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by Cookie Curci
Una Mamma Italiana
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Continued from page 2
by Cookie Curci
One evening, Henry told Rizzo that "Tom" was going to stop by. I didn't know who "Tom" was until a few minutes later when I felt someone squeeze in next to me. I turned to see who it was and found myself hip to hip with the fabulous Tom Jones.
Surprisingly, Tom wasn't as imposing in person as I had imagined, but he was even more handsome. A nicer, more polite gentleman would be hard to find. He was traveling with his teenage son, Terry, at the time, and both father and son ordered a soft drink from the bar. Tom was on his way to the airport, eager to catch the next flight home to his family.
On another occasion, Sinatra was scheduled to check out a new singer appearing in the lounge but changed his mind at the last minute. He instructed Rizzo to go in his place. "And take your friend here with you," he added, pointing at me.
"Come on, babe; let's go," said Rizzo, and away we sped. The young lounge singer interrupted his act to introduce Jilly Rizzo as Sinatra's best friend. The spotlight shone down on the two of us, and everyone in the room applauded loudly. For a fleeting moment, with the bright glare of the spotlight in my eyes and the applause ringing in my ears, I could feel the wonderful thrill of Hollywood's glitz and glamour.
A few minutes later, my brush with fame over, it was back to my job and dull reality. The young singer really didn't impress me much. He was rather plump, bearded and somewhat tacky-looking, and his voice had a funny, gravely sound to it. I didn't think he had much of a chance in show business. The singer was Kenny Rogers. Who knew?
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