I was home sick with a virus one night watching “American Idol.” I was motivated to write this blog after guest-mentor Harry Connick Jr. took issue with the show’s judges. It posted the next morning and went viral, bringing me 112,000 Likes on Facebook. I was viral when I went viral. HCJ even called me to thank me.
I had no sooner gotten to the office on the morning of April 27, 1978, when my phone began to ring.
Throughout the day, excited callers wanted to know: “Did you hear what he said about you last night!”
“He” being Frank Sinatra.
I couldn’t get Maggie Smith, or any other stars of the show. So I did a phone interview with the castle.
I remember exactly where I was the moment I heard that Annette Funicello had died — some 56 years ago. It was the most shocking news I had ever heard, prior to the Kennedy assassination.
The year was 1956. I was 8 years old. I was on a cement playground at the Evergreen Elementary School in Whittier, Calif., which was Richard Nixon’s hometown. I had stayed after school to play with some classmates. My friend Raleigh came over to me with a stunned look on his face. “I just heard that Annette died,” he told me. “She was killed in a car crash.”