Long before she was Cookie Johnson, wife of NBA Hall of Famer Earvin (Magic) Johnson, she was a little girl in Huntsville whose mother called her “Kookie”—for the cool, recurring teen-idol character in the popular 1950s-60s television show “77 Sunset Strip” who was always combing his greased, duck-tailed hair. Her given name was Earleatha (for her father, Earl) Kelly, and she, mom Cora, dad and siblings (older sister Pat and younger brother Harold Earl) lived in a house on Hollow Road, in the northern region of the city.

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