15 Minutes Magazine - The Magazine of Society and Celebrity

Celebrating Our 17TH Year!

Official Magazine of the Next 15 Minutes

 

 
 
 
Power Benefits
 

Connie Francis and Neil Sedaka
Connie Francis and Neil Sedaka
Connie Francis and Pat Cooper
Connie Francis and Pat Cooper
Dominic Chianese and Abe Vigoda
Dominic Chianese and Abe Vigoda
Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley
Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley
Jay Black
Jay Black
Tony Orlando
Tony Orlando
Jerry Blavat, Connie Francis and Stewie Stone
Jerry Blavat, Frani and Stewie Stone
FRIARS FOUNDATION
Celebs Come Out To
Salute Connie Francis

"I
 was a little pisherkeh from Brighton Beach and Connie Francis gave me my start," songwriter Neil Sedaka said.

He told how Connie recorded one of his early songs, Stupid Cupid, and turned it into a monster hit of the late Ď50s. "It was my ultimate kvell."

Sedaka took to the piano and serenaded Connie with a medley of his signature songs, including Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.

That got hearty applause from young and old alike among the 700 guests at the New York Friars Foundation Applause Awards Gala in June at the Waldorf-Astoria. The foundation is the charitable arm of the Friars Club, aiding performing arts groups and assisting needy artists with a college education.

Jay Black, who fronted the popular Jay and the Americans, said he always enjoyed listening to Connie Francis. He said his favorite was a Jewish song, "Where the Goys Are." (Cue laughs.)

Friars Club president Freddie Roman presented Connie with an Applause Award. Everyone dutifully rose to applaud. Except two actors ó a senior Italian and an elderly Jew ó who portrayed Mafia types in their career: Dominic Chianese, 80, who was Junior on The Sopranos, and Abe Vigoda, 90, who was Sal Tessio in The Godfather.

Vigoda looked like he died years ago and doesnít know it. In fact comedian Stewie Stone, the Friars vice president, gently nudged him: "Abe, was the ground cold when you got up this morning?"

Freddie, who marveled that "the biggest stars come for our events and nobody gets paid," presented an Applause Award also to Leonard A. Wilf for his far-reaching philanthropy. He was a founder of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial in Washington DC and the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York. In honor of his father Harry, Leonard built Wilf Park in Jerusalem as well as the Childrenís Hospital at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

"Leonard owns the Minnesota Vikings football club," Stewie noted. "He doesnít want a plaque ó he wants a quarterback!"

At 72, Connie Francis proved she can still hold an audience in thrall. She sang This Land Is Your Land as well as Hava Negila to much acclaim.

She has recorded many Jewish songs in her life, including such favorites as Oh Mein Papa, Mein Shtetele Belz and My Yiddishe Momme.

How did she learn Yiddish?

"I was brought up in Newark," she told me. "If you werenít Jewish you needed a password to get in. Also I read Leo Rostenís book, The Joys of Yiddish."

Tony Orlando with Leba and Neil Sedaka
Tony Orlando with Leba and Neil Sedaka

Leonard A. Wilf with son Harrison, 12, and wife Beth
Leonard A. Wilf with son Harrison, 12, and wife Beth
Cast of Baby Itís You
Cast of Baby Itís You

 

 

This website is under the copyright protection of the Intellectual Property Laws of the State of New York, the United States and International Treaties. All written content, design and functionality is © 15MinutesMagazine. Inc, 1999 - . All images are protected as such. No copying, downloading or other use of images on this site is permitted without prior written permission.

Site Designed, Developed and Maintained by
Internet Web Systems Internet Consultants - Web Site Design -  Website Hosting
Any questions or comments regarding this website, or if you would like one of your own,
please contact us at internetwebsystems.com