DEAD: Karen Carpenter

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Karen Carpenter (aged 32)
American musician (The Carpenters)

Karen Anne Carpenter (March 2, 1950 – February 4, 1983) was an American singer and drummer who was part of the duo the Carpenters alongside her brother Richard. She was praised for her contraltovocals, and her drumming abilities were viewed positively by contemporary musicians and peers.

DEATH: Anorexia had driven her to use thyroid replacementmedication, increasing her metabolism, and laxatives, which caused food to pass quickly through her digestive tract. Despite Levenkron’s treatment, her condition continued to deteriorate and she lost more weight. Carpenter told Levenkron that she felt dizzy and that her heart was beating irregularly. Finally, in September 1982, she was admitted to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, where she was placed on intravenous parenteral nutrition. The procedure was a success, and she gained 30 pounds (14 kg; 2 st 2 lb)in a relatively short time, but the sudden weight gain put a strain on her heart, which was already weak from years of improper diet. She maintained this weight of 108 pounds (49 kg) thereafter, for the rest of her life.

On February 1, 1983, Carpenter saw her brother for the last time, where they discussed new plans for the Carpenters and resuming touring. A few days later, on February 4, Carpenter was scheduled to sign papers making her divorce official. Shortly after waking up, she collapsed in her bedroom at her parents’ home in Downey. Paramedics found her heart beating once every 10 seconds. She was pronounced dead at Downey Community Hospital at 9:51 a.m.

Carpenter’s funeral was held on February 8, 1983, at Downey United Methodist Church. Approximately one thousand mourners attended, including her friends Dorothy Hamill, Olivia Newton-John, Petula Clark and Dionne Warwick. Thomas Burris also attended, and threw his wedding ring into her casket. Carpenter was buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, California. In 2003 her body was moved, to be placed with her parents in a mausoleum at the Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village, California.