Marvin ‘Sweet Louie’ Smith Dies

Before his performance aboard the Caribbean Princess cruise ship in the Caribbean, Marvin "Sweet Louie" Smith, one half of the R&B duo the Checkmates, died December 15th of a heart attack.

Smith’s singing partner, Sonny Charles, found the 68-year-old in his cabin before they were to rehearse for that night’s show, according to Smith’s agent, Mike Moloney.

After touring in the entertainment division of the Army’s Special Services, the Checkmates continued their career in 1964 with performances at Pussycat A Go Go, which was located where Wynn Las Vegas now resides. The Checkmates performed with Frank Sinatra, Herb Alpert and sang the national anthem for the "Thrilla in Manila" Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier bout.In 2000 the Checkmates were inducted into the Las Vegas Hall of Fame.

The Checkmates’ most successful single was the 1969 Phil Spector-produced "Black Pearl." Other recording include "Love is All I Have to Give" and a remake of "Proud Mary."