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Publisher's Letter

Publisher's Letter: Of Doctors and Golf Widows

This month’s annual “Top Docs” issue is bigger and more complete than ever. In the past, we published a select list from among the Top Docs chosen by Castle Connolly, who performs this service for publications all over the country. This year we ordered the complete list of doctors selected in Broward and South Palm Beach counties. More than 500 physicians in a variety of specialties, beginning on page 56.

And there sure are a lot of specialties, even specialties within specialties. We have noticed over the years that some of our wealthier friends don’t really seem to have jobs. But they always seem busy, volunteering with various groups and, of course, seeing their share of medical specialists. We joke that some people seem to have a dentist for every tooth.

The feature is accompanied by two interesting stories on cutting edge developments in medical science. Those new approaches will likely add more specialties to our annual list.

Our covers in recent years have been largely devoted to young women whose specialty is looking their prettiest in trendy clothes. In its early days, the magazine often had celebrity covers. Jackie Gleason, Chris Evert (several times), Burt Reynolds, President Kennedy,  George Burns, Tennessee Williams and Evel Knievel all were featured.

One of our favorites from that era was not exactly a celebrity, although she was married to one. Marilyn Gleason, wife of “The Great One.” She died in her 90s earlier this month. Our partner, Gaeton Fonzi, had met Marilyn Gleason and arranged through her for an interview with Jackie. The subject was his interest in the occult, including UFOs.

We had had a pleasant interview with Gleason several years earlier when he launched the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Golf Tournament, which evolved into The Honda Classic. We decided to accompany Fonzi on the interview, interested in seeing how Gleason would react to Gaeton’s balking, mumbling style. We arrived at the big Inverrary home early in the morning, as scheduled. Minutes later Jackie appeared, headed out to play golf.

Gold Coast cover image

“Boys,” he said, “I never said I’d do this. And I’m going out to play golf. I’m gonna take these guys for every cent they have.” And with that, he walked out the door. His wife was embarrassed because she had definitely set up the interview.

“That’s what it’s like being married to Jackie Gleason,” she said. Gaeton, thinking fast, said, “How about if we do a story about what it’s like to be married to Jackie Gleason?” She thought for a full 10 seconds, then said “OK.” It turned out to be a great interview.

She explained that although they had been recently married, she knew him years before, and her life really hadn’t changed much. She was content to be just an ordinary person married to a genius. She was insightful and articulate in a modest way. It made a memorable February  1976 cover story.  The cover: Marilyn Gleason holding a photo of Jackie. She remained happily married to him for the rest of his life.