Who Loved Ya, Baby?
February 7, 1994
I did! Life came full circle when I traveled in a taxi (this native New Yorker didn't have a drivers' license yet) to Forest Lawn Cemetery for Telly Savalas' funeral, earning my very first byline on this second cover story for People. Actual first story? Interviewing celebrities such as Rita Rudner about their experiences in the Northridge earthquake. I first met the Kojak star when I was in elementary school. He happened to be shooting an episode in Carl Schurz Park near my school. A few friends and I snuck out a back door to watch him. He approached us and graciously signed autographs. But he demanded payment from me for mine: he tapped his cheek whereupon I kissed him. (Note: it was all quite innocent.) When I shared the story with his wife while reporting the tribute story, she was quite touched.