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Johnny Roventini, 88, the pint-sized bellboy who...


Johnny Roventini, 88, the pint-sized bellboy who became one of the best-known figures in U.S. advertising by shouting, "Call for Philip Morris," has died.

Mr. Roventini died Monday at a hospital in Suffern, N.Y., said a nephew. The cause of death had not been determined.

In 1933, Mr. Roventini was 22 and being promoted by the New Yorker Hotel as "the smallest bellboy in the world" when he met advertising man Milton Biow, who had an idea for a cigarette ad. Biow gave him a dollar "to locate Philip Morris."

"I had no idea that Philip Morris was a cigarette," he said later, and he strode through the hotel, shouting "Call for Philip Mor-rees."

That began a career that brought Mr. Roventini a lifetime contract and a salary of up to $50,000 -- fabulous at the time. He was heard on popular live radio programs and on some of the most-watched television shows of the 1950s and 1960s, including "I Love Lucy," "Candid Camera" and the Red Skelton and Jackie Gleason shows.

Joseph F. Unanue, 41, vice president of operations for Goya Foods, one of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States, died Saturday of complications from a bone-marrow transplant.

Mr. Unanue, who maintained residences in New Jersey and Puerto Rico, died at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, where he was being treated for bone cancer, Goya said yesterday.

David H. "Butch" McDade, 52, drummer and songwriter for the Amazing Rhythm Aces, died Sunday of cancer in Maryville, Tenn. He founded the band in 1975 and played until it broke up in 1981.

Mr. McDade wrote many songs for the band, including "Last Letter Home," "The Beautiful Lie" and "Pretty Words." Mr. Smith wrote the band's most enduring hit, "Third Rate Romance."

Beatrice A. Morris, 83, a tap dancer who performed for 25 years as Bebe Paige, died Thursday in Revere, Mass.

Pub Date: 12/02/98

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