Many patrons of the arts are hailed for their financial support and endorsement of their favorite protégés and projects. However, there are many who simply love to help talent. They are the unsung heroes who make it possible for many to get where they were destined to be as rising stars.
Those rising stars would be hoping to reach their goal, needing love and support. Alicia offered that with a smile that would melt your heart, offering a place to call home. She gave the safe haven needed until you were refreshed and on your way. She had the gift of hospitality, always giving the genuine love of a mother, full of wisdom. Often she wore the hat of manager or agent if need be. She knew real talent when she saw it. Alicia Georgiade was an unsung hero who should be revered and remembered for her unselfish acts of kindness. This dearly loved lady was remarkable during the hundred and one years of her amazing life.
She wanted to be a singing starlet herself for a brief time, or maybe even a model. She definitely had what it takes. However, the industry was too unpredictable, so she quit the business and became a nurse practitioner. She landed a private position with music mogul Andy Razzoff. He cowrote hits with Fats Wähler. Andy Razoff was popular in his own right for his piano versatility, and became even more famous when the song “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and many others were written. Andy did a lot of collaborating back then.
His greatest achievement was reached when he wed Alicia. She took good care of him, and he made sure she was well off for it. When he became an invalid, it didn’t slow them down too much because Alicia was there for him. Socially, Alicia was a gorgeous presence in all the old Hollywood social night spots and dinner parties she attended. She lived the life of a starlet without the pressure of keeping up appearances and dating around. I bet when Alicia arrived at events there was almost a hush when she entered a room. Stunning, funny, friendly – she had all the qualities any young woman would like to be admired for. She loved being married to Andy, and as his health failed she handled all business matters and hired the right lawyers to handle his record company and publishing. She managed all the logistics needed to keep his career going strong, as well as their private life.
I was about to make a very serious decision and pursue a new chapter of my life. I had to see what L.A. would have to offer, like so many hopefuls do. I was working in Las Vegas and hanging out after gigs with Tina Turner, who had just made a brave career choice at the time. We had a lot of fun on the dance floor! She was and still is a superstar for all time. I admired her so much! Tina was such an iconic presence. I was blown away when she offered me her support until I knew what I wanted to do. No strings attached. Eventually, I told her I knew it was time to leave the Peaches & Herb duet. After all, she had successfully left Ike Turner and was an even brighter rising star ever since (Herb and I were never more than singing partners).
I was also connecting in Vegas with The Boss Ms. Ross, who also offered to do whatever she could do to help. I was honored and thrilled, but didn’t want to jump right into anything yet and couldn’t decide right away what I was going to do. Moving from D.C. to L.A. was a big step and a lifelong dream. It became a goal which would take me on the biggest adventure of my life.
Then one night, Alicia arrived after my last performance, sitting there waiting for her husband Nick Georgiade, whom she married years after Andy died. Nick was an actor who played on a nighttime series called “The Untouchables”. He knew all the Hollywood A–list actors and comedians who lived back in the heyday of Old Hollywood legends in Las Vegas and those who flew into town from the East Coast for fun and gambling. Alicia made her way to my table, where I was waiting for Tina’s entourage to show up. Alicia arrived, introduced herself and said she loved the show and that she was also a fan of the braids and beads I wore. We hit it right off.
It was like meeting my fairy godmother. Only this was no fairy tale. She gave me something that was missing in my life. After spending a long time thinking it over, I went home to say goodbye to my family. I had finally made my decision about which way to start over. I knew it was the right move when Alicia offered me a place to live in the very home she had shared with Andy in Hancock Park in L.A.. Since she was now living in Vegas, the L.A. home sat vacant. She told me Billie Holiday once rented a room in the house I was staying in during her heyday. I appreciated the support Tina and Dina Ross offered, but I took Alicia up on her offer and the rest is part of my life story.
She understood me so well. She even told me I made her feel young again, like she hadn’t felt in decades. She called me Peaches or Puddin’. She expected nothing from me in return but to give some of my time. She helped me get on with my life. Our relationship was so strong it was as if she has known me forever. Alicia did not become a legend on the big screen, but to those of us who got to know her we will remember her love of music, entertainment, good times, dancing and talent.
After meeting many producers, managers and agents in Hollywood, that part of my dream was becoming a nightmare. However, Alicia kept rooting for me no matter what. Eventually, I got married and settled down in Altadena, CA. I realized that starting a family was more important than auditions, sessions and the hard work that being seen had become. I know that all these things come along with stardom, but without the right company it is not worth it. A few years later, Alicia arrived at my wedding. She and Nick flew to L.A. and embraced and lavished Stephen and I with presents, a suite at the Fairmont Hotel for our honeymoon and lots more on Valentine’s Day.
Last Monday morning, Alicia arrived at her final residence. Heaven – a place where I imagine she is now surrounded by her favourite elements, welcomed by angelic melodies, musicians, singers, dancers and old acquaintances. She is the guest of honor at the movie premiere of her life story, with all the beloved episodes about to be presented for everyone to see. There is a red carpet entrance and a standing ovation for the this modest, marvelous woman. I’m sure there will be continuous celebration eternally. Her creator wouldn’t have it any other way.