(WSVN) - She was America’s sweetheart in the 1960s, recording hit songs and putting Fort Lauderdale on the map with a movie that became a national sensation. Now Connie Francis remembers that and more in her new tell-all book. 7’s Shireen Sandoval has more.
You can pack a lot of memories into 80 years of life — especially if you happen to be Connie Francis.
Connie Francis, singer/actress: “I’ve rubbed elbows with presidents and queens and the head echelon of the Mafia and the biggest stars in the world, so I have a story to tell.”
Her story began when she was just a kid. Her voice eventually propelling her to stardom.
The film “Where the Boys Are” made Fort Lauderdale the place to be for spring break.
Connie Francis: “When 75,000 kids inundated South Florida after the movie was released, they had to call in the Highway Patrol, the National Guard. I-95 was a parking lot. It was more than a movie. It was a phenomenon.”
She shined alongside movie stars and showbiz legends like Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra.
Connie Francis: “Sinatra wanted to sign me for his label, but my father was afraid I would lose my virginity to Frank, so he wanted to keep me as far away from Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin. They were anathema to him.”
It’s all in her new autobiography, “Among My Souvenirs,” a brutally honest tell-all about her life, including her controlling father, who repeatedly had her committed to mental hospitals for depression.
Connie Francis: “While he was inarguably the architect of my brilliant career, he was also the one true source of my greatest personal pain.”
She talks about her four marriages, the pain of her brother’s murder, which she says was a mob hit, and being raped in a Long Island hotel room in 1974.
Connie Francis: “He put a knife at my neck, and it was a two-and-a-half-hour negotiation for my life.”
She stopped performing for seven years after that, but eventually found a way to heal.
Connie Francis: “Becoming a rape victim has helped me help other people. I became very active on Ronald Reagan’s task force on violent crime. Except for my brother’s death, I wouldn’t change a minute of it.”
Now, when she’s not making appearances or writing, Connie enjoys a quiet life at home in Parkland, playing Scrabble with friends and planning her next book. After all, she says when you’ve lived 80 years, there’s a lot to tell!
Connie is currently working on Volume 2 of her autobiography.
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