Part 2 - April/May 2002

Posted April 7 2002:  


By William Travers and Daniel O'Malley.

The theft of a big black-and-grey Cadillac let Cupid out of the trunk for singing star Connie Francis yesterday.
The car, it turned out, is owned by Michael J. Capanegro, lawyer and former Queens assemblyman, who has been romancing the 28-year old Miss Francis since the week before Christmas. Until the theft Saturday night the romance was a private matter.
Last night, as Connie prepared for an appearance at the Nat (King) Cole Memorial Cancer Fund in Lincoln Center, the couple made it official - Connie even admitted that she has taken Mike home to meet her parents,"who don't exactly hate him."
The thief who took the car blew his chance at the big time when he took a $100 TV set from the car and missed $100,000 of Connie's jewelry and clothing in two suitcases in the trunk.
 Democrat Capanegro, 36, a former wrestler and singer, who failed to win 1965 reelection to the Assembly, said he bumped into Connie just before Christmas when she was performing at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami Beach.
Asked whether marriage is on the horizon, Capanegro said, "There is always the possibility of marriage when two people are young". Then he added: "We are definitely keeping company, but what will happen is yet to be seen". 
They had met four years ago on a blind date, he said, but had not seen each other since.

Dating for 3 Weeks

Connie and Capanegro, both married and divorced since their first encounter, have been keeping steady company for three weeks, Capanegro said. 
The odyssey of the Cadillac began early saturday night when Capangro drove to Connie's home in Essex Fells, N.J., to pick her up.
At the wheel was Capanegro's chauffeur, John Mayarez of 1479 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, who at the time was only hours away from becoming Capanegro's ex-chauffer.
Mayarez helped Connie put the two suitcases in the trunk of the telephone-and-televison-equipped car, then drove off in the direction of  New York, where she was giving a surprise anniversary party at the Friars Club for two close friends.
When they got to the club, at Lexington Ave. and 49th St., Capanegro told Mayarez to park the car in front of the club and leave the key with the doorman.  Connie and her escort went inside for the party. 
Mayarez decide he would stop off at his home in Befdford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn for a while, according to police of  Brooklyn's Grand Ave. station.
Just before midnight, Mayarez  parked outside his house.  When he came out, the big car was gone.  He called the police, who located the auto at 3 A.M. in front of  768 Park Place, only 10 blocks from Mayarez'  house.  They took the car to the station house.
When they looked in the trunk they found the suitcases, packed with diamonds, watches, rings and furs.
Mayarez went to the Friars Club to report the incident to his boss, who immediately became his ex-boss. 
Capanegro, of 32-38 168th St., Flushing, Queens, picked up his car yesterday morning.  Connie is expected to pick up her clothes and jewelry sometime today.  Mayarez is on his way back to his native Mexico.
The 5-foot-10 - and handsome - Capanegro is part owner of the Shelton Tower Hotel at 49th St. and Lexington Ave. and the owner of the Forrest Hills Country Club in Queens.
(with the article is a picture of Michael Capanegro back in the driver's seat of his car)


DAILY NEWS - Tuesday,  January 10, 1967 -  (USA) - CONNIE : JUST GOING STEADY WITH MIKE

By Edward Kirkman

Singer Connie Francis declared yesterday that stories about her whirlwind romance with Queens lawyer Michael capanegro have been whirling a bit too fast.
"I don't want to get married", the petite brunette told reporters at the Police Property Clerk's office at 400 Broome St. "He hasn't asked me yet, and I don't want to as yet."
Connie, wearing a pert blue dress and an up swept hairdo, showed up at the office to pick up $100.000 worth of her jewelry and clothing, which were stolen with Cpanegro's car while the couple were at a party in the Friars Club,  57 E 55th St  late Saturday night.

It's All Insured

The jewelry and clothing - including a $1,500 fur jacket - are all insured, Connie said.  With the gems she was really glad to pick up were her little black book of phone numbers, listing hundreds of show business people and their unlisted numbers, and her act book, which contains the arrangements she uses in her night club acts.
Most of the questions asked by reporters centered around reports of her romance with Mike, 36, a former college wrestler, singer, and Democratic Assemblyman.
Connie said, "We have been "going steady" since she and Mike met just before Christmas in Miami Beach. "But after all this publicity I don't think he's too thrilled with me."

Didn't Think About Marriage

She said: "Although we're still going steady, we really didn't think about marriage until we read it in the paper."
Connie said she is leaving this week for a six-day engagement in Boston, which will be followed by another six-day appearance in Italy.
(with the article is  a picture of  Connie and Police Property Clerk Thomas Rosetti, returning Connie's stolen jewelry to her)


(It doesn't say who wrote this...)

Connie Francis, who has harvested enough money from her voice to buy all the jewelry she wants, was sporting a blazer of a ring yesterday that somebody else purchased for her.
The 12.5 carat diamond engagement ring was presented to her Wednesday night at a dinner party by the man who she has been steadily dating since Christmas, Michael Capanegro, 37, a former Queens Democratic Assemblyman , an attorney and part owner of the Shelton Towers Hotel and the Forest Hills Country Club.

A Wedding in ' 67

Both Connie and Mike said that they would be married "before the year is out".
Capanegro said that since they started dating  "we have been apart maybe six days."
"I met her in 1963, then we didn't see each other for about three years," he added.
Ever since they resumed the acquaintance last Christmas, he said, they hit it off so "fantastically" that it was "almost an established fact in a month that we would get married."

100G Gem Robbery

Connie, previously married to Las Vegas publicist Dick Kanellis, was revealed to be a close friend of Capanegro last Jan. 7
when his car was stolen with $100.000 worth of her jewelry locked in the trunk.  The valuables were recovered.
Capanegro represented the 22d A.D. in Queens from 1959 to 1965 at which time reapportionment moved his residence out of the district.  He said yesterday he would re-enter politics to run for the Assembly or a state-wide office.

(with the article is a picture of Connie and Michael; Connie looks very very good and happy - a beauty ! on this one).

Posted April 10 2002

Album reviews:

-ALL TIME INTERNATIONAL HITS - (UK MGM C 1012/CS 6083) -(USA MGM E/SE 4298) -RECORD MAIL (Richard Attenborough) (UK, early 1966)

Popular songstress Connie Francis airs her tonsils upon several well-known international hits of the past few years. Countries she visits in her song trip around the world are France, England, Spain, Israel, America, and Hawaii among others.  With superb arrangmenets from Henri Rene, Joe Mazzu, and Johnny Gregory, Connie takes the wheel as she guides us around the world in song.  The best numbers?   To my mind they are Spain's "Cuando Caliente El  Sol", France's "Et Maintenant"  and England's The Beatles' "And I Love Him".  So get on the magic carpet and let's take a musical ride with lovely Miss Francis.

-BILLBOARD MUSIC WEEK - (Review Panel) -(USA 1965)

"All Time International Hits" is by far one of the most exciting and salable packages in the career of the multi-talented Miss Francis.  She performs in English as well as in Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German and Hebrew.  She sparkles on "Milord", "Mack the Knife" and "The Girl From Ipanema".  Well produced by Danny Davis.  Destined for the top of the album-charts.

-The Daily Hampshire Gazette - Thursday, Feb 24, 1966 - (USA)


Miss Barbara Arrighi of  62 Williston Avenue, Easthampton, who is employed at the White Castle Restaurant in Northampton, recently presented a trophy to Miss Connie Francis, recording and entertainment star, on behalf of  20 Connie Francis Fan club presidents at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, N.J., where the star was appearing.  Miss Arrighi, a long time Connie Francis fan, is head of the local Connie Francis Fan Club.
Miss Arrighi said that the award, entitled "Our Queen of Song", should have also read "Queen of  Hearts", for "it is true that our 'Italian Sweetheart' has captured the hearts of every music lover the world over."  She quoted Miss Francis as saying, "I will treasure this award as long as I live".
Miss Arrighi said she has known Miss Francis for five years, and in those years has come to know her as a warm, kind, considerate woman who would do anything for a friend.  She says that success has not changed Miss Francis.  She knew her when she was fighing her way to the top.  Now, after 50 million singles and eight gold records, she is still as wonderful and down to earth as she was then.
A couple of days after the presentation miss Arrighi was invented to the home of  Miss Francis in Essex Fells, N.J. by her parents, and although she had been there before, her parents greeted Barbara with the charm and friendliness that is theirs.
To know Connie's parents is to understand why Connie is the "great all American girl" she is.
The ultimate thrill for Miss Arrighi was to walk into Miss Francis' trophy room and find the award in the centre of a table.

(During the sixties Barbara Arrighi was a pen friend of mine; my name is on this trophy too - Jan)
(Does anybody know where Barbara is nowadays?)

-CONNIE IN SAN REMO - By Jan de Gee (Connie Francis Journal, Dutch CFFC, April 1966)

 In January of 1965, after her hit appearance of  four weeks at the fabulous "Sahara Hotel" in Las Vegas, Connie and her parents flew to Italy, where the dark-haired charmer was scheduled to perform at the San Remo Festival.
At that time the Connie Francis-Dick Kanellis divorce was The Big News in Europe.  As a result of this Connie couldn't go anywhere without having troops of reporters and photographers around her.  Moreover , Connie was considered as "THE STAR" and the Highlight of the festival.  Other well-known artists like Petula Clarck, Dusty Springfield and Gene Pitney appeared at the festival, too, and although they were much higher on the hit-single charts, they were not fit to hold a candle to Miss Francis' standard.  This was another example of her majesty. Her song at the Festival was "Ho Bisogno di Vederti" and Connie received an ovation for her dramatic and powerful performance of this Italian song..
During the Festival Connie stayed at the Rocce del Capo Hotel and she was happy to learn that her song became such a potent seller with the Italians.  Moreover, the whole thing meant a good promotion for her, since music-magazines in Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands published interviews and pictures of Connie taken at San Remo.
The beautiful American artist could fly home, knowing that she had triumphed once again.

(The sleeve of the CD "Canzone Italiane con Amore"  (Polygram South Africa / Conbud 2) shows a black and white picture of Connie singing "Ho Bisogno di Vederti" at the San Remo Festival.  However, this song is not included  on this CD - Jan).

-WHERE THE BOYS ARE / MGM EP 756 (UK) - Because of  You / Young at Heart / Where the Boys Are / You Made Me Love You - Liner notes on EP sleeve by Robert Weston (UK 1961)

The Connie Francis success story is history.  Many thousand words have been written about Connie and all that remains to be said is that her incredible list of hit records lengthens each time a new disc is released. 
Connie was delighted when MGM pictures offered her a role in their comedy production "Where the Boys Are".  She had previously ghosted the singing voice of  leading actresses in the film "Rock, Rock, Rock" and "Disc Jockey Jamboree", but there was the chance of a singing and acting role.  The film reached London in the summer of 1961, and her charming performance must surely set Connie on the road to fame as a film-actress.
The title song of the film, and of this record, was composed by two of Connie's firmest friends, Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, who were also responsible for the first rock 'n' roll song she recorded, "Stupid Cupid".  Neil has now also achieved renown as a singer in his own right, while Howie goes from strength to strength, writing in collaboration with Neil, Jack Keller and other writers of the young American school. Connie has made several best-selling LP's of ballads, and on this EP we find three previously un-issued tracks - her beautiful treatment of three well-known American ballads.
The relaxed, philosophiocal "Young At Heart", from the film of the same name, was written in 1954 by jazz bandleader and arranger Johnny Richards, and Carolyn Leigh, who lately has added hit Broadway musicals to her list of achievements. 
The flowing and melodious "Because of You" by Arthur Hammerstein and Dudley Wilkinson, was first heard in the dark days of the Second World War, while "You Made Me Love You" by Joe MacCarthy and James V. Monaco, who later penned many other catchy melodies which now fall into the category of evergreens.
Congratulation, Connie, on four more brilliant, sparkling tracks!
Robert Weston

Posted April 28 2002

Connie At The Copa - UK Connie Francis International Fan Club Magazine of  December 1971/February 1972

Connie was scheduled for a stint at the Copacabana in November 1971, but owing to illness she was only able to appear for four nights. The following extract ( taken from the magazine nr. 9 ) however, covers her first performance.

"Connie has class at the Copa": 
New York. -
You should think that Connie Francis returning to the Copacabana would be an occasion for pure nostalgia - an evening of your favourite Sedaka-Greenfield songs sung by perhaps the foremost female record-seller of all time.
Well, she did sing a few of the old hits at her recent Copa opening (4) but she also did many newer things with so much class and feeling that the nostalgic character of the show was overshadowed by her interpretations of current song.
Connie, who now records for the Ivanhoe label, went through a set which featured insightful readings of many of today's most performed songs.  Although it is difficult to get excited at the prospect of hearing anyone do "Something", "Help Me Make It Through the Night", "Joy To the World" or  "Bridge Over Troubled Water"  these days, she truly sang these songs in a way that added something to the countless versions already existing.
Her Italian medley and the oldies that she did sneak in ("Mama" and "Where the Boys Are" ) only added to the delight of the crowd which was moved to a near-unanimous standing ovation after Connie's several encores."

From the same Fan Club magazine:

"Connie Thriumps Again at The Copa" by Glennise Perkins (a CF fan).

Despite the fact that Connie was not too well on the evening of November 6th 1971, she still went on stage at the Copacabana Night Club.
Her opening number of  "Love Me Tonight" proved that it was going to be a great performance for our number one girl singer.
Between jokes Connie sang many old favourites including,  "Who's Sorry Now", "Exodus", "Al Di La", and the one song which always captures audiences - "Mama".   She also sang a medley of Jewish favourites, including "Hava Negilah" and a selection of Italian favourites. She brought us up to date with songs such as "Something", "My way", "Help Me Make It Through the Night", "Joy To the World"/"Put Your Hand In the Hand", "Amazing Grace" and an older song "Those Were the Days".
Connie certainly gave a great performance and received a wonderfully warm reception.

From the Connie Francis Fan Club Bulletin Chapter # 401 (USA 1967)

The Copacabana New York is still talking about the smash SRO (Standing Room Only) two-week engagement just concluded by our talented Connie.  It proved to be one of her moste succesful nightclub appearances ever, and it will be long remembered by those who were lucky to attend.  Connie was just sensational.  Here is just a sample of some of  her great reviews:
    .....Looking spectacular in a feathered gown, the MGM canary trilled "Al di la", You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", "Winchester Cathedral" and the like .....
    ..... Miss Francis took charge the moment she stepped on the stage.....
    .....When she finished her multiple-tuned Gershwin-medley and another lush medley of Italian numbers, you begin to wonder what she has saved for a finale.  Then she takes your mind off that with a special material ditty titled "Would You Believe It?", and swings back into some of her best-selling hits.  At that point you want to meet her family.

Following Connie's smash opening, MGM Records held a cocktail party at the Hotel Pierre in celebration of her 10 years in show business.

Appearances - Connie Francis Fan Club Bulletin, Chapter # 401, 1967

Connie did a benefit in St. Louis on February 8th, 1967, along with Frank Sintara and Dean Martin, which was shown on three closed circuit television audiences that same evening. ().

Albums - Connie Francis Sings Jewish Favorites - released October 1960

Selections from the above album - "MAYN SHTETL BELZ "


, mayn shtetele Belz 
Mayn hemele, dort vu ich hob 
Mayne kindershe yorn farbracht. 
Belz, mayn shtelete Belz, 
In oremen shtibele mit ale 
Kinderlech dort gelacht. 
Yedn shabes fleg ich loyfn dort 
Mit der tchine gleych 
Tsu zitsen unter dem grinem 
Beymele, leyenen bay dem taych. 
Belz, mayn shtetele Belz, 
Mayn heymele, vu ch'hob gehat 
Di sheyne chaloymes a sach.
Belz, my village Belz
My home, where I spent
My childhood.
Belz, my village Belz,
In a poor little cottage
All the children were laughing
Every Shabath I used to go
With my prayer book
And sit down under the green tree
And read, on the river bank.
Belz, my village Belz,
My home, where I once had
A lot of beautiful dreams

  From the above album.  Also from "Connie at The Copa", released Jan. 1961-"SHEYN VI DI L'VONE" 

Sheyn vi di L'vone 
Lichtik vi di shtern 
Fun himl a matone 
Bistu mir tsugeschikt. 
Mayn glik hob ich gevinen 
Ven ich hob dich gefinen 
Shaynst vi toyzent zinen 
Host mayn harts baglikt. 
Dayne tseyndelech, vayse perelech 
Mit dayne sheyne oygn 
Dayne kleydelech, dayne herelech 
Host mir tsugetsoygn 
Sheyn vi di l'vone 
Lichtik vi di shtern 
Fun himl a matone 
Bistu mir tsugeschikt. 
Beautiful like the moon
Shining like the stars
A gift from heaven
You were sent to me
I gained my fortune
When I found you
You shine like thousand suns
You've brought happiness to my heart
Your teeth like white pearls
Your beautiful eyes,
Your dresses, your hair,
Have drawn me to you
Beautiful like the moon
Shining like the stars
A gift from heaven
You were sent to me.

(Some Yiddish words or the pronunciation of some of the Yiddish words - or how they are written - may differ from country to country, but in general this is the way Connie sings these two songs and you can read their meaning in the English translation). 

CONNIE IN GERMANY - 1963 by Jan de Gee,  President of a Connie Francis Fan Club in Holland.
From: Connie Francis Fan Club, 39 Dalebrook Road, Bloomfield, N.J., president Amy C. Parrillo (1963) (Amy almost lived next to Connie and was a penfriend of mine for years - I have pictures of Connie & Amy together - Jan Willem de Gee)

 In 1963 Connie Francis won a popularity poll in Germany of the music magazine "Bravo". 

1.Connie Francis: 76,267 votes
2. Caterina Valente: 70,300 votes
3. Conny Froboess: 40,041 votes
4. Heidi Bruehl: 33,147 votes
5. Mina: 25,082 votes 
6. Nana Mouskouri: 20,145 votes

Other names were: 
 8. Helen Shapiro: 14,170 votes
12. Brenda lee: 10,126 votes. 

Connie Francis has won "Der Goldener Grosser Otto" (The Gold Grand Otto) award.  She won this "Otto" also in 1962.  This year she won with the songs "Paradiso" and "Wenn Du Gehst" (Both for a long period at the top of the hit parade in Germany and Holland).  Last year she won with the song "Schoener Fremder Mann",  the German version of the American "Someone Else's Boy".
Connie has alreadya a new big double hit in Germany, "Colombino/Barcarole in der Nacht".  It's Connie's fifth record that reached number one on the German charts.  She will stay at the top in this country."


Recording dates of songs on the LP, " JEALOUS HEART" - This information comes from The Connie Francis Discography 20th Anniversary 1955-1975 (Volume 1) written, produced and compiled by Ron Roberts (UK). 

* Jealous Heart
* If  You Ever Get Lonely 
* Everything  I Have Is Yours 
* If  You Ever Change Your Mind 
* Do I 
* Fair Weather Lover 

* Ivory Tower 
* Once A Day 
* My Foolish Heart 
* I'm Falling In Love With You Tonight 
* Nevertheless 
* So Long, Goodbye 

August 12, 1965 & Sept. 25, 1965
June 20, 1963
April 8, 1964
April 7, 1965
June 20, 1963
November 1962

December 8, 1965
May 26, 1965
April 8, 1964
November 2, 1961
April 8, 1964
March 24, 1965


Well, that's it for the second two months of Jan's memories!
If you would like to read about Jan becoming a
Connie Francis fan,


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