Lou Costello’s Son Drowns in Swimming Pool

Nov. 3, 1943, Lou Costell's Son Drowns

Nov. 5, 1943: Lou Costello Jr. drowns in the swimming pool of the family home at 4124 Longridge Ave., Van Nuys. Here’s a post I wrote about the tragedy in 2007.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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16 Responses to Lou Costello’s Son Drowns in Swimming Pool

  1. Yes. I remember that broadcast and Abbot’s announcement at the end. Quite shocking, even to an 11-year-old. I always think of that whenever a trouper uses the phrase “The show must go on.”


    • Sherri Wolf says:

      I just watched This is Your Life with Costello and he said that the mother went to the store and the nanny was watching the child. The little boy removed a slat in play pin and got out.


    • Susan Ryan says:

      Lou Jr. was going to stay up that night to hear his daddy’s radio show. So Lou did the show so that his baby could hear it in heaven.


  2. Zabadu says:

    Rats. I shows as “members only”. Would have liked to read it.


  3. bob taylor says:

    the home was in Sherman Oaks not Van Nuys. I swam in that pool in the early 70’s as it was owned by my then wifes aunt and her husband. The miniature train tracks were still in place around the grounds.


    • lmharnisch says:

      Right you are. The original 1943 Los Angeles Times story said that the home was in Van Nuys and I picked up the information from there.


    • VISONE says:

      Wow!…..that’s an event I would love to be able to talk about! Curious and very interested Bob, was the house at that time when you swam in the pool, updated to that present Brady Bunch time or left untouched from when Lou Costello lived there?


  4. Paul Visone says:

    I have been wondering why Lou Costello filmed an at home movie for his daughter’s birthday party and labeled the address of the party in his home movie “Van Nuys” instead of Sherman Oaks. I just watched this home movie on DVD earlier today. What am I missing here? Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks-Los Angeles. Are this cities all interchangeable, similar and acceptable for a mailing address?


    • lmharnisch says:

      You ask a common question. The answer is that the 1943, The Times stories about the death of Lou Costello’s son describe the house as being in Van Nuys. A later Times story about Costello’s arrest for drunk driving (he hit a parked car across from his house in 1952) says the home was in Sherman Oaks. I can’t explain the reasoning then. But today, The Times considers that address to be Sherman Oaks.


      • Paul visone says:

        IMHARNISCH……..hey thanks! And to add to that I am also seeing Studio City as an address too, so we have Studio City, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks and Los Angeles . While I have you, would you happen to know, what became of the house that was being built in 1959 at the time of Lou’s passing and his wife’s passing too about six months later? Did the remaining family live there? That would be Lou’s two daughters and mom I would think. It was located at, I believe, according to L.A. newspaper, 3322 Longridge Terrace in Sherman Oaks. Who obtained the house? Did Lou’s wife and daughters ever get to live there when construction was completed? The paper said the family were living in an apartment while the new house was being built. Thank you so much for the info. Lou was my hero as a child. Paul.


      • PAUL VISONE says:

        In the early 1940’s as seen from Lou Costello’s back yard the Hills area is barren with no homes. Now, 2014, the homes appear to be on top of one another. This now Sherman Oaks Hills area might have been the claiming and re-naming of certain Van Nuys sections as it grew. This actually gets me more curious as we talk about it. Thanks for any replies on it Paul


  5. Martha says:

    I grew up in Boyle Heights where I would go swimming in the summer at Lou Costello Jr park. This is the place I learn how to swim because the swimming lessons were free to all the kids that wanted to learn how to swim. When I heard the tragedy about Lou Costello son I was saddened but, grateful that he dedicated the park to all the kids in the community to learn how swim for free in honor of his son. Thank you Lou Costello and family .


    • Paul V. says:

      I have always believed to this day that the codes we abide by for above ground and built in pools in New Jersey and practically every state in America reflect and respect Lou Costello’s tragedy. Thank you for the countless number of lives saved every day gone by unknown to Lou Costello and family.


  6. Michael Schupp says:

    So sad great comedian the best


  7. Joe Delia says:

    Here is a link to the broadcast from that day… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r935ny5j8e4


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