John Lewis Saved Me…

Saturday morning 4am.

I sit on my couch crying.

The loss is great.

John Lewis, civil rights icon and outstanding congressman, has past away.

I believe he saved my life.

It was October 25th, 1991.

My client, Huey Lewis and the News, was performing at the Concord Pavilion in Vallejo, California.

Naturally, I was planning on going to the show and then I was invited by Cybill Shepherd to attend a fundraiser for future Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

I had been involved in trying to convince voters to do something no state had ever done, elect two women to represent them in the U.S. Senate.

John Lewis was attending.

That was a game changer.

I was a huge admirer of the congressman and civil rights activist having been made aware of him when I was a 22 year old, living with Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy.

John Lewis won out as I saw him as a true American hero.

I felt no guilt about not attending the show as all the press had been invited and credentialed and interviews had been done beforehand.

After all, I had been to innumerable Huey Lewis and the News shows, but I had never met a man the likes of John Lewis.

I had recently organized a fundraiser at legendary rock promoter Bill Graham’s home in Sausalito, California for the Boxer and Feinstein campaigns.

I put together an all-star band comprised of Clarence Clemons, the amazing saxophonist who was an integral part of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street band along with musician/songwriter/producer Narada Michael Walden, among other outstanding talent.

Getting back to that auspicious October evening, Bill Graham had offered me a ride on his helicopter to the Huey Lewis show.

Bill Graham Presents was the promoter.

Gusty winds and heavy rain swept Vallejo, California the night of Oct. 25, 1991 and dangerous conditions caused the helicopter to crash into a transmission tower, killing Graham.

I most likely would have been on the helicopter.

Instead, I was having dinner with John Lewis.

Thank you Congressman Lewis for touching my life in so many ways.

That moment in time spent with you never left me.

Your calm, positive demeanor, intellect, dedication and kindness enveloped me with hope knowing that you always had America’s back, especially the poor and disenfranchised.

I followed Congressman Lewis’ career for decades.

John Lewis will forever remain a beacon of hope whose light will never dim.


Photo:Michael Avedon/NY Magazine


  1. A wow for you on so many levels
    Hopefully John Lewis’s spirit will continue to bless us.

  2. Bruce Alpert says:

    Wow. We already had so many reasons to admire this great man. So happy you made the always right choice of seeing John Lewis. The many people who admire you now have another reason to appreciate this true American hero.

  3. Ellie lupo says:

    Fate? The right decision was made that is for sure. How lucky you were not on that plane and how wonderful you had dinner and time with this remarkable man

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