There I was, all happy and proud. My first press conference and all the local TV stations were there to cover the story. I was elated that I found my calling in life, evident by the impressive media turn-out. Plus, my new career in public relations just might allow me to save the lives of precious dogs and cats in the pound.
Bob Barker walked up to the podium to begin the press conference announcing a month-long program for no-cost spaying and neutering of Los Angeles city dogs and cats. He barely welcomed the media when the sound of pagers interrupted the proceedings. My first media event crumbled right in front of my eyes as the local news crews ran off and headed back to their vans. Was the President shot? Did a plane crash in Westwood? Whatever was calling the news crews away, I panicked; my first press conference was now looking like a total debacle.
Bob Barker joked, "Was it something I said?" He didn't know how tragic the situation was yet.
“Find out what’s happening,” my boss
Blaine said to me as he pointed at a camera-operator running past us. My client Gretchen Wyler gasped in disbelief.
“Excuse me, excuse me,” I cried out, chasing the camera-operator from Channel 7 Eyewitness News in my high-heeled pumps. I was out of breath when I caught up with him putting his equipment back in the van.
“Marvin Gaye’s just been shot,” the camera-operator shouted back to me. He got behind the wheel of the van and peeled out as fast as he could. Later that night, I learned that the legendary singer was shot to death by his own father.
A few of the stations did run I was hired to promote using b-roll that they shot of the pound dogs I selected as "spokesdogs." But it was nothing near the coverage we would have received if all had gone smoothly. That turned out to be a valuable lesson in the world of Public Relations because rarely did things happen as planned.
I learned that the Motown hit-maker's 45th birthday was the next day and that his father, who killed him, was an Apostolic preacher. The Rolling Stone Magazine called Marvin Gaye "one of the most gifted composers and singers in his era." This 1983 Grammy winner's song "Sexual Healing" is still hugely popular today as is "Heard It Through The Grapevine," "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" and "What's Going On," to name a few of my favorites.