- From Wikipedia:
"When she was young, she enjoyed playing baseball with other children on the street. On the TV program This Is Your Life, she stated that she liked pitching. In the early 1970s, she became the pitcher on the Carpenters' official softball team."
- Karen always pinged for me. I've always felt she was a repressed lesbian.
- Lots of people were -- even me!
I hope she had at least one lesbian experience.
- I think not. She had the voice of an angel.
- No, but some of her behavior suggests that she was either molested by a family member (ahem) or had some sort of complicated, weird relationship with a family member.
The way Richard talks about her is creepy and often just.....weird.
- She probably was deeply closeted.
- r4, yeah because demonic homos can't sing well right?
- Long ago and oh so far away,
I fell in love with you before the second show.
- She may have been lesbian, but she definitely was abused.
I think Richard may have been the abuser which is ironic because I think he's closeted/gay.
- OP, I'm a straight woman who liked to play drums in high school. And I'm a baseball fan, & I'd rather wear jeans than skirts.
I don't know whether she was or wasn't, but these things aren't some kind of sign.
- Meg White. White Stripes drummer married to Jack White. Stop with you generalizations. Please.
- I've never met an anorexic lesbian.
- And before anyone jumps on me, I mean that in a good way. Most lesbians are less body-conscious in the way straight men are. Eating disorders seem to be a straight women/gay man thing.
- Karen and Olivia Newton John were best friends rumored to be lovers. i believe Karen was gay and had serious issues. My sister in law worked at the Forest Lawn in Cypress where kAREN is in the crypt and said the mom was so cold and controlling, the dad very passive and Richard, she said was so so nice
- r14 -- Richard moved mom dad and karen to a new outside mausoleum near his new house far north of Downey and Cypress.
Gary Cooper's widow did the same thing when she remarried and moved to LI -- she decided to take Gary with her.
- r15 THIS was 20 years ago i SHOULD have clarified
- She played the drums=lesbo
- Karen is now laid to rest in Westlake Village, CA.
- Anorexia happens in women to stop their bodies from going through puberty and thus becoming sexualized. Anorexia eliminates breasts and hips.
She didn't want to be sexual or have her body seen as a sexual object.
I think this applied to women and men.
Like all anorexics...she didn't want to be sexual. Straight, bi or gay.
- "Karen and Olivia Newton John were best friends rumored to be lovers."
YES! I don't thing so, but it would have been so nice for her...
- She may have been gay, the drums and softball thing ARE smoke, where there may be fire (although there are exceptions of course).
However, I think the cold controlling mother is the main culprit for the anorexia, not sexuality.
[quote]The families of anorexic patients are often characterized by extremely controlling parents
- I read the recent biography of Karen, which, by the way, is an excellent book. She wasn't a lesbian. She was married for a time, but the guy married her for her money. If anyone was gay in that family, it was probably Richard.
- good grief, maybe she just had body issues brought on by low self esteem or possibly abuse. Not every serious problem a person deals with is a result of being closeted.
- Is there any other proof that she wasn't a lesbian, aside from having a guy marry her for her money?
- Doubtful, pussy has a lot of calories, that's why all lesbians are fat.
- no, more calories in sperm
- Look, OP asked a fair question.
If we found out some famous guy liked to figure skate and sew dresses when he was young, and had failed in his relationships with women, you know darn well we'd be speculating.
- She really didn't understand men, other than Richard who was worshiped by the family, and her Dad, who was ignored. When she tried to live with a guy (before marrying the man who looked a bit too much like Richard) she was home in a few days, back with her Disney toys and her TV.
She was puerile, not gay...
- I've known several straight girls who like to play drums, just for the record...
- Gay men abhor lesbians!!!
- She struck me as just kind of a woman-child (I'm not blaming her or anybody, for the record, though I'm sure there was some family dysfunction) who may have happened to be what a lot of people think of as a tomboy.
- [quote]She wasn't a lesbian. She was married for a time,
- r32, hello! - Cynthia Nixon
- R22 - I read the same book. Her husband was a piece of slime.
Karen's mother was a controling, manipulative bitch.
- It's amazing how the Carpenters were able to deep six the husband and his true character for so many years after the divorce. The Coleman book talked mostly about a powerful man's disgust at finding out how Karen really was, and the 1989 movie also characterized him as successful in business.
- If there was a lesbian inside dying to get out it must have been one teeny, tiny, uber skinny lesbian
- Superstar : The Karen Carpenter Story
- Love the double standard and these stupidisms from the datalounge.
No one said her anorexia was because of being a lesbian, nitwits. Karen was fucked-up and wanted to/was partially forced to remain a child. I think she probably never discovered her sexuality and just went around having "crushes" on women the way school girls do.
"She wasn't a lesbian. She was married for a time, but the guy married her for her money. If anyone was gay in that family, it was probably Richard."
1. Karen's husband was GAY. 2. More than one family member can be gay like Rosie O'Donnell & Brother, Roseanne Barr's brother & sister.
- is that true, her husband was gay?
- I'm not sure that has been established, r39 -- all we know for sure is that his business holdings were all a fraud.
- "She was puerile, not gay"
But isn't that a common first step to coming out: trying to delay adolescence, the inevitable? Remember Rosie and her toy figurines and crush on the unattainable (and safely married) (and gay himself) Tammy Cruise?
But she delayed too long, times being what they were. Then it was too late, baby.
- He certainly LOOKED gay.
- I know that the freakish Richard married their first cousin and Karen was not happy about that at all, she was embarrassed that he would do such a redneck thing. I also read something online a few years ago from someone who went to their college or high school in Downey and had the same music teacher as they had. He said that there was a lot of weird shit going on in that family and that it wasn't what you would think, he also said Karen was dead now and we should let her secrets die with her.
- Op, you need to reaserch your stereotype of lesbians and drums. There are lots of straight studio and touring female drummers. Jesus, op.
- Like Gina Schock.
Besides, as stereotypes go, the lesbian drummer is a pretty cool one. Always thought Gina, for one, was sexy as hell.
- Listening to her speaking voice it is clear she pinged. She had dykevoice for days...
- No, not a lesbian. While, ON-J and Carpenter were best friends, Olivia has said less than charitable things about Richard Carpenter.
She said, Karen was always trying to get the two of them together and she wasn't fond of Richard at all. Olivia seemed to dislike Richard's control of Karen.
When Karen did the solo album that wasn't released till long after she died, Richard said, Karen "stole" the Carpenters's sound. ON-J said, "What do you mean 'stole,' she 'is' the sound."
Karen had a lot of issues and the family is still in denial. Karen actually used thyroid pills to increase her metabolism and heart rate to lose weight. Doctors who treat anorexia, say they've never heard of anyone else doing this.
I can't see her as a lesbian, when ON-J talks of her it's definitely as if they were two sisters.
- Really, R47?
I heard it was commonplace for people to take thyroid meds--maybe this has been proven ineffective so they no longer do it.
Poor Karen used Ipecac (sp) syrup. She also used laxatives. You know, none of us looked good in those dorky seventies clothes--they were like ill-fitting clown costumes. I'm so sorry she took a callous insult so hard.
- If one is vomiting daily and using laxatives constantly than perhaps sexuality was not a consideration for her.
That's another denial. Richard and Karen's family insist she never threw up. They claimed it would damage her voice.
The problem with the theory is too many others said she did do it, also Karen's voice WAS effected.
The problem is Karen's voice was so freakishly good, that it's hard for the average person to hear the decline, coupled with aging, and the fact she had little real voice training, the quality of voices go down over the years.
But Karen always seemed to have issues with self esteem and one thing for sure is her brother always wanted to be the famous one. But on the other hand, without Richard, Karen wouldn't have had much drive on her own and probably never would have been a star.
- I can tell that Karen was a vomiter by looking at her mouth.
- "No, not a lesbian."
Can you PROVE that,r47? No.
- Thank you Jodie aka r45, for that input.
- Tipper Gore also played drums in college.
Someone on another thread (sorry, can't remember which) said that a female friend interviewed for a position as Karen Carpenter's assistant back in the day. It was made clear that the position would involve being KC's romantic "companion." I don't know if the friend read too much into it or misunderstood the job requirements.
- Anorexia = Straight.
Lesbians are FAT..
- Anorexia affects straight women and gay men.
Straight men and lesbians never seem to get it.
- Hey R55, Portia DiRossi is on line 3 for you. She has very important info re: lesbians for you.
- [quote]ACTRESS Portia DeGeneres says the shame of being a lesbian drove her to anorexia, with her weight plummeting to 40kg.
- Portia DiRossi is a hollywood actress.
They all starve themselves for roles.
- She's THIN!
- [quote]Anorexia = Straight. Lesbians are FAT..
As someone who's worked at an eating disorder clinic, I can tell you that no--that's not a stereotype upon which you should rely. At all.
- Anorexia = Straight. Lesbians are FAT..
That is utter BS!! Most lesbians are into fitness etc. You just hate dykes
- r47, you didn't expect closet case Olivia to admit anything did you?
- [quote]I mean, I never met a straight girl who wanted to play the drums, but my butch ex-gf played the drums in her high school band.
A sign that you're lesbian - you play the drums - wow, I've learnt something today.
- r58, Portia is so full of it when she said she was terrified to date Ellen because she never did date someone famous or in the biz, she had a real hot and heavy fling with Ringo Starr's step daughter a pretty femme
- My god, you're a big lez... That explains the keys and the chunky shoes.
- Richard was controlling because deep down he knew that she had star quality. Richard is a talented musician, but Karen could command an interview and audience. She really wanted to branch out into movies and broadway, but always looked to Richard for approval.
That being said, he was incredibly hot in the early seventies.
- Richard had a fit when he found out the blonde guy from Doogie Howser chosen to play him turned out to be gay.
- "That being said, he was incredibly hot in the early seventies."
No, always way too WASP-y.
Complete with the flaring nostrils.
- Cause Ringo's step daughter and Ellen's fame is comparable r65?
- Karen was originally slated to be the drummer on Olivia Newton-John's Physical Tour in 1982, but ONJ's manager and the Carpenters' management nixed the idea.
- Fun fact: When Karen Carpenter was doing her solo album, she was offered "Rock With You" but turned it down for whatever reasons. The song went to Michael Jackson. True story.
- Former anorexic lesbian here. Anorexia is not just for straight women and gay men.
- r73, thank God you are okay
- I recently read a couple books and several forums about Karen. I don't think she was a lesbian. However, she seemed extremely childish (much like Taylor Swift) not really understanding what love was or how to love based on her extremely critical and cold mother and aloof father. She evidently never wanted to be in front on the stage, but wanted the security of singing behind her drum set, where it was safe and she was free from judgment. She was the 'pudgy' little sister of Richard, who, in the eyes of his mother, was the only talented one in the family. Karen never got the approval from her mother that she wanted, was supposed to be a perfect singer in the ears of her brother, and was thrust out on the front of the stage--no choice or control--she wanted to be a drummer.
I think her anorexia stemmed from having zero control over her life, her immaturity, her emotionally abusive mother and brother, and having every man she liked scrutinized by Richard, and Richard showing his jealousy. The ONLY thing she could control was what she put in her mouth.
The psychologist that treated her disorder did her no favors, either.
She abused laxatives, prescription drugs, and used Ipecac (!) as her weight-control devices.
Her demise was devastatingly horrendous and sad.
- Now, Taylor Swift? I thinks she IS a lesbian, has a mental illness, and is extremely immature.
That's not correct, you have it confused. In reality, Lucille Ball was supposed to be the drummer but Gary Morton talked her out of it.
- R75 nailed it.Anorexia is ultimately all about trying to have some control over your world, which is why a common factor amongst anorexics is that one or both parents is highly controlling. Karen's story is very sad, and it's one that is continuing to play out amongst many unknowns to this day.
- I was just ruminating about KC the other day. Truly a lovely voice. It was traumatic for me when she died, as I was 10 and grew up listening to her songs.
I felt like her family favored Richard and the discovery of her talent was a fluke. And the family still thought of him as the star even though everybody else did not.
They seemed to have overlooked her gifts and didn't think much of her. But she was a gem.
- Karen was money obsessed. Richard wanted to make rich recordings like "I Get Along Without You Very Well," (done with real style later by Carly Simon), Karen only wanted to do pop crap.
I saw her on Merv once and she sang high and Merv was all like, "You are wonderful, who knew you could hit such high notes, why don't you do that more often."
Karen said, "The money's in the basement."
Hey FUCK YOU, the woman had cancer.
- I'm always torn about her. I read 'Little Girl Blue" and in some instances her maid/assistant Evelyn talked about how sweet and vulnerable she was and then the next sentence would be how Evelyn warned a new employee not to piss off Karen, she's the one you don't want to cross. Did anyone else here read it and get that vibe? I know Karen broke up some Richard relationships too so I don't know what to think of her. I do think Richard is a creepy cousin fucker though.
- That's typical behavior of anorexics. They don't know anything about middle ground. It's all or nothing. So you can see how Karen would be weak willed and wishy-washy and then when she had to put her foot down, she didn't know how to do it right, so she'd go way overboard the other way.
- Oh I didn't know that r83. Thanks.
- gay but never able to realize it fully. We have a DL poster who swears his hgh school teacher claimed to be her ex-gfriend.
- R85 WINS!!!
- Is Karen and Richard's mother still alive?
- No r88 --
Findagrave hasn't seemed to update the page to reflect that Richard moved the whole family to a cemetery near his new house in the northern part of LA County.
- [quote]I know that the freakish Richard married their first cousin and Karen was not happy about that at all, she was embarrassed that he would do such a redneck thing.
THAT was the spinning I heard at Forest Lawn in 1984.
- [quote] Richard married their first cousin
I thought that was illegal in the US...
- Here is her new grave in a standalone mausoleum that also includes Mom and Dad
- Marrying a first cousin, isn't biologically unacceptable. First cousins are far enough removed that they have no more chance of genetic illness than two totally unrelated people.
- It's still pretty fucking creepy, r94. The mere thought of doing it with any of my first cousins is just so gross.
- [quote]I thought that was illegal in the US...
In the USA marriage is governed by individual states not federal law
See link for which states allow or disallow it.
- Very few.
- R94 - Children of marriages between first cousins have a somewhat increased risk of genetic abnormalities.
- indeed they do. I think Richard did it hoping to 'clone' another Karen.
And he certainly tried, making his daughter sing her songs with him...
- If only she had eaten pussy.
- I don't think she was gay but there are tons of red flags she was abused as a child.
- r99 No more than any other non related people.
- Look at the cover of the lp Horizon. That is totally creepy.
- What's creepy about it?
- r104? It just looks "moody" to me, like they were trying to get away from their earlier cheery pop reputation.
- It is creepy. It looks like Karen is all submissive to Richard sexual domination. Yech.
- R12, R13, I have a lesbian girlfriend who became anorexic, post an extremely traumatic molestation, as an attempt to stop her body from developing womanly characteritics. She believed that might stop the sexual abuse.
- R55, R56, My lesbian friend is busty but only 100 lbs. Be careful with stereotypes.
- grow up
- R112, Are you really an adult?
- Oh, dear. Richard is so creepy and such a terrible singer. And so very, very gay.
- Even Richard's lisp has a lisp. See for yourself at the chorus.
- Never understood the worship of her or the group. Mediocre, mindless pap and I suspect gays love her because she's a victim. Bland music and dreary arrangements do not an artist make.
Oh yes. Right-wing folks who get a pass because, hey, she was a victim. Right.
- She did play drums...kind of dykey.
- He looks skeletal in that clip, r115.
And they were not rightwing, Ranger, lame photo of them with Nixon notwithstanding.
- R117--her story, yes, but also that very distinctive, rich, haunting voice. And occasionally she had better songs than the "pap" you dismiss. (Yes, some of their stuff was pap.)
- God, she was overrated. If she hadn't died so young and dramatically, she would never be worshiped so.
- R121 nailed it.
- "Karen & Richard had Republican ties..."
http://books.google.com/books?id=mPYs48jwSxIC&pg=PA235&lpg=PA235&dq=karen carpenter republican&source=bl&ots=FL5fFXnAHW&sig=DD7rn9cYJdN2mSgAFDmH7QfZ6SM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=iFOFUfHoH6iQiQKloYDACA&ved=0CFQQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=karen carpenter republican&f=false
- "Who cares" should not be a poll choice. Homophobes say "who cares" because they don't want to know or discuss such a vile thing.
- ...you left out this part, r123 (and DUH, their creepy parents were no doubt republican) -- NEITHER WAS KNOWN TO BE POLITICAL.
But nice try, Ranger
- Nice try for what, R125??? I quoted a sentence and linked the source. That is ALL I DID.
Here's a little friendly advice for you: Lose the "Ranger" crap. It's lame and it makes you appear witless.
- Never gave this any thought but it would explain a lot. The melancholic undertone in her songs. Her brother pings as well to say the least.
- You quoted PART of the sentence and left out the other part that explained they were not political.
- Debatable, R124. Highly debatable.
- I remember when she was at her most popular , a critic stated that listening to her singing was like watching Pat Nixon eat an ice cream cone with a spoon....always thought that was spot on ...
- I couldn't vote because you didn't have the choice: "it never crossed my mind before, but now that you mention it, maybe she was..."
- She was. I think it's so obvious.
- I think it's more obvious that she was developmentally delayed.
- There's nothing to own, R128. I have no investment in their political affiliation or activities and I provided a link for the full context of the quote.
In better news, here's an 18 yo Karen dykin' it up on the drums, while "Dick" plays the electric piano with a headful of Mop & Glo hair.
- Did this site ever get linked to in this thread?
The comments are quite interesting, especially Seargant Major's:
"No,they were in no way gay! Richard has been married to the same woman now for nearly three decades and has sired several children and only dated women. Karen only had men in her romantic life and was wed also, albeit briefly, so if they were gay, they sure had a funny way of showing it. Also,I shake my head at some of the people who believe a person could be unaware they are gay? That is about as mentally retarded as saying that a person is unaware of their eye or skin colour!What gender that turns you on is just as patently obivous unless you are comatose. Let's remember the Carpenters for their wonderful music and stop all this foolish, baseless intrigue,conjecture, and innuendo about them!"
- The only way she would've eaten pussy is if it were fat free.
- that comment is the LEAST interesting of the comments at that link. Are you nuts?
- Did anyone already say that she wouldn't eat pussy?
- Yes, R139, I am nuts for thinking that a non-gay person's inability to understand a gay person's confusion about their sexuality is interesting. Quite nuts.
- her titties were like butternut squash
- yes, you are.
- R137 What is funny about that comment you are quoting is that Richard Carpenter married his biological first cousin and had five children with her. That is not normal at all.
- Karen Carpenter's autopsy report:
- "Mutiple needle marks in the groin?" "Fresh needle marks are seen in both wrists and on the back of the right hand?" What was THAT all about? Was she a drug addict in addition to being anorexic? Did she inject herself with speed or something?
As for her being a lesbian...I really don't think she was. She was just unlucky in love (with guys) for a lot of reasons. And all this talk about her being lesbian lovers with Olivia Newton John is just ridiculous. It makes a good juicy rumor, though.
- I think the multiple needle marks in the groin and the ones on her wrists and hand were from paramedics and ER doctors working to revive her.
I truly believe she was a lesbian who never realized she was a lesbian.
- I agree. I think she was too but didnt fully realize it or act on it.
- Yeah r146, like the guys she liked were gay. I mean the guy, there was only one.
- Did anyone read that recent biography? Does it speculate on this subject?
- Speaking of recent bios, any suggestions? I would really love to read up again on her.
- (10) I don't understand why straight women are on this board.
Karen sure pinged...but did seem immature, tomboy a little too late in life. I think Richard was the abuser. I knew a gay women who was sexually abused by her gay older brother when they were kids.
Richard is just creepy and the way he spoke abut her at times was doubly creepy.
- But ONJ is a lesbian.
- The Carpenters on The Dating Game...Awkward!
Part 1 of 3.
- Thanks r154
- OMG, r154. That was painful to watch.
She did seem a bit like a lesbian. She reminded my of my 10th grade biology teacher of the same era.
- R151, Little Girl Blue is the most recent bio and it's worth a read. I think there was an authorized bio some time ago, but I haven't read that one.
The BBC documentary is good and it's on youtube in six parts. Here's part one:
- Richard had Gay Lisp.
- I think she was one of those people who wasn't a lesbian, but perhaps should've been for her own good- then she never would've fallen for the guy she ended up marrying, Tom Burris. He turned out to be a gold-digger as well as (it's hinted) abusive. The author doesn't straight-out say it, potentially for legal reasons, in the (VERY well-done) "Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter" by Randy Schmidt, but it's heavily implied. (BTW, Schmidt is an out gay man, and if Karen had been gay, I'm pretty sure he would've said something).
She did date a lot of men casually, and was always looking for her "perfect" "knight in shining armor" who'd "save" her from the lonely life she had, but had only a few serious relationships. The Carpenters' mother was extreeeeemely possessive of her children- when Karen dared suggesting moving out at 24, her mother called her on the phone screaming, "TRAITOR!!" (wtf?!) In addition to the apron strings being more like a noose, Mrs. Carpenter was also very traditional-values, so I can only imagine her reaction when Karen did move in with her then-boyfriend and almost-fiance in 1975, Terry Ellis. Yikes. (The relationship didn't last long after that).
Although Karen struck many of her friends as wise beyond her years in some respects (and her voice conveys that), she also seemed to them sometimes as a tomboyish young girl that was sort of emotionally immature when it came to an idealized version of love (think Disney princess- she was very into Disney). Karen also had very low self-esteem and didn't think she was nearly as pretty as other pop stars (Olivia Newton-John, etc.)
I don't hold any of this against her. I think it's very understandable given her circumstances, and I can relate. I wish she would've stood up for herself more, though, especially when it came to her mother, brother, and record company.
Not that there's anything wrong with being a lesbian, of course (I love Ellen, Rosie, and I'd still love Karen if she was!) but outside of Teh Intertubez' "OMG I heard somebody's teacher's friend say she was a lesbo! PING!!11!!eleven!", I'd rather stick with facts.
- R159, take a pill.
- R159, the first sentence of your post gives you away as a complete crackpot.
- Oh, dear lord! Concert footage of K & R singing songs from Grease. Karen is wearing fake pointy tits.
- both were at the height of their eating disorders... awful.
- At the link, a commenter compares Whitney's early death to Karen's. That both resulted from a deep denial or hatred of who they truly were. I think she's onto something.
- That's someone's blog. And the woman has a point.
- Anyone can see that she was clearly gay. Her voice, her mannerisms, her personality, the unsuccessful attempts to be with men, the deep sadness and uncomfortableness...
Richard also pinged to high heavens too, and had his own battles with pills.
Both were brought up in a repressed, religious household at a time when to be gay was nothing short of evil.
God love them both.
- I'm with the poster who mentioned arrested development. Karen never progressed to a developed sexual identity. The gay/straight/bi question is moot.
- She was horrendously fug. If she'd had some cosmetic orthodonture (sp?) and plastic surgery she may have been presentable. Her concentration on her weight shows how really offbase she was. Hon, it was your FACE, not your bod.
- r168 = Bette Midler
- I agree with R166 and would add something that I read in Little Girl Blue. How she would make lists of qualities that she would want in a man. There was nothing about attraction, emotion, love, etc., just the list of qualities. The way it was presented in the book seemed so unnatural.
Plus there was that whole thing where her friend took her under her wing and tried to make a "lady" out of her, i.e., not to walk like a truck driver. Which in the 70's meant "I don't get that my friend is a repressed lesbian, so I'll try to help her be more feminine."
- She never ate ANYTHING....so I'm guessing she was no lesbian.
- Idiot. There are plenty of lesbians with eating disorders...
- Only eating nut loaf doesn't count as an eating disorder.
- lesbians don't usually seem to mind being fat......
- She and Richard were both plenty fucked up, but I don't think either one of them was gay. In fact, both of them seemed very asexual, very bloodless and repressed. I think their upbringing (domineering, controlling mother, wimpy father) really crippled them emotionally.
- What was up with her and Bette?
No wonder Barry White refused to attend the Grammys ever again after this. They really are the biggest joke of all awards shows, at least the Oscars can somewhat claim to represent the best of the year.
- I just finished reading Karen's biography for the second time. Karen was often called "tomboyish" as a girl but there is no evidence to suggest she was a lesbian. She had a number of boyfriends and wished desperately to get married and have children. (She did get married, but the guy proved to be a gold digger and the marriage was over almost as soon as it started.) Her brother and mother were fanatically controlling. That and the act's exhausting recording and performing schedule pushed Karen over the edge into anorexia.
Do you really think any of what you wrote hasn't been covered on this thread already?
- I suspect they're going to find out that anorexia is a neurological condition similar to OCD or ADHD, and that although stress or traumatic events might serve as triggers they're not the primary cause. My understanding is there are a growing number of men being diagnosed with anorexia, and it tends to affect people who are highly competent, intelligent and ambitious. If you think about it it takes a hell of a lot of self-discipline and ability to plan and follow through in order to maintain yourself just at the edge of starvation without actually starving to death. And like it or not, our culture rewards people for thinness. It's equated with beauty and high social status. I think a lot of women (including lesbians) specifically use their fat as a signal that they've opted out of the success track. Karen may not have chosen stardom, but once she got it she was very much invested in her career and keeping herself skinny was part of that dedication. Her anorexia has almost eclipsed her music as her legacy. And I do think her anorexia is something we admire as much as we're horrified by it.
- I think you're insane, r180, and perhaps anorexic yourself.
No one "admires" Karen Carpenter's anorexia.
- r180 can you explain why someone would admire it?
- gay and sad
- So sad, but not gay!
- sad because she was sad and did not realize she was gay.
- She was not gay! She wanted to be married and have children.
- So did I...
- In the pretty bad TV movie about The Carpenters, it's suggested that Karen developed an eating disorder because a reviewer called her "pudgy" (or something like that) in print. So that MUST be true.
- Guess what, r186. People can be married, have children and be gay!
- She might have been happy; but, she was no lesbian.
- She looks so different in this show from 1969 when she was almost 19 years old.
- Evidence, r190?
- You for starters, r192.
Quite a few confused closeted lesbians married gay men in the 1970s.
- That was the point, r193.
- She looks almost exactly like my first gf in high school (1975) in that clip, R191. She too went on to marry, three different men over time.
And she too "missed her calling."
- I've always thought Karen was a lesbian and was in denial about it. That may have been a root cause of her anorexia, as well as her fucked-up family dynamic. Karen's mother Agnes was an ice-cold bitch who always favored Richard, and made no secret about it, and endlessly criticized Karen for the slightest things. Karen had a lot of psychological damage from her mother.
- OMG ALL the females in the world are lesbian it doesn't matter who they are. It's very true and I don't have to prove a word of it, just like you all have FAILED.
Here's some jucie news for you, get a life.
- whoah. why so invested in karen carpenter being straight, r197?
- R197 = one of those gays that insists that every hot male actor is a homo
- Oh for God's sake, Karen Carpenter was NOT gay!
She and her brother were both conservative Republicans who embraced "family values"; marriage and children and all that boring stuff.
She was unlucky in love, though. The guy ended up marrying was awful. She was rich and famous; couldn't she have found a better person to marry than him? This is from the biography "Little Girl Blue":
Thirty-nine-year-old Tom Burris met a number of Karen's requirements in a potential husband. "He was very attractive, very nice, and he seemed very generous," said Carole Curb. Two months into their relationship, Burris told Karen he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. The couple's plan for a year-long engagement was ditched when they announced in July their plans for an August ceremony. The push to be married alarmed Karen's friends. According to Karen 'Itchie' Ramone, Karen's friend and the wife of producer Phil Ramone, "That's when everybody's antennas went up." Days before the wedding rehearsal Burris dropped a bombshell: he had undergone a vasectomy prior to their meeting. Karen was dumbfounded. He offered to reverse the procedure but their chances at a family would be significantly lessened.
Karen felt betrayed. Burris had lied to her; he had withheld this information for the duration of their courtship and engagement, knowing full well that starting a family was at the top of Karen's list of priorities. This was a deal breaker. The wedding was off. Karen picked up the phone and called her mother. She cried to Agnes as she explained the deceit that left her with no choice but to cancel the ceremony. But Agnes told her she would do no such thing. Family and friends were travelling from all over the country to attend the event. Moreover, the wedding expenses had already cost what Agnes considered to be a small fortune. "The invitations have gone out. There are reporters and photographers coming. People magazine is going to be there. The wedding is on, and you will walk down that aisle. You made your bed, Karen," she told her. "Now you'll have to lay in it."
Most of Karen's family and friends had assumed Burris's lifestyle and net worth were comparable to her own. The expensive cars and other possessions gave him the appearance of a multimillionaire, but what others did not realise was that he was living well beyond his means.
"It wasn't long after they got married that he started asking her for money," recalls Evelyn Wallace. "He'd give her some excuse, and she'd give him the money. He'd ask for $35,000 and $50,000 at a time. Finally it got down to the point where all she had left was stocks and bonds."
As Itchie Ramone recalls, "Tom couldn't afford the houses, the cars, her wedding ring; he couldn't pay for anything." Karen began to share with friends her growing misgivings about Tom, not only concerning his finances but also his lack of feelings for her. He was often impatient, and she admitted being fearful when he would occasionally lose his temper. "He could be very cruel to her," says Itchie. But Karen's longing to be a mother proved to be stronger than her desire to leave her husband. At their house in Newport Beach Karen expressed to Burris her desire to get pregnant and start a family. His response was brutal. She was still crying hysterically when she called Itchie Ramone for support. Burris had told her he wouldn't even consider having children with her and called her "a bag of bones". According to Itchie, this marriage was "the straw that broke the camel's back. It was absolutely the worst thing that could have ever happened to her."
- God, what a sad story r200. Karen really had a miserable life. And it's not like she ever could have had a child anyway, since the anorexia had fucked up her body so much.
- She must have been a big bottom since she refused to eat anything.
- no she wasn't but Richard was. Nicest people. Dressed odd. Richard wore the fluffiest pink angoras. Honest. Always carried a tennis racket. The whole little family, except Quincy, at A&M were sweethearts.
- R203 what do you mean about Richard? He was closeted?
- R200, are you not aware that conservative Republicans who embrace 'family values' can be gay?
- Yes, just acted that way. Expensive clothing, not always in my taste for Richard, but I sensed he was trying to copy Herb Alpert who always wore the most beautifully tailored and obviously expensive casual slacks, no socks, sweater tied around shoulders. Then Richard started copying him though more pink and fluffier, but cloning definitely. The ONJ and Karen was one way, Not Karen's idea at all.
Met Carpenters all the time casually. There was a veranda outside at Charlie Chaplin studio, now A&M records where we always talked together. She was just insecure. High school. Told she was ugly often, homely, horse faced. Never, ever recovered. Validated a little and perked up after first fame think she could get all the flaws she hated fixed with better clothes picked by Richard. Didn't help. Seriously depressed forever and anorexia was to make herself uglier and validate others' opinion. Professionals, I mean serious singers and musicians said she had once in a lifetime voice--control, ease, pitch, warmth, etc. I wasn't interested in what they did (kinda square, and boy did general opinion rankle them. They would have given up every dollar just for a 'hip' hit. Really killed Richard's interest in performing/writing,
They were always looking how to dress, behave,act--hicks and insecure. Olivia hanging around with her is a press agent's invention. Olivia wouldn't be caught within a mile.
As for the politics. Whatever. Let me tell you, Downey in the 60s and 70s was like living in Kentucky. They had no political consciousness whatsoever. I'd discount all the drug talk and argue that all that was at the very end when it was too late. She didn't know her anorexia was killing her. She had a sweet, concerned and very worried but when does that ever help. So painfully shy and pathologically so isolated her. If she could have had one friend she;d be alive today. Richard was very sweet to her but like many of that era thought he could just wear her down talking to make her better.
- "are you not aware that conservative Republicans who embrace 'family values' can be gay?"
I'm aware. But Karen and Richard Carpenter were conservatives who were NOT gay. There's not a shred of evidence to support the assumption that they were. I guess some people think it would be so delicious if the squeaky-clean Carpenters were closet homos. But they weren't. He was a drug addict. She was anorexic. That was what they tried to keep hidden, not homosexuality.
- So is this one a big ole lezbo?
- Yes indeed.
- r203, looking back don't you think it was very likely Richard was/is a closet-case?
- Pussy was the only thing Karen ever ate.
- Unless you can produce someone who knew her and can testify "Karen said to me 'I'm not a lesbian!'", then she is.
- "Unless you can produce someone who knew her and can testify "Karen said to me 'I'm not a lesbian!'", then she is."
If you consider someone gay because no one ever heard them "I'm not gay!" then you must think EVERYBODY is gay.
And by the way, a lot of gays say exactly that: "I'm not gay!"
I think all this insistence that Karen was gay has her spinning in her grave.
- You protest too much, granny R213. Are you aware that this is a gay gossip forum?
- "Are you aware that this is a gay gossip forum?"
Yep. I'm also aware there are a lot of idiots on it who think everybody is gay.
- r203 come back!
- she had the most beautiful contralo voice.
- contralto, not contralo.
- KC didn't die of anorexia, her heart gave out from the toxic meds she was ingesting in large doses over the years. She had gotten over the eating disorder and had put weight on. She literally died of a broken heart, so sad.
- R206, it sounds like you might have some interesting ON-J gossip. Please spill it!
- Richard Carpenter's wife, the former Mary Rudolph, is indeed his first cousin, but is genetically unrelated to him as she was adopted by her parents as an infant.
One unfortunate contributing factor to Karen's anorexia was the fact that she inherited a pear-shaped physique, with hips that stayed wide no matter how thin she got. She could hide them while performing behind a drum set, but when forced out front to be a vocalist, no.
Too bad a good costume designer couldn't have helped make her more flattering stage wear. Also a tragedy that she could never, ever get her mother's love and approval. When Karen tried to call off her disastrous wedding after the invitations had been mailed (future groom Tom Burris had finally revealed his vasectomy), Agnes Carpenter said, "You've made your bed, Karen, now you have to lie in it." Nice. (Not.)
- I enjoyed all the things that Karen enjoyed. Playing drums, playing softball etc. I was a true tom boy but I was very attracted to men. Your activities do not define you. I am also a physical education teacher. Not even close to the closet. I enjoyed many friends that were lesbian but had no interest in an intimate relationship.
- Karen was not a rug muncher and Richard was not gay.
ONJ has said many times how Karen was always pushing and pushing her to date her brother. So from that angle, even Karen didn't think her brother was gay.
ONJ was best friends with Karen but did not like Richard, who she felt was pushing Karen in musical directions Karen didn't want to go.
Richard, at least to his credit admitted this. He said, had he known that Karen would die so young, he would've stopped trying to make everything so commercial.
- Karen Carpenter, in my opinion, probably wanted to be left alone. It is very sad that she never got her mother's love or her approval. It must have fucked her up very bad. I also believe that she was molested as a child.
- Nah, pussy is too fattening. I'm watching my figure.