Carla Boni, an Italian singer who enjoyed household name status in the 1950s, died at her home in Rome on Saturday (Oct. 17) at the age of 84. She had been ill for some months.

Born Carla Gaiano in Ferrara on July 17, 1925, she joined the state-owned Rai orchestra as a singer in 1951. Rai was only a radio network in those days, but in 1953 she won the first televised edition of the country's flagship music event, the Sanremo Festival (then in its infancy), with the song "Viale d'autunno" ("Autumn Avenue").

Her other hits during that period included an Italian cover of "Johnny Guitar" (1954), "Italian Mambo" (1956) and "Casetta in Canada" (1957). She competed at Sanremo five times between 1953 and 1961 and carried on performing on Italy's equivalent of the oldies circuit for much of her life.

Her funeral was due to be held in Rome today (Oct. 20) at the "church of the artists," Santa Maria in Montesanto, in Piazza del Popolo.