"Prohibition's Tango Kings: Leta and Lechard"

By Dominic Caruso

As a child of twelve Louis Privitera entered he gates of Ellis Island in 1913 with his family, immigrants from Sicily, Louis Privitera would enter into a life style uncommon to his bringing up by a strict and demanding mother. His father, a Carabinieri on the Island of Sicily was as different from his wife Josephina as they could be and for Louis his father's opinion was important. Louis was a chip off of the old block, handsome, dapper, quite daring and outgoing.

It was his father Pepi who was the driving force for Louis even though Josephina tried to mold her son to her wishes. A dreamer, Pepi supported his only son's wishes to go into ballroom dancing at a young age. At the age of fifteen Louis would team up with a young lady called Anna McCloud. Though the association between Louis and Anna would be tumultuous, it was obvious from the first meeting that the pair shared an unusual chemistry. One that would create an on the dance floor magic and stage presence that would take them to the top in their field, the Argentinean Tango.

In the coming years they would be befriended by such people as Rudolf Valentino, Enrico Caruso, Al Jolson, Clarence Darrow, Flo Zigfeld, New York's crime boss Salvatore D'Aquila and Chicago's Al Capone. Participating in numerous world tours they danced for heads of states such as the Queen of England, King Ferdinand and others. But for Hollywood, all was conquered and as quickly as their star lit up the heavens, darkness fell upon Leta and Lechard never to be lifted.

While on their last world tour at Hungary, Louis was drugged and Anna was gang raped causing her to become an alcoholic which eventually affected her dancing. Louis out of love for Anna refused to take on another partner and the couple spent their next ten years teaching elite students of the Argentinean tango at their school on Manhattan New York. Anna's drinking affected her teaching and they decided to retire from the world stage.

They moved from Manhattan to Monticello, New York where Louis spent the rest of his life working in a Stetson hat factory. Anna is a total mystery because no one knew her maiden name. the family assumed they were married, though no one can say they attended or knew of the couple being married. with all of Louis's family passed away, he died while in the care of a lady friends. In his seventies he was still a handsome figure of a man.

Dying penniless and at the coldest time of winter his casket stayed above ground for two weeks because the ground was too frozen to dig the hole for the casket and the funeral home refused to keep it on the premises. He died a sad and broken man in 1978 and was not buried with his beloved Anna whereever she is buried.

Louis, alias 'Lechard' was my uncle on my mother's side. Very little is known about Anna McCloud alias 'Leta'. I am in possession of the only known professional photos and articles written on Leta and Lechard at the height of their stardom, 1916-27. Please see the attached photo and articles in the FAMILY PICS Section. Thank you, Dominic Caruso.

Dominic Caruso 2-1-1992