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25 September 2014

How did he end up in Price, Utah? The burial of Rickie Layne Cohen

The city of Price is located on the eastern side of the State of Utah. A town known mostly for the mining industry that is located there. The winters in Price are cold and the summers are are very moderate. The 8,500 or so residents are almost evenly split between the Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Mormon populations. The one thing that Price does not have, and really never had is a Jewish population. In fact, the closest Jewish community world be in Salt Lake City, which is about 120 miles away.
Because of this lack of a Jewish tradition in Price, most people would just drive by, no need to delay the journey to their own destination. However, if they did pass by, they would miss the final resting place of someone known worldwide, who is buried in the Price City Cemetery.
Rickie Israel Cohen, was born in 1924, the son of Russian immigrants. He was the son of a mother, Sonya Ludwig, who was a popular comic in the vaudeville days, known as Gypsy Sonya. Rickie, himself began entertaining others at an early age and by his teens was touring as a ventriloquist.
Rickie, got his big break when in 1955 he was discovered as he was performing his show in a nightclub on the Sunset Strip. 
It was at Ciro's nightclub that his show was seen by Nat "King" Cole, who came to see his own wife sing. Cole liked the show so much that he encouraged Ed Sullivan to have him on his show, which he did on January 1, 1956. This first show led to many more and he became very much in demand. For, most of the next half century, he performed in nightclubs all over the country. In 2002 he was given the lifetime achievement award from the International Ventriloquist Association.
So with all of this fame, having performed all over the world, having been born in New York and dying in California, how did he end up in Price, Utah? Its actually very simple, I believe its because the most important thing in his life was not the fame, but the family.
His wife, LaRue Olsen Layne, who he met in California, was actually a small town girl from Price, Utah. After being married for 56 years before her death in 2002, it seems only natural he would follow her home.
In fact not only are they still together side by side, but also at rest next to them is his mother, Gypsy Sonya. I wonder if in those early years as Russian immigrants and hard working vaudeville entertainers, they could have ever imagined their final resting spot being in a small Utah mining town.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Wow....very cool!

      Rickie and LaRue are my parents, and Sonya is my grandma.
      ....Daddy always said he wanted to be buried at moms feet. She was from Price.
      Thanx for posting this :)

      *Today happens to be Mom's birthday

    2. It was my honor. Thank you for the nice comments. An incredible family

  2. Rickie appeared on the TV show "Night Court" in the 1980s.

    A very funny clip: