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Was Karen Carpenter's death considered shocking?

Did people realize she had an eating disorder?

Was it even generally known amongst the general public what "anorexia" or "bulimia" were back then?

I see videos of her back then and I'm surprised that people weren't more shocked by her emaciated appearance on TV/interviews/concerts/etc. Yes, I realize people were generally thinner in the '70s, but she was Auschwitz skeletal.

by Anonymousreply 5610/30/2013

Exhibit A of her sickly appearance on TV at URL link below.

by Anonymousreply 110/28/2013

Yes, shocked. Anorexia wasn't really talked about the way it is now. Nowadays, eating disorders are a big topic, even used as a joking term about someone's eating (or not eating) habits.

by Anonymousreply 310/28/2013

[quote]Did people realize she had an eating disorder?

Most people didn't even know what an eating disorder was. Things like that weren't talked about. Karen Carpenter's death changed that.

Yes, it was a shock. She was young and appeared healthy. Thin, but healthy. Her thinness wasn't talked about the way fatness was with someone like Mama Cass. It wasn't notable. Thin is the ideal and the thinking then was "you can never be too rich or too thin". So being very thin was not seen as evidence of a psychological disorder.

by Anonymousreply 410/28/2013

People were shocked, even though many people knew she had had an eating disorder. After her death people became more aware of the long-term consequences of anorexia, such as the coronary issues that killed Carpenter.

by Anonymousreply 510/28/2013

I don't think there was even a name invented for the disease back then.

by Anonymousreply 610/28/2013

People knew she had an eating disorder, but the news media had been reporting that she was gaining weight and on the way to recovery. THAT's why people were so shocked.

Few people knew then that gaining weight after being severely undernourished is hard on the heart -- and that was another thing that shocked people: she died of heart failure, even though she was recovering from the anorexia.

by Anonymousreply 710/28/2013

The Carpenters were no longer the hitmakers they had been by 1983. There was no social media like now, where someone's appearance is instantly broadcast around the world.

I remembered a People magazine article covering her fairytale wedding. Then the announcement of a divorce not long after.

Then she was dead. I heard the news on the radio while driving, and I remember thinking "suicide".

by Anonymousreply 810/28/2013

Yes there was, R6. But rewrite history if that makes you happy.

by Anonymousreply 910/28/2013

R9 must be really old if he lived through it. I will defer to my feminine elder on this one.

by Anonymousreply 1010/28/2013

R6, I first heard the word "anorexia" in 1974, when a friend's girlfriend ended up in the hospital with it while visiting us up at school.

by Anonymousreply 1110/28/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 1210/28/2013

It was shocking since she lived just around the corner from our sandwich shop.

by Anonymousreply 1310/28/2013

If only Mama Cass and Karen Carpenter had shared that sandwich . . .

by Anonymousreply 1510/28/2013

[quote]So Karen's eating disorder was public knowledge before she died?

No, it wasn't.

by Anonymousreply 1610/28/2013

I was 16 when Karen died and the Carpenters had been my childhood favorite band, though I'd moved on to new wave indie rock by that time, as you do. I remember hearing the news listening to the radio in my room. It was a shock to me, but I hadn't followed them for years and didn't know what was going on in her life.

by Anonymousreply 1710/28/2013

Does this shroud make me look fat?

by Anonymousreply 1810/28/2013

Hugely shocking.

by Anonymousreply 1910/28/2013

I'm with R5 and R7. Based on pictures of her, people knew there was an ongoing problem. Her sudden death was a shock.

by Anonymousreply 2010/28/2013

It was public knowledge she wasn't well, but eating disorders were not really discussed in those days and the general public knew little about it.

Her death was a shock and definitely brought eating disorders into public awareness.

by Anonymousreply 2210/28/2013

I was 7 and I remember adults making jokes and references to cat food and then them looking guilty and saying I was too young. Did she eat cat food or something? That's what my little kid mind came up with. You don't wanna know what I thought about guerrilla warfare in Cambodia

by Anonymousreply 2310/28/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 2410/28/2013

I thought it was ironic that she died in her closet. Her mother found her on the floor there.

by Anonymousreply 2510/28/2013

[quote][R9] must be really old if he lived through it.

She died 30 years ago. Is 30 "really old" to you??

by Anonymousreply 2610/28/2013

Anyone who is/was a fan should visit the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Cal State-Long Beach. There's a lot of Carpenter memorabilia (gold records, Karen's drums, etc.) in the lobby.

by Anonymousreply 2710/28/2013

i saw the movie with cynthia gibb!!

by Anonymousreply 2810/29/2013

Wow, to see Karen's drums before I die!

by Anonymousreply 2910/29/2013

r15 Bah-DUM-sheesh!

by Anonymousreply 3010/29/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 3110/29/2013

I met my first bulemic in or around 1974. A friend of mine was in medical school at the time and I asked her whether she had ever heard of anything like this. She said no.

by Anonymousreply 3210/29/2013

I will always remember being in the junior high library looking at the People magazine with the cover about Karen Carpenter dying when a cross-eyed girl in my class walked in and saw (sort of) the cover and shrieked "Linda Lavin died?!?!?"

by Anonymousreply 3310/29/2013

I think the most shocking thing was how the newspapers and magazines kept obliquely referring to "related issues" when she died and it was blamed on a heart problem. And then the Enquirer or one of the other tabloids wrote an article about how she gone to Mexico and had an elective colostomy to shorten her digestive tract and keep her "private area" clean and nice. Like many anorexics she had an absolute need for control and hated anything messy, so she removed her bottom from anything that would be "disgusting." Crazy.

by Anonymousreply 3410/29/2013

I was treated for anorexia around the same time period, although I was younger than KC at the time. It was the Dark Ages of eating disorders and very little was known, thought to be a disease of upperclass young girls. There was one book out, Eating Disorders by Dr. Hilde Bruch, and the term bulimarexia (later shortened to bulimia) was several years from being coined. There were no eating disorder units. Treatment was primitive tube feeding in a generalized psych ward. For me, anyway.

by Anonymousreply 3510/29/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 3610/29/2013

I was very young when Karen died...we were all in shock.

by Anonymousreply 3710/29/2013

Some of the "thinspirational" quotes on this pic speak of the same insanity that R34 mentions:

"The thinner is the winner"

"If it tastes good, it's trying to kill you"

"An imperfect body reflects an imperfect person"

"It is always better to fade away into nothingness than to have a cheeseburger clogging your arteries"

"I don't care if it hurts, I want to have control, I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul" [lyrics from Radiohead's "Creep"]

Fucking insanity!

by Anonymousreply 3810/29/2013

I was shocked, too. I picked up People magazine in the store to read about it. (No internet!)

by Anonymousreply 3910/29/2013

In all fairness, a fading pop singer dying of an anorexic heart attack at 32 would be pretty shocking even today.

by Anonymousreply 4010/29/2013

I wish she'd lived long enough to experience the new popularity of the Great American Songbook. I'd have loved to hear her take on some of the classics with an album of standards like the ones put out by Toni Tennille, Linda Ronstadt, et. al.

by Anonymousreply 4110/29/2013

Anorexia had started to become widely known in the 70s. Carpenter had become a less public, less visible figure by the time of her death, so her weight was that widely observed by the public. Carpenter had stage fright and preferred to do studio work toward the end. She was respected for her voice in the music business but didn't have hit albums.

by Anonymousreply 4210/29/2013

People were really shocked when she died. There were rumors of anorexia (she looked like a skeleton) but nobody knew it was that bad. Nobody knew Richard was a drug addict, either. The Carpenters were supposed to be the epitome of squeaky-clean wholesomeness and stability. "American youth at its finest", Richard Nixon called them. But they were both as fucked up as any junkie rock star.

by Anonymousreply 4310/29/2013

[quote][R34] that never happened.

Yeah, I think most of us know that already.

by Anonymousreply 4410/29/2013

SO sorry. Apparently the Tattler got it wrong.

But the autopsy report is interesting, anyway.

by Anonymousreply 4510/29/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 4610/29/2013

I saw her on Merv Griffin several months before she died and I knew she was anorexic.

by Anonymousreply 4710/29/2013

It was so sad and shocking. Everybody loved her, but nobody knew of her illness.

by Anonymousreply 4810/30/2013

We were all smoking a lot of week in the 70s. Her death really didn't sink in and hit us until 1982.

by Anonymousreply 4910/30/2013

at least she could wear pleats

by Anonymousreply 5010/30/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 5110/30/2013

hahahaha R50!

by Anonymousreply 5210/30/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 5310/30/2013

That wasn't the only thing that was big about Bette, r53. Anything she said about me really just rolled off my back because I knew they were the mentally deranged ravings that you can expect to hear from a great big fat person.

by Anonymousreply 5410/30/2013

What did Bette say? At least Joan Rivers had the courtesy to wait until Karen died.

Karen presented Bette with her Grammy for Best New Artist.

by Anonymousreply 5510/30/2013

We all knew that there were rumors that she was suffering from the Slimmer's Disease; that she went down in weight to about 6 stone.

by Anonymousreply 5610/30/2013
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