Fall River’s Kingpin Megastars [PHIL-OSOPHY]
This is the story about two superstars who had unforgettable connections to two Fall River businessmen, who were their intermediaries during their rise to stardom. One was a guiding light for Whitney Houston and the other businessman was a leading light for Marvin Hagler.
When I heard that boxing legend "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler died unexpectedly Saturday, I could almost hear the rasping voice of "Low Price" Lenny Kaplan reminding us he was the one who tagged Hagler with the household name of "Marvelous." Although the wannabes are crawling out of their encasements claiming they were responsible for labeling Hagler with the moniker, now part of his legal name, their claims fall on deaf ears because it was, indeed, Kaplan who named him "Marvelous" when Kaplan was the boxing public address announcer at Lincoln Park.
Hagler breezed his way through the Golden Gloves at Lincoln Park, before turning pro in 1973. During that era, Kaplan was so spellbound with Hagler's skills and intensity, he started calling him "Marvelous Marvin," and the nickname was affixed from those days forward.
Then there's Fall River entrepreneur Danny Gittleman, who was very much responsible for helping send into orbit Whitney Houston's singing profession. Don't take my word for it, or singer-songwriter Charlie Quintal's testimony; just look at the times Whitney credited Gittleman, from her tour de force debut album Whitney Houston in 1985 that sold 10 million copies to her Grammy Award presentation.
I've just skimmed the surface here, with the prospects that you'll find out more about both these Fall River magnates. Trust me when I tell you that there are so many fascinating local stories about all four of them to keep you occupied for a while.
It's cool to recall these biographies, but cheerless to memorialize those for who left us too soon.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.