Commemorating the 24th anniversary of the death of Karen Carpenter...
Karen Anne Carpenter
(March 2, 1950 - February 4, 1983)
"And when my life is over,
Remember when we were together -
We were alone and I was singing this song for you."
~ From "A Song For You"
"Iced tea was the hardest drink she consumed, and the only needles she used were for needlepoint. Her weirdest stash was a collection of Mickey Mouse memorabilia. The flagrant comet tail of self-indulgence so familiar in plummeting stars like Elvis Presley and John Belushi did not mark Karen Carpenter's life-or her death of heart failure on February 4 at the age of 32. Yet for all the soothing middle-of-the-road appeal she and her composer-arranger brother, Richard, 37, brought to 41 Carpenters records-which have sold 80 million copies and won three Grammy Awards-she had led a long, lonely struggle against another form of self-destruction, anorexia nervosa.
"She collapsed at about 9 a.m. in the wardrobe closet of the room her parents have always kept for her at the family home is suburban Downey, Ca., about 30 minutes from Los Angeles. Downey firemen entered the closet to find Karen slumped nude of the floor, her nightgown draping her body. She had apparently just begun to dress for the day. at the request of the rescue workers, Karen's grief-stricken mother, Agnes, was escorted from the room by husband Harold.
"The rescuers at first detected a faint pulse in Karen's neck that made them think, says paramedic Bob Gillis, that "she had a good chance to survive." But then she went into cardiac arrest. Racing over from his house a few minutes away, Richard Carpenter arrived just before the paramedics carried his sister out to the ambulance. Despite continuous efforts to resuscitate her, Karen was pronounced dead at Downey Community Hospital at 9:51 a.m."
From PEOPLE WEEKLY
Written by ERIC LEVIN, reported by
SUZANNE ADELSON, GAIL
BUCHALTER and JOSEPH PILCHER
February 21, 1983
"The Carpenters' contribution to popular music will stand forever. Great love songs never go out of style, and Karen and Richard's work surely strikes a chord in all who cherish beautifully honed compositions set amid rich melodies and lush arrangements. And there will always be that stunning voice. Unique and instantly recognizable, the finest female singer in her genre provided the Carpenters with the bedrock of music that will always transcend trends and fads. Its beauty is its simplicity, directness, and melodic power. Richard always made sure that every sonic detail was just to his liking. The combination of Richard's extraordinary abilities to recognize or write a great song, arrange the material, produce the records, and Karen's magical God-given voice, gave the world a sound that will always be remembered."
From: The CARPENTERS, The Untold Story" (c)1994, Ray Coleman
"When she really comes alive is when she sings; she changes completely. Joking or talking one moment, she becomes a different person the very next, as soon as she opens her mouth. Out comes that unique and wonderful voice, exactly as on record, expressing fascinating contrasts: chilling perfection with much warmth; youth with wisdom. Then she seems to be someone who knows something of life. She must be aware of the transformation she brings about, yet when asked to describe what happens at such a moment, all she will guardedly say is, “I don’t know what you mean. I’m not thinking of anything in particular. I’m just… trying to get it right."
From ROLLING STONE
July 4, 1974
By Tom Nolan