A new Aretha bio by Ritz

David Ritz’s new biography of Aretha Franklin, “Respect,” is causing a stir. The veteran writer (he’s penned bios of Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson and Etta James) collaborated with the Queen of Soul on her 1999 autobiography, “From These Roots,” a book he felt only told half the story, and so we have “Respect.” Despite what you read in Janet Maslin’s New York Times account, Ritz told The Detroit News that his book was not done with Franklin’s approval. Among other things, he goes into great detail on Franklin family dynamics, and depicts the sexual shenanigans that went on in the gospel world of the ’50s. He draws on interviews he did years ago, including with Franklin’s late sisters Erma and Carolyn, her late brother Cecil, and longtime booking agent Ruth Bowen.

The Queen of Soul has been on a media blitz for her “Sings the Great Diva Classics” album, which had drawn strong reviews and debuted on Billboard at No. 13, just missing the Top 10, but her best chart showing since the 1980s and “Who’s Zoomin’ Who.”

Kid Rock crashes party? Naaah....

Fresh from his unscheduled appearance singing with “Diana Ross” (played by Allison Semmes) at “Motown: the Musical” last week, Kid Rocksurprised an Ohio man at his 30th birthday party last week at the Clarkston Union. Dan McGurk, who has Down’s syndrome, is a big fan of Rock’s and made a series of Youtube videos inviting the rocker to his birthday bash. When the flannel-clad singer walked into the restaurant and sat down, McGurk gushed, “I’m your No. 1 fan.” “I saw that on the videos you made,” Rock said, before pulling out a box of presents that included a signed guitar. We hear he even invited the Ohioan to his Halloween party.

Fonzie does Detroit

Actor Henry Winkler, aka “The Fonz” on TV’s 1970s “Happy Days” series, is known as one of the nicer guys in Tinsel Town, as locals found out last week. He was in town to shoot a commercial for One Reverse Mortgage, and employees gushed “what a great guy!” on the company’s Facebook page. After the shoot, Winkler popped into the Birmingham restaurant Bella Piatti to pick up his own carry out (calamari and the tagliatelle bolognese) to take back to the Townsend Hotel. Bella Piatti owners Liz and Nino Cutraro were touched to get a call later from Fonz, telling them how delicious it was.

A heart-filled fashion lunch for Beaumont’s Women’s Heart Center

Last Wednesday the rotunda on the south side of Somerset Collection in Troy was converted into a chic bistro as some 300 women in ladies-who-lunch attire noshed on chicken salad at Saks Fifth Avenue’s “Heart to Heart” benefit for the Ministrelli Women’s Heart Center at Beaumont Health System.

“This is so touching to me — to see this kind of support for a cause that is so important to us all,” said Florine Ministrelli. Florine and husband J. Peter Ministrelli donated more than $50 million to establish the heart center that focuses on the unique medical issues female heart patients face. The event also included a personal appearance by acclaimed designer Pamella Roland along with a first-rate runway fashion show inside Saks.

Read or Share this story: