride and board their horses at Sepulveda Stables, located at 5763 Sepulveda Blvd, on the corner of Hatteras.
Equestrian shows were held almost every weekend in the Los Angeles area in the 1950s.
There were commercial horse stables and riding trails all over the SFV in the 50s and 60s. In fact the whole area was known as still quite rural in the post-war era, even as the population exploded and the rural land was paved over.
In the 1950s of suburban/rural SFV, horse husbandry was considered a wholesome activity for youth and thought to produce responsible America citizens.
And probably most importantly, it would keep kids and teens busy and separated from the bad influences of “juvenile delinquency,” a growing social concern of the 1950s, all over America.
source: Making the San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban Development and White Privilege by Laura R. Barraclough
Diana owned a horse named Hamish from junior high, 1957-1959, to at least 1964 when she was married to Mark Segal and living at his house at 4133 Crisp Canyon Rd. .
Sepulvedastables.net is where I got much of this information and the website seems to have been removed. I spoke with the owner of the website a few years earlier who remembered Paige. This woman was 12 or 13 and Paige was probably 19 or 20 living with Mark Segal on Crisp Canyon Rd. which was located “south of the (Ventura) Blvd.” Paige invited this young girl up for lemonade to this address on Crisp Canyon Rd. (See chapters on Marriage and Divorce. 1963)
The future Mrs. John Huston and friend to Paige Young, Celeste Shane, (see chapters on her) also boards a horse at Sepulveda Stables in the early 1960s. So does actress Donna Reed and actress Jill St. John, who was a close friend of Celeste’s.
Donna Virginia LaRocca Cotterell marries John “Jack” Holroyd in Las Vegas on October 3, 1958, per online Vegas wedding records very difficult to decipher. Found on ancestry.com.
Patriarch Joseph Ned LaRocca dies of lung cancer towards the end of 1959.
LAT November 18, 1959.
Ned LaRocca’s grave is in Glen Haven Memorial Park in Sylmar.
Below are closeups of Ned LaRocca’s death certificate.
It looks like he spent about a year in a sanitarium located on Foothill Blvd. in the Tujunga/Sunland area. It was called “Lakeview Terrace Sanitarium” and the building was originally the home of silent film star Francis X. Bushman.
I have been unable to learn if this was specifically a Christian Science sanitarium, (his wife was a CSP) but I have learned that the Tujunga area was considered to have much cleaner air than other parts of the San Fernando Valley.
Note the name of last employer: Leith Stevens.
There was an obituary placed in Ned’s hometown of Peoria, Illinois upon his death. Recently posted to Find-a-grave, I will transcribe below.
Joe N. (Ned) LaRocca, a native Peorian like his brother Roxy LaRocca and a former Vaudeville star, died Sunday night at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He had been in failing health a number of years and had suffered several strokes.
He was a music contractor for Columbia Broadcasting Co. in Hollywood for many years.
Mr. LaRocca, a harpist, appeared in vaudeville with the Young Sisters, Virginia and Josephine, and later married Virginia. They continued with their act until the birth of a child when Mr. LaRocca joined a brother, Paul LaRocca, now operator of a local barber shop, in a new stage act.
Later, he became associated with his brother Roxy in New York theatre appearances. After Roxy left on a European tour, Mr. LaRocca became associated with CBS Radio, an association that he continued until last summer when he retired due to bad health.
Born in July, 1894, in the house at 1411 Martin St., presently occupied by his brother Roxy, he was a son of Salvatore and Roseanne LaRocca. He and his wife have been married for 42 years. She survives, with a daughter Donna V., and two grandchildren, all of Sherman Oaks: his two brothers, Roxy and Paul: and a sister, Kathryn Marinello, of North Hollywood, Calif. Two other brothers, Nick and Frank, are deceased.
Funeral services and burial will be today in Sherman Oaks.Peoria Illinois Star November 18, 1959
There are obvious discrepancies between the death cert. and the obit. “Died at home” in obit. instead of Lakeview Terrace Sanitarium, death cert. “Cancer of the lung” in death cert. vs. a “series of strokes,” as we see in the obit.
Joseph and Virginia Married in 1915 and then became a vaudeville act with Josephine. Not the order as described in the obit, which was likely written by Virginia or Donna V.
Ned Argo shown in the Edmonton Journal June 1919. Ned’s granddaughter Paige would memorably visit Edmonton 50 years later on behalf of Playboy. See chapter 1969 most popular year.
Category: 1950s, LA Locations Tagged: #Diana Cotterell, 13055 Moorpark St., 1950s, 1950sLA, 1959, 4 King Cousins, 5 King Cousins, Candy Coklin, Candy Conkling, Celeste Shane, CiCi Shane, Dixie Canyon Elementary, Donna Reed, Horse culture, Horse husbandry, Horses, Joseph Ned LaRocca, LA History, LA Locations, Ned LaRocca, Riverside Drive Elementary, Sepulveda Stables, SFV, SFV celebirty, SFV History, The 4 King Cousins, Van Nuys Junior High
Posted on May 12, 2020
San Fernando Valley abbreviated SFV.
more information about the LaRocca/Cotterell family unit: they are listed at a residence in Gardena at 1830 W. 147th.
Joseph’s occupation, Radio Orchestra Manager, Virginia, Christian Science Practitioner, Donna has an empty box for occupation, granddaughters Constance S. is listed as 7 years and Diana L. as 5 years.
The above is an online phone directory from Gardena 1951. It has a listing for Virginia LaRocca, CSP, at this same address but no Joseph is listed. Why no Joseph and Virginia listed together, as every other year for decades in directories and voter registrations.?
When did Diana and family leave Los Feliz? late 1940s?
How long did they live in Gardena?
About two years.
When did Diana and her family move to 13055 Moorpark St. in Studio City/Sherman Oaks?
I first connected the family to 13055 Moorpark St. address by an online city building permit dated in Dec. of 1952.
This house on Moorpark Street was located on the west side of Studio City close to the eastern border with Sherman Oaks. Specifically, off of the intersection of Coldwater Canyon and Ventura Blvd.
The Los Angeles River is nearby the house as is Sportsman’s Lodge; a classic Hollywood and SFV landmark.
The family knew about the area in the SFV for some time because Joseph’s only sister Kathryn Marinello, and her husband Anthony opened a food store at 13251 Moorpark in 1947.
There is a 1947 City document I have been unable to download; indicating a “food store” at 13251 Moorpark St. The building was not owned by the Marinellos.
Meanwhile……Diana’s father Robert Morgan Cotterell also moved to the SFV around this time, but further west of his daughters and ex-wife. His new wife Patricia/Pat and their two children, born in 1950 and 1951, (while his first 2 daughters were in Gardena according to the 1950 census) start out in the Canoga Park/Winnetka area on Lurline Ave.
It’s the first of many moves for them around Los Angeles due to Bob Cotterell Sr.’s career at Douglas Aircraft.
It is unknown exactly why the The LaRocca/Cotterell family moved to the SFV, but we do know that they were part of a massive migration to the area after World War 2, from both inside and outside of Los Angeles.
“The end of WW2 transformed the Valley and vastly accelerated its growth
with: vast tracts of suburban housing, shopping centers and industrial parks where chicken ranches, orchards and cattle ranches and wheat fields once existed. The 1940s and 50s, when I was growing up, the Valley was full of movie cowboys, beautiful ranches and fine horses.”Jerry England at cowboyup.com
“In the five years after the war, the population (of SFV) more than doubled to 402,538 residents-the pastoral San Fernando Valley was suddenly the ninth-busiest urban area in the nation. Valley society was a mix of young suburbanites, older families who had come west to try their luck as engineers, animators, or pioneers in the new field of television, and ranchers trying to hang on in the face of the new hordes.”The San Fernando Valley: America’s Suburb by Kevin Roderick
I discovered that Ned LaRocca spent most of the 1950s working as an orchestra manager for composer/conductor Leith Stevens, through Ned’s death certificate.
I can confirm two Leith Stevens projects that have a credit as “contractor” for Ned LaRocca: A Doris Day album recorded in 1951 at 1032 Sycamore Street; a studio known at that time as “The Annex.” Found on youtube.
The website careerexplorer.com defines an orchestra contractor is: “He or she has the job of finding the appropriate musicians for Broadway shows, television episodes and commercials.”
Ned already had experience adapting to a new mass medium when his first industry Vaudeville, died in the early 1930s during the Great Depression.
One significant factor that changed the popularity of radio programming was the rise of TV in the 1950s. Drama and comedy and musical variety shows moved to TV.
In 1950, just under 20 percent of American homes contained a TV set. Ten years later, nearly 90 percent of homes contained a TV—and some even had color TVs. The number of TV stations, channels, and programs all grew to meet this surging demand.encyclopedia.com
Ned LaRocca also has a credit on Leith Steven’s 1953 score to the Marlon Brando movie “The Wild One.” The Los Angeles recording industry was growing by leaps and bounds in the 1950s.
This record was a hit, released by Decca records, it remains Leith Stevens most well-known and well-regarded creation. J. Ned LaRocca is credited as “Contractor” on the project. Per Discogs.com. As I understand, it was the first soundtrack entirely made up of Jazz music.
Besides composing and conducting “The Wild One” soundtrack, Leith Stevens composed numerous scores for radio shows, movies and T.V. from the 1930s until his death in 1970.
IMDB indicates that many of Stevens’ compositions go uncredited as “stock music.”
Diana’s grandmother. She started out life as a Mormon in Utah, but somewhere along the way became a Christian Scientist. She is listed as “Chr. Sci.pr.” (Christian Science Practitioner) in Los Angeles telephone directories in the 40 and 50s, and listed with her own telephone line. Read more about her early years as a vaudeville performer in the family history chapters.
A Christian Science practitioner is an individual who prays for others according to the teachings of Christian Science. Treatment is non-medical, rather it is based on the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875) by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), who said she discovered Christian Science in 1866 and founded the Christian Science church in 1879. According to the church, Christian Science practitioners address physical conditions, as well as relationship or financial difficulties and any other problem or crisis.wikipedia
In 1955, an LA telephone directory lists a Ned J. LaRocca at 4414 N. Ethel and a Virginia Young LaRocca with the same address.
Donna Cotterell is listed with the 13055 Moorpark address. 13055 Moorpark is on a corner with Ethel St.
4114 Ethel St. doesn’t seem to be an “real” address; I don’t find a record of it anywhere besides the phone directory. This could be a result of the house modification for Donna, Diana and Constance.
1957 Virginia Young LaRocca is listed in the phone directory at 4414 N. Ethel State 4-7052 North Hollywood. Cr. Sci. Pr.
At some point, the Christian Science Church won the right to accept insurance for their practitioners, but I have been unable to find exactly what year.
So, I can’t tell how much income Virginia might have earned from her vocation as a CSP.
I’m sure Donna received child support and likely alimony as this would have been normal for the times.
However, it is probable that grandfather Ned LaRocca was the primary breadwinner of his household.
Category: 1950s, LA Locations, Popular Culture, Radio City, CBS, NBC, Robert Morgan Cotterell Tagged: #Gardena, 1032 Sycamore St., 1950 Census, 1950s LA, 1950s San Fernando Valley, 1950sLA, Christian Science Practitioner, Defense Industry, Doris Day, Douglas Aircraft, Gardena, LA Recording Industry, Leith Stevens, Los Angeles History, Marlon Brando, Ned LaRocca, Ned LaRocca Grandfather, Paige Young, Rise of TV, Robert Morgan Cotterell, SFV, Sherman Oaks, Stevens, Studio City, The Annex recording studio, The Wild One, Virginia LaRocca