Reggie Leon Battise, a member of Sha Na Na for over 20 years and celebrated musician, passed away on Friday October 8, 2010 in Los Angeles from prostate cancer. He was 55 years old.
Reggie was born in Chicago and spent his formative years studying fine arts, attending the Art Institute of Chicago. In his early teens, he went on to find a passion for the performing arts made this his lifelong career. At age 20, he was a local TV celebrity in Chicago, hosting Dancing with Robyn and Reggie. The show jumped to top ratings and was featured on the #1 hit talk show “The Phil Donahue Show”. He also was a member of the 42nd St. Dance Company appearing in Gotta Dance throughout Chicago. In the late 70s, Reggie moved to Los Angeles and toured as a member of the rock band, “The Bus Boys” as Reggie Leon (1985). Next, Reggie toured with the Houston Grand Opera “Porgy and Bess” throughout Europe. Reggie also lived in Italy while co-hosting Fantastico, the #1 TV variety show in Rome, singing R&B in three languages.
Some of Reggie’s notable credit and work include choreography of Billy Crystal’s “You Look Mahvelous” contributor, soundtrack to the Civil War film Glory (1989); appeared in “Moonlighting” with Bruce Willis and in numerous commercials for Coca Cola, Pepsi with Lionel Richie (1985) and McDonald’s. Reggie was a principal dancer in Stayin’ Alive (1983) with John Travolta, and was both actor and script consultant for, White Men Can’t Jump (1992).
Reggie was a Renaissance man in true definition. He was a fine artist, sculptor, writer, professional singer and dancer, furniture designer and a lover of all arts. He is survived by his 11 year old son, Brando Battise, mother, Ms. Comella Smith, sister, Wendy Nelson, brother Randall Smith, brother in law, Patrick Nelson, and nephews and nieces, Patrick Nelson, Chase Nelson, Marcus Smith, Kisonah Smith, and Randi Smith.
The family has set up a college fund for his son, Brando Battise. Donations may be made to Brando Battise c/o Di Moda Public Relations, 9713 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 220, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.