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Obituaries

Frances Gershwin Godowsky; Sister of Composer

January 21, 1999

Frances "Frankie" Gershwin Godowsky, 92, painter and singer who tried out her brothers' songs before the public heard them. She began performing as a child, dancing in shows on Tin Pan Alley. She also sang in a few Broadway productions in the 1920s, but spent most of her life helping her famous brothers, composer George and lyricist Ira Gershwin. She was usually the first to sing their songs, trying them out in George's Manhattan apartment. George and Frances became a popular performing team at New York parties. When she accompanied him to Europe in 1928, she so impressed Cole Porter that he designed a Paris nightclub show in which she could sing Gershwin numbers. She rejected several professional offers and returned to New York, where she married Leopold Godowsky Jr. She painted well-received oils and acrylics, and late in life resumed singing publicly. In 1975 Godowsky recorded the album "Frances Sings for George and Ira." On Monday in New York City.

Virgil Harrison Mitchell; TV Producer

Virgil Harrison Mitchell, 83, local television producer and editorial director. Educated at the University of Wyoming and University of Kansas, Mitchell served in the Army during World War II. In Los Angeles, he spent 40 years working on television newscasts--first as a news producer for KABC-TV Channel 7, then as an editorial writer and announcer for KNXT, which is now KCBS-TV Channel 2. In the early 1970s he formed the Mitchell Group, which managed television news at stations around the nation and in Canada. On Jan. 10 in Encinitas, Calif.

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