Then and Now

Connie Francis talks lifetime of tragedies, love of singing

AP

 (AP)

Singer and actress Connie Francis has seen a lot of tragedy in her time. 

From a rape in 1974 in a motel room, to nasal surgery three years later that left her temporarily without a voice, to 17 involuntary commitments to mental institutions in five states, and the tragic 1981 gangland-style murder of her brother, Georgie, Francis’ life has been as tragic as it has been successful.

Uber popular in the 50s and 60s for hits such as “Who’s Sorry Now,” “Lipstick Collar,” and “Stupid Cupid,” and the 1960s classic film, “Where the Boys Are,” the 78-year-old singer was honored by her peers Wednesday, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Palm Beach International Film Festival in Boca Raton, Florida.

“After all of these years, I still love to sing!," Francis told People

CONNIE FRANCIS HOSPITALIZED, MISSES N.Y. PERFORMANCE

Francis said she’s working on a series of autobiographical books "where I talk honestly about these struggles and heartbreaks."

"Among My Souvenirs: The Real Story" is to set to be published in July.

“I talk about the love of my life, Bobby Darin. There has been no one else, not even my four husbands, who could compare with him. He was explosive.”

Francis says Darin, known for his hits, “Mack the Knife,” and “Beyond the Sea,” wanted to marry her in the '50s, but her father wouldn’t allow it.

“My father tried to beat him up and made sure we could never be together,” she says of the singer, who died of heart failure at 37 in 1973.

Francis told People she kept all of Darin’s love letters, and last year was able to retrieve the ones she’d written to him in 1956.

“I am in the process of recording all of my letters to music and having a male sing the letters Bobby sent to me.”

Francis is also arranging for a public auction of her memorabilia on Sept. 24 at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills. She’s planning on selling her gold records, American Bandstand recordings, 60 gowns and several personal items.

“I want to share my life and memories with my fans while I am still alive,” she said.