Gus Dana, 60, a former correspondent for Variety, an entertainment writer and editor and a published lyricist, died Aug. 13 in Miami Beach of cancer.
Born Gustave Danilowski in Warsaw, Poland, he escaped the Nazi bombardment in September 1939 with his parents, both of whom were in the entertainment industry , via Russia and Italy and finally to the U.S.
His father, Walter Danilowski, was the founder of Dana Records and Dana Publishing (BMI), and the author of thousands of polkas, for many of which Gus wrote the lyrics.
Dana Records was sold to Jerry Blaine of Jubilee Records in the ’50s, but the publishing catalog, which was retained by the family, is still active and many of its titles have been recorded by contemporary polka bands like Jimmy Sturr’s.
After attending Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., Dana transferred to the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., graduating in 1958. He began his career as a journalist with the Hollywood (Fla.) Sun-Tattler as a sports writer, later becoming sports editor. He went to the Miami Beach Sun as entertainment editor, leaving to become public relations director of the Miami Beach Playhouse in 1964. He later became editor of an early rock ‘n’ roll publication, Zoo World.
During those years, he was a regular on “The Larry King Show,” and later, a local program emanating from the “Surfside Six” houseboat, moored opposite the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. In 1972-73, he and Frank Meyer created a radio talk show for teens, “Point Counterpoint,” on a Miami Beach rock station. Dana was a Variety correspondent from 1970-72.
Survived by his father.