Connie Francis opens up about her horrific 1974 rape, brother's murder in new book (2022)

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Connie Francis opens up about her horrific 1974 rape

Fox411: Beloved singer Connie Francis come forward with a tell-all titled 'Among My Souvenirs,' where she candidly opens up about one of her greatest tragedies.

(Video) [Breaking News]Connie Francis opens up about her horrific rape in 1974, killing the brother of the

Connie Francis isn’t sorry now about sharing her story.

The beloved singer, who is recognized as the top-selling female vocalist of the ‘60s, has enjoyed a lasting career, but her success didn’t come without its fair share of heartache. The 80-year-old has chosen to come forward with a tell-all titled “Among My Souvenirs,” where she candidly opens up about one of her greatest tragedies.

The Washington Post previously reported that in 1974, police found Francis in a Long Island hotel room naked, gagged and tied to an overturned chair. She was terrorized for nearly three hours at knife-point, raped and robbed. The crime led to a nervous breakdown, a crumbling marriage and it nearly ended her career.

Fox News spoke with Francis about opening up to fans.

Connie Francis opens up about her horrific 1974 rape, brother's murder in new book (2)

Connie Francis recording music in 1978 in London. (Courtesy of Connie Francis)

(Video) Connie Francis: Her Tragic Life (Jerry Skinner Documentary)

Fox News: How did you cope with being raped in 1974?
Connie Francis: I had a lot of help. I had good friends, a family who supported me and my sense of humor… But I didn’t have the benefit of going to a support group for women who were raped because it would have been in the National Enquirer the following week. So I had to do that in the privacy of my own home. But it did take seven years out of my life. I didn’t grant an interview for seven years. I didn’t sing for seven years. It was a horrible experience.

Fox News: Which was the most difficult chapter for you to write and why?
Connie Francis: My brother’s murder. I rented out a room in the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas for two weeks to write the chapters on the rape and my brother’s murder. I figure once I got those out of the way, I would be able to concentrate on the lighter aspects of my life. I needed to put humor into my book. The thing that saved me has been my sense of humor. So I tackled those two subjects first.

Fox News: Do you think your brother’s death could have been prevented?
Francis: No. My brother was a former district attorney. Then he became involved with the mob. And he cooperated with the government for three years. There was no way he could have been saved. There was just no way when it was made public. I think had I been in a better frame of mind, had it not been [for] the rape, I would have had more of a handle on what he was doing and I would have prevented him from getting involved with such unsavory people. But I had my own problems and I took my eye off the ball. So to a large degree, I blame myself.

Fox News: What’s the story behind your famous song “Who’s Sorry Now?”
Francis: My father wanted me to record that song for a year and a half and I turned him down. It was a square song, it was written during the 1920s, and the kids on "American Bandstand" would laugh me right out of the show. He said, “If you don’t sing this song sister, the only way you’ll get on 'American Bandstand' is if you sit on top of the television set.” So I did it as the last song. I stretched the other songs before I got to “Who’s Sorry Now” so there wouldn’t be time.

But there were 16 minutes left. My father said, “If I have to nail you to that microphone, you’re gonna do ‘Who’s Sorry Now.’” So I did it. I didn’t like it… I remember that record had been out for three months and it went nowhere... But Dick Clark liked it… It was a cosmic moment for me. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. Because I knew in five seconds my life would never be the same. And it wasn’t. It was a happy shock.

Fox News: How did you and Don Rickles meet?
Francis: Don Rickles was the one who taught me how to really laugh. I think I belly laughed for the very first time because of him. I owe a lot to Don Rickles because he made me see humor in things that ordinarily I wouldn’t have seen humor in.

(Video) Rape PSA, Connie Francis

Connie Francis opens up about her horrific 1974 rape, brother's murder in new book (4)

A young Connie Francis. (Courtesy of Connie Francis)

The first time he asked me out on a date in 1961, he rented a shiny new Corvette sports car and we went to this elaborate movie house where they had valet parking. When we pulled up, the valet guy said to Don, “Wow Don, she’s a beauty.” I said, “Why thank you!” Don responded, “The car dummy, the car.” He was really the best. He was a very sweet, sweet man.

Fox News: How did you manage to save Don’s life?
Francis:He came to me petrified. He said that there was a mobster in the audience [at his show] with a date. But he didn’t know he was a mobster. Don told him, “Hey dummy, this floozy your latest thing? You can do better than her, cause I’ve seen better legs on Sonny Liston.” Don said, “Connie, the guy said he’s gonna break my legs!” So I made a phone call because I did have connections. The mobster was from New Jersey so I knew who to call. He never knew I did that.

Fox News: You were one of the few women who left Frank Sinatra waiting.
Francis: I got weak in the knees when I met Sinatra. I was actually afraid to meet him. There were two people I idolized: One was Frank and the other was Judy Garland. I got to meet both of them. Frank invited me to a party. He rented a whole restaurant to have a dinner party for me in Las Vegas.

Connie Francis opens up about her horrific 1974 rape, brother's murder in new book (5)

(Courtesy of Connie Francis)

(Video) Connie Gets Raped : )

The first night that we met, he used vile language, not at me, but at somebody else. I was with Don Rickles and I said, “I’m outta here. You can babysit him all night if you want to.” So Frank came up and said, “Is there a problem Don?” Don said, “Well you used language that offended her, Frank. She was afraid you would use the F-word.” Frank said, “Well I didn’t disappoint her, did I?” Don said, “Don’t you see that sign on her forehead? It says ‘I’m a virgin.’” Frank then said, “The only virgins I know in Las Vegas are 4-year-olds and ugly.” He did apologize, which is very rare for him. And from there we had a wonderful friendship.

Fox News: Was there anything about Judy Garland that surprised you?
Francis: Yes, it was the time when she was going through her divorce from Sid Luft. She had guards around her house. He wanted the children. She talked about how she was putting her children through another day in hell. She was very remorseful. She was drinking a lot of red wine and she said she wanted to escape somewhere, but she didn’t know where. I felt so bad for her.

Fox News: It’s been said you’re still open to finding love. What would it take to impress you?
Francis: A lot! First of all, I’ve been very unsuccessful in that arena. I chose the wrong men for the wrong reasons. If I had put as much thought in selecting husbands as I did with Vegas openings, I would have been fine. But, my personal life was always secondary to my career.

I think it takes a lot to make a relationship successful, I think more than I’m willing to give right now. I do want to concentrate on things that are vital for me, which are veterans, victims of violent crime and the mentally ill. And if I were in a relationship, I wouldn’t be able to do these other things. It takes a lot to make a relationship work. And I spent most of my life apologizing to men for my success.

FAQs

What happened to Connie Francis's brother? ›

In 1981, further tragedy struck Francis when her brother, George Franconero, Jr., with whom she was very close, was murdered by Mafia hitmen. Despite that, she took up live performing again, even gracing the American Bandstand 30th Anniversary Special Episode, and appearing in the town where she had been raped.

Who did Connie Francis marry? ›

Connie Francis

Does Connie Francis have a son? ›

Does Connie Francis have a child? ›

What disease does Connie Francis have? ›

Francis said she suffered from manic depression, an illness she claims was caused by a chemical imbalance from her dependence on diet pills. She said she refused to take prescribed medication for the illness, so she underwent electroshock treatment.

What were Connie Francis measurements? ›

Did Bobby Darin ever find out who his father was? ›

Darin did not find out the truth about his upbringing until 1968, when he was 32. Nina finally told Bobby the truth, which devastated him. She refused to tell her son who she thought his biological father was but told other relatives after Darin's death.

How old is Frankie Avalon? ›

What age is Connie Francis? ›

Who did Connie Stevens marry? ›

Connie Stevens

Did Connie Francis ever marry and have children? ›

Born as Concetta Rosemarie Franconero, Connie Francis would marry four times in her life. She was married to Dick Kanellis (1964-1964), Izzy Marion (1971-1972), Joseph Garzilli (1973-1978) whom she had one child with, and Bob Parkinson (1985-1986).

How Old Is Connie Stevens? ›

Who is Johnny Tillotson married to? ›

How did Connie Stevens make her money? ›

In the 90s she started doing infomercials for make-up and skin-care products. She developed her own line of cosmetics called Forever Spring and opened her own day spa. In 2009 she directed the film Saving Grace B. Jones.

What nationality is Connie Francis? ›

Connie Francis, byname of Concetta Maria Franconero, (born December 12, 1938, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.), American singer whose recordings in the 1950s and '60s encompassed country, rock and roll, and traditional vocal pop.

How old is Brenda Lee? ›

What is Connie Francis most famous song? ›

Connie's Greatest Hits
  • "I'm Sorry I Made You Cry" Released: April 1958.
  • "Stupid Cupid" Released: June 1958.
  • "Fallin'" Released: September 1958.
  • "My Happiness" Released: November 1958.
  • "If I Didn't Care" Released: February 1959.
  • "Frankie" Released: May 1959.
  • "You're Gonna Miss Me/Plenty Good Lovin'" Released: August 1959.

Who wrote the song Who's Sorry Now? ›

Who's Sorry Now

Is Sandra Dee still alive? ›

What caused Sandra Dee's death? ›

She was 62. The cause of the death was complications from kidney disease, said Steve Blauner, a family friend. Ms. Dee was probably best remembered for her portrayal of Gidget, a tomboyish California teenager who discovered the joys of surfing and boys in Paul Wendkos's 1959 film of the same name.

What was the cause of Bobby Darin's death? ›

20 (AP) —Bobby Darin, whose combination of brashness, good looks and talent made him one of the nation's leading singers of popular songs, died today at the age of 37, the victim of heart ailments that had shadowed much of his life.

Who is Frenchies guardian angel? ›

In the musical, the song is the showcase piece of the Teen Angel, a phantom teen idol who makes his only appearance in the musical to sing the song. The Teen Angel is Frenchy's guardian angel, and script notes specifically identify him as a Fabian look-alike, dressed in all-white.

Is Bobby Rydell still alive? ›

Why was Frankie Avalon in Grease? ›

He made a cameo appearance as himself with Robert De Niro in the 1995 film, Casino. In recent years, Avalon has starred in stage productions of Grease in the role of Teen Angel and Tony n' Tina's Wedding as a caricature of himself.

Where is the boys are? ›

Where the Boys Are is a 1960 American CinemaScope comedy film directed by Henry Levin and starring Connie Francis, Dolores Hart, Paula Prentiss, George Hamilton, Yvette Mimieux, Jim Hutton, and Frank Gorshin. It was written by George Wells based on the 1960 novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout.

Where did Connie Francis go to high school? ›

Connie Francis

How old is Johnny Mathis? ›

Is James Stacy still alive? ›

What did Connie Stevens do? ›

In the late 1950s, Connie Stevens came to fame for her acting and singing career, and became especially popular for her starring role on the series Hawaiian Eye. Stevens played Cricket on the detective show from 1959 to 1963.

Where is Connie Fisher now? ›

In 2013, Fisher joined TV production company Avanti Media, and presently works there as a development producer.

Who did Bobby Darin want to marry? ›

Bobby Darin

Are Steven and Connie together? ›

After helping Steven cope, Steven and Connie decide to meet up with each other as she tours the country on college tours, and he tours the world to find himself. It is revealed that the two are officially dating by the end of the series.

Is Eddie Fisher still alive? ›

How Old Is Eddie Fisher? ›

How old is Johnny Tillotson today? ›

Where is Johnny Tillotson from? ›

Tillotson was born in Jacksonville in 1939 to Doris and Jack Tillotson, a country music disk jockey. When he was 9, Tillotson was handed the responsibility of taking care of his grandmother in Palatka, Florida, some 40 miles to the south.

How many hits did Johnny Tillotson have? ›

With 9 top ten hits, 15 top 40 hits. His recordings charted 48 times on the Billboard , Pop, Country, Adult Contemporary and Album charts , which makes Johnny one of the top 100 recording artists of the Rock era.

Who are Connie Stevens children? ›

Connie Stevens

Was Connie Stevens Italian? ›

Lovely, indefatigable Connie Stevens added sparkle to a number of films and TV shows in the late 50s and 60s Hollywood. Brooklyn born Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia is of Italian/Sicilian and Irish descent, the daughter of Eleanor McGinley and Teddy Stevens (born Pietro Ingoglia).

Who is Kim Darby husband? ›

Kim Darby

Who was Connie Francis's father? ›

Does Connie Francis have any siblings? ›

What happened Connie Stevens? ›

As time went on, Stevens continued acting regularly, with guest roles on popular series like The Love Boat and Fantasy Island, and in more recent decades, Clueless and 8 Simple Rules. She was also in movies like Scorchy and Grease 2 and became a nightclub performer.

What happen to Bobby Darin? ›

Darin's heart problems finally caught up with him. On December 20, 1973, he died of heart failure in Hollywood, California. Darin was only 37 years old at the time. He was survived by his second wife Andrea Joy Yeager, whom he had married the previous year, and his son Dodd.

Who did Connie Stevens marry? ›

Connie Stevens

How old is Frankie Avalon? ›

What age is Connie Francis? ›

Who is Johnny Tillotson married to? ›

Is James Stacy still alive? ›

Where is Connie Fisher now? ›

In 2013, Fisher joined TV production company Avanti Media, and presently works there as a development producer.

Is Eddie Fisher still alive? ›

What caused Sandra Dee's death? ›

She was 62. The cause of the death was complications from kidney disease, said Steve Blauner, a family friend. Ms. Dee was probably best remembered for her portrayal of Gidget, a tomboyish California teenager who discovered the joys of surfing and boys in Paul Wendkos's 1959 film of the same name.

Is Bobby Rydell still alive? ›

What happened to Bobby Darin's son Dodd? ›

Though Dodd never pursued a life in the limelight, instead focusing on preserving his parents' careers, his two daughters hope to follow in their grandparents' footsteps. While speaking with Daily Mail, the pair shared that they hope to someday pursue careers in Hollywood themselves, either in acting or modeling.

How Old Is Eddie Fisher? ›

Did Connie Stevens leave Hawaiian Eye? ›

Sunny Day, played by Tina Cole, was a singer at the Shell Bar. The role was created after Connie Stevens temporarily left the series in the fourth season over a contract dispute.

How Old Is Connie Stevens? ›

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