Karen Carpenter Tribute

Karen Carpenter

February 4, 1983:
Karen Carpenter dies at the age of 32

Listen RA.198 K.

Karen Carpenter died February 4, 1983 of heart failure caused by chronic anorexia nervosa.

She was thirty-two years old. She battled with it from 1975-1983 (when she died). She went to New York at the end of 1981 for a year of treatment by a psychiatrist but the damage had apparently been done. Plus, you can't beat anorexia with an hour in a doctor's office. She remained obsessed--or trapped--by it. She was an extreme case and she fought to over come the disease throughout the last two years of her life but she couldn't or she just simply ran out of time. Her body couldn't take anymore. She'd been starving herself for seven years, using laxatives, drinking water with lemon, taking dozens of thyroid pills daily, and even throwing up.


Karen possessed every bit as much talent as Richard, however, hers was a talent that did not show at an early age like her brother's. Her first musical interest was as a drummer and it wasn't until later that her pure, natural vocal talent surfaced. A record company producer was the first to realize that Karen possessed a unique, and utterly beautiful voice, likening it to the finest of musical instruments. The most fascinating thing about Karen's voice is that it is completely pure and natural, without the benefit of formal training. Richard's talent was the foundation for the Carpenters, but Karen's wonderful voice quickly became the reason for the group's existence. The Carpenters became one of the most popular groups in history, selling to date nearly 100 million units worldwide.

The Carpenters have , * Eight Gold albums, five Platinum albums, and ten Gold singles in America. * The #1 best-selling American group between 1970 and 1980 * In their first year, the Carpenters had four Top 5 hits - twice the number of any other artist during that period * Second on the list of "Artists With The Most #2 Hits": Carpenters had five, Elvis Presley had six.

"A beautiful tapestry weaving Karen's life into a story that graced this world with life and love," remarked Rev. Charles Neal on February 8 at Karen's funeral, attended by thousands. "But if Karen graced this world with life and love, she also graced this weary world with a song... Yes, Karen's life itself, a song to the world: a song of love and joy and beauty.

Later that day, Karen was laid to rest in the Carpenter family crypt at Forest Lawn in Cypress.

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