Looking up to Her Big Brother
Richard and Karen Carpenter grew up surrounded by music, spending hours in their New Haven, Connecticut home listening to their father’s extensive record collection, including Les Paul and Mary Ford, Nat King Cole, Patti Page, Perry Como, Spike Jones, and Red Nichols. Richard, four years Karen’s senior, taught himself to play the piano by ear, rebelling against strict piano lessons, but studying the instrument all the way to California State University, Long Beach.
Karen would follow him to CSULB with a music major in 1967, where she began experimenting with instruments like the flute, the glockenspiel, and finally, the drums. She was a natural and joined the school band to circumvent gym class. By this time, they had moved out to the West coast and set up home in Downey, California. Her brother teamed up with a tuba player named Wes Jacobs he met in college, and the three formed a band in 1965. They called it ‘The Richard Carpenter Trio’.
The Stillman Diet
Born Karen Anne Carpenter on March 2, 1950, Karen graduated from Downey High School in 1967 when she was just 17 years old. In high school, she honed her drumming skills and started discovering her vocal talents.
Finishing up high school and getting into showbiz, body image was becoming an important issue for the young performer. At 5-foot-4 and 145 pounds, she started dieting. She used a weight loss program called the Stillman diet, which consisted of lean meats and consuming at least eight glasses of water per day. After some time, she lowered her body weight to 120 pounds. Karen looked healthy and felt quite pleased with her new appearance.
The Richard Carpenter Trio
Karen was still in high school when they formed The Richard Carpenter Trio. With her impressive drumming, Wes Jacobs’ tuba, and Richard’s musical gifts, the band played professionally at events like weddings and dances. They became so good that they entered the Battle of the Bands contest at the Hollywood Bowl in June 1966.
Winning the finals at the prominent talent show and taking top honors, RCA soon approached the trio. Richard, Karen, and Wes signed with the record company. After recording 11 tracks, a commercial release didn’t pan out. It would be the beginning of the siblings’ shared career in music.
“Looking for Love”
In the summer of 1966, Karen signed to Magic Lamp Records and recorded a single. Accompanied by Richard playing keyboard, and Joe Osborn on bass, the song was pressed as a 35 rpm. Joe Osborn, a prominent session bassist in the Los Angeles area and owner of the small record label Magic Lamp, discovered talent in 16-year-old Karen. They recorded “Looking for Love,” a song Richard had written. The Magic Lamp 45 rpm was unsuccessful then, but if you find one today, it’s a collectible worth up to $2,500. Just 500 copies were pressed.
Though Richard was most serious about a career in music, supported by his parents whose hopeful anticipation influenced them to move out to the Southern California area, in part, to advance his career; and though his musical talents contributed prominently to the recording, only Karen’s name appears on the record label and the recording contract. But it was the blossoming of their famous recordings to come. The record caught the ear of Herb Alpert, head of A&M records.
A Disney Rebellion
At college, Richard also met a songwriter named John Bettis. With Karen, the three formed the group 'Spectrum' with Bettis on guitar, Gary Sims on guitar, Dan Woodhams playing bass, and vocalist Leslie Johnston. It was their second band after the Richard Carpenter Trio dissolved. In Spectrum’s early, formative days, it was great news when Disneyland hired Richard and Bettis to play at the park.
They were booked to perform turn of the 20th century Dixieland jazz tunes, the same tunes that Richard and Karen loved as children. All went well until park patrons began requesting popular music songs. During the height of hippie music, they took requests like “Light My Fire” by the Doors, a somewhat controversial tune then, and were fired for it. Victor Guder dismissed the young musicians for being “too radical.” With indignation, Richard and his bandmate wrote a song called “Mr. Guder” in response.
Offering a “Ticket to Ride”
Though 'Spectrum' had a regular gig at the famous Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood and had even opened for the young Steppenwolf, by 1968, the group disbanded. This left Karen and Richard to form a duo and become the massive success called the Carpenters. In 1969, they signed a recording contract with A&M. Karen, who was 19 at the time, was required to have a parent co-sign.
Their first single was a beautiful, melancholic ballad rendition of the Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride.” Hitting No. 54 on the Billboard Hot 100, it didn't stop Paul McCartney from calling Karen’s vocals, “the best female voice in the world: melodic, tuneful and distinctive.” The duo called the album Offering. It was released on October 9, 1969, to positive reception. One Billboard critic said, “With radio programming support, Carpenters should have a big hit on their hands.”
“We’ve Only Just Begun”
In one year, the Carpenters recorded two of their biggest hits. “(They Long to Be) Close to You” and “We’ve Only Just Begun” were featured on their second studio album, Close to You. The titular breakthrough recording hit No. 1 in just six weeks! “(They Long to Be) Close to You” stayed there for four consecutive weeks. The song was written by Burt Bacharach and painstakingly arranged by Richard, who was described as a musical perfectionist. Also included on the album was “Mr. Guder,” the ode to Disney management.
Describing his influence for their album “Close to You,” Richard said, “Les Paul and Mary Ford probably had the biggest influence on me because of the overdubbed sound. Boy, did Karen and I take to the whole multi-track thing.” Karen’s magical voice captivated audiences. The song “We’ve Only Just Begun” came from an ad jingle for Crocker National Bank. Richard requested the rights to it from Paul Williams and Richard Nichols, and then he and Karen transformed the tune for a wedding-themed TV ad into a No. 2 hit on the charts.
Overshadowed by Her Big Brother
In Karen’s mother’s eyes, Richard was the musical genius. Richard was born to make it big in the music industry. It was all about Richard. Heartbreakingly, Karen did all she could to earn her domineering mother’s praise, but, after all, the family had moved from the East coast to bolster Richard’s musical career.
Even as the Carpenters had become a pop sensation with number one hit songs and a third album that went Platinum, four times, one person barely noticed Karen’s contribution to the duo. And that would be Agnes Carpenter, the siblings’ mom. For some reason, she failed to validate Karen’s achievement. Karen felt unloved.
Always a Tomboy at Heart
As a drummer, Karen was a rarity. Drumming has always been a sort of glass ceiling of the rock ‘n’ roll world for women, but she banged and busted through. She liked to call herself a drummer who sings. As a kid, she loved to play sports. She loved the New York Yankees and she loved playing ball in her old New Haven neighborhood. It was Karen who was into sports while her brother was inside playing the piano or listening to music.
Karen grew up in a very conservative family. President Nixon once referred to the Carpenters as “young America at its best.” And so, she probably took her mother’s view when it came to women’s liberation. Her mom stayed home and cooked for her husband and family, and Karen approved. They had an idyllic childhood, after all.
Karen Doubles Down on Dieting
Before Karen tried the Stillman diet and hit the perfect weight, she had always been a little chubby. She did not want to go back to her childhood chubbiness again. She saw a picture of herself performing at one of their shows, she thought she looked heavy and decided to put a stop to it right away. She hired a trainer, but it didn’t work out.
The trainer helped her lose weight, but the high-carb, low-calorie diet and exercise regiment resulted in her gaining muscle. She wanted to look thin, so she took things into her own hands. She lost 20 pounds in no time and was heading toward the days when her weight would become the concern of everyone around her.
Food Gradually Became an Obsession
For Karen, eating less food was becoming an obsession.
She cut back whenever she could and then overly rationalized her behavior with comments like this one from 1973: “When you’re on the road it’s hard to eat. Period. On top of that, it’s rough to eat well. We don’t like to eat before a show because I can’t stand singing with a full stomach. . ."
Losing Weight Becomes an Obsession
Karen was slim and trim and looking good. But inside, the obsession about her weight was getting bad. Those around her were beginning to worry.
Her ex-boyfriend’s sister and record executive Carole Curb said, “She weighed 110 pounds or so, and looked amazing.” Adding, “If she’d been able to stop there, then life would have been beautiful."
Richard Gets Concerned
At first, Richard thought nothing of it. Assuming her weight loss was the result of successful work with her personal trainer, he congratulated her saying, “You look great.”
Karen replied, “Well, I’m just going to get down to around 105.” Worried about her response, Richard said, “A hundred and five? You look great now.” Karen was not convinced.
Karen Hides Her Obsession
She dropped to 90 pounds. At 5-foot-4, she had looked great at 120 pounds. With thirty pounds less, she started to look unhealthy. Family and friends became concerned and hounded her to eat more. Karen responded by bundling up to hide her extra weight loss.
In 1975, her agent, Sherwin Bash, noticed and said, “She would start with a long-sleeved shirt and then put a blouse over that and a sweater over that and a jacket over that.” Bash continued, ‘With all of it, you had no idea of what she had become.”
Fans Start to Show Concern
Karen’s attempts at masking her emaciated frame fooled no one. Fans became so alarmed they approached the Carpenters’ agent about the singer’s condition. Worried she might be dying of cancer, or some other fatal illness, fans questioned Bash. Ironically, they were right, she was dying of a fatal illness. But no one knew what it was.
Her physical appearance was so shocking that, occasionally, an audible gasp from the audience greeted Karen when she took the stage. One critic, obviously confused, praised her entrance from the drums to the mic, but then said, “She is terribly thin, almost a wraith, and should be gowned more becomingly.” One acquaintance said she looked like “a Holocaust victim.”
The Disease Begins to Physically Affect Karen
Everyone was becoming more and more concerned. Exhaustion overwhelmed her often, and she would have to lie down to get her strength back. In 1975, following a tour in Las Vegas, Karen checked into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
A doctor finally diagnosed the mysterious disease that was killing her. He said in a statement that anorexia nervosa was causing her physical and nervous exhaustion. He said she was too ill to perform. It cost the Carpenters their European tour. Refunded tickets went out for all 50 shows.
The Stress of Fame Plagued Richard Too
While the world focused on Karen and the strange new disease she was diagnosed with, no one witnessed Richard’s struggles. He kept his addiction well hidden. The 1971 tour wore him down. He eased the stress with a prescription of Quaaludes.
Gradually upping his dose, the habit became a major addiction. Richard abruptly quit touring on September 4, 1978, and refused to show for a UK TV appearance. Rumors about the duo splitting and him abandoning Karen swirled while he hid from the limelight.
Karen Marries Real Estate Developer Thomas James Burris
After dating famous men like Mike Curb, Tony Danza, Terry Ellis, Mark Harmon, Steve Martin, and Alan Osmond, Karen settled down with Tom Burris. The two lovebirds were engaged after dating just two months. They tied the knot on August 31, 1980.
It wasn’t until they were nearly wed that she discovered Burris could not have kids due to a vasectomy. Karen dreamed about marrying and having children. His condition shattered her lifelong dream. She almost called off the marriage, and in retrospect, perhaps she should have.
The Marriage Lasted 14 Months
Karen’s mom Agnes wouldn’t allow her to call off the wedding, arguing that it had already been paid for. It shouldn’t have mattered with her success. But when she found out that her new husband was broke and enjoyed living lavishly off of her riches, she began considering divorce.
Tom would withdraw $50,000 at a time, draining her cash account. He treated her cruelly on top of it all. He called her a “bag of bones” and said she would never have his child. She came to her senses and divorced him the following year.
Losing Weight was Always on Her Mind
Cutting back on food was only one approach Karen would use to lose unwanted pounds. She discovered that certain pills caused weight loss by raising metabolism, and others by different means. She took 80 to 90 laxative tablets in one night. She found thyroid medication could speed up her metabolism, so she took those in excess.
The pills overtaxed her organs. Around that time, Karen began seeing psychotherapist Steven Levenkron, who treated her for anorexia. Levenkron specialized in treating eating disorders.
Finding Help for Karen
Karen’s psychologist tried reaching out to her family to gain support for his patient. His message was simple. He asked them to tell Karen they loved her. Agnes bristled at his advice. Then she reprimanded the clinician for addressing her by her first name. She ended the conversation by informing him that’s not the way they do things in their family.
Years earlier, Sherwin Bash tried approaching Agnes. He was very concerned about Karen, but Agnes dismissed his inquiry. She told him it was a family matter. She also rejected the idea that her skinny daughter needed a psychologist, believing they are only for crazy people.
The Media Presses Karen About Her Health Issue
Richard completed rehab and was ready to get right back into the recording studio. But first, they hit the road. On a European tour, 'Nationwide' host Sue Lawley cornered Karen about the anorexia rumor. Richard was shocked, and Karen rebuked the question saying she’s fine, it’s just that touring is exhausting.
Lawley pressed on. As Karen tried to laugh it off as a joke, Richard came to her defense and said, “It’s really not what we’re here for.”
The End of Her Struggle
Karen had withered down to just 80 pounds by the end of 1982. Richard fumed at Levenkron for failing his sister. With the support and help of Richard, Karen moved back home with her parents. Things seemed to be getting better, although she napped more than usual. One time, her housekeeper discovered Karen passed out on the closet floor.
Then, on February 4, 1983, Agnes found Karen on the floor of her wardrobe, lifeless. The autopsy showed she died of poisoning from ipecac, a vomit-inducing drug usually used for overdoses or accidental poison ingestion. The cause of death was determined to be from complications of anorexia nervosa. She was 32 years old.
A Somber Celebration
Karen’s death hit Richard hard. It was no exaggeration when he called it “the worst thing in my life.” Only months later, the Carpenters would be celebrated on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Richard, alone and forsaken, accepted their Hollywood star.
The somber sibling stood with his parents as a 32-piece choir sang “We’ve Only Just Begun.” The Carpenters’ final studio album was released the same day.
Karen’s Haunting Legacy
The Jim Henson Company entertainment building complex used to house A&M Records. Karen’s office was above the stage at A&Ms. For years, there were reported sightings of Karen Carpenter’s ghost in that building.
Those who claimed to witness her spirit said they saw a woman in the dressing rooms near the soundstage whose features were just like Karen’s. The ghost was said to linger always and only in the dressing rooms.
Covering the Carpenters
The many beautiful songs by the Carpenters have been covered again and again. The Cranberries’ version of “Close to You” falls near to the loveliness of Karen’s vocals.
Speaking of covers, Richard opened up with NPR discussing a Sonic Youth cover of their song “Superstar.” He said he is not impressed with Thurston Moore’s rendition. He told NPR, “At least when it comes to something like this, I will say I don’t care for it, but I don’t understand it. So, I’m not going to say it’s good or it’s bad. I’m just going to say I don’t care for it.”
Meeting the King
It was in the early 1970s when Karen Carpenter, beautiful and healthy and at the peak of her fame, attended an Elvis Presley show in Las Vegas with the gorgeous and talented British pop singer, Petula Clark (“Downtown”).
Elvis was taken with the girls and invited them back to his dressing room. According to Petula’s telling, Elvis was hoping the two of them might make three. She politely thanked him for his hospitality and exited the room with Karen. She said the look on his face was one of surprise as if he had never been turned down.
Richard Carpenter Returns to the Work He Loves
The news came as a surprise. In 2008, Richard Carpenter announced he was planning a comeback. The duo had been big in Japan, so he started there with his news. At a luncheon for the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, he said, “It’s a different business. Music is a different world from when Karen and I were signed by Herb Alpert in 1969, but I feel I have some talent.”
His plan was to produce a Carpenters tribute album, as well as a Christmas album and a collection of his original solo songs.
Musical Styles of the Carpenters
Karen’s exquisite voice was Richard’s favorite instrument to arrange, and he adored arranging and orchestrating sounds. On the 1977 album 'Passage', he capitalized on her vocals by using a soloist in oboe, flute, and harmonica as counterpoints. She was blessed with three octaves and praiseworthy contralto vocals that were enhanced with a low timbre. Richard’s style was experimental and highly-worked.
He was enthralled with dubbing and overdubbing. “People were coming in during recording and saying, ‘We’ve never heard anything like this,’” Richard said. Karen’s soft and soulful voice defines the Carpenters. As Bash said, “She was the one that people watched.” But, Richard’s perfectionist commitment to musical arrangement and talent accentuated her gifts. He said you fail the singer if your arrangement is weak.
The Duo’s Logo
The official Carpenters logo didn’t come about until 1971 when they were creating their third album. Richard was inspired to develop a logo when he saw the artwork Craig Braun created for that album.
“I recognized it to be a great logo as soon as I saw it,” Richard said. The iconic image is pictured on every Carpenters album since then.
Karen’s Haunting Voice
Karen Carpenter is one of the greatest female singers of all time. 'Rolling Stone' ranked her 94 out of the “100 Greatest Voices of All Time.” Grammy-winning producer Phil Ramone, with hits by Barbara Streisand, Paul Simon, and Billy Joel, said, “A voice like Karen’s—rich, womanly—comes along once every 20 years.”
Karen teamed up with Ramone in 1979, moving out to New York to work on a solo album with him. He added, “Voices like that should have a chance to do a variety of things.” Sadly, she didn’t live long enough.
The Lost Archives
Shortly after Karen’s death, someone skilled in the art of recovering lost tapes found rare archived footage of the Carpenters’ first TV appearance and other rare recordings. He got in touch with Richard, who allowed him to collect the footage. Hours and hours of tapes were compiled into a VCR recording called 'Yesterday Once More'.
Borrowing the title from one of their albums, the video, which was released in 1985, was a hit. Later, 'Gold', a greatest hits album, was released on the heels of the video success.
Categorizing the Carpenters
The Carpenters’ sound was definitely different. Called pop, easy listening, soft rock, or even jazz, it’s had an uncomfortable seat at the rock ‘n’ roll table. Some thought the duo’s music was too soft to be rock. Others called it “Sunshine Pop.”
However, their rock-star, chart-topping, Grammy-winning success belies the critics. And, increasingly, documentaries discovering the rock ‘n’ roll style of the duo have been produced. These include, 'Close to You: Remembering the Carpenters', 'The Sayonara', and 'Only Yesterday: The Carpenters Story'.
Accolades for the Carpenters
The beautifully magical songs of the Carpenters won three Grammy Awards and sold more than 100 million records worldwide. The duo is one of the best-selling rock bands of all time. Despite a short-lived career, they produced 12 top-10 singles and three No. 1 singles. In 1971, the 'Carpenters' took the Grammy for Album of the Year.
The duo also won Record of the Year in 1970 for 'Close to You'. The song “(They Long to Be) Close to You” was awarded a Grammy for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus. Two of their songs gained induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame – “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “(They Long to Be) Close to You.”
Karen’s Enduring Influence
The tragic loss of Karen was not lost on the rock ‘n’ roll world. Artists continue to celebrate her gift to music to this very day. Sonic Youth released “Tunic (Song for Karen)” on their 'Goo' album as a tribute and elegy for the superstar.
Artists who have called Karen an inspiration include such successful singers as Madonna, Sheryl Crow, and Shania Twain. On the album 'If I Were a Carpenter', a tribute album, many artists recorded alt-rock covers of the duo’s top hits.
Sold Out Shows
The Carpenters toured diligently. Their concert schedule from 1971 to 1975 included well over 100 shows each year. In 1974, they played 208 shows. The largest show took place at the Ohio State Fair in 1971. The summer show brought in over 50,000 people to see the duo play. One of the most significant gigs was their performance at the 1972 Academy Awards show. They performed “Bless the Beasts and the Children.” It was beautiful; however, they were criticized for lip-syncing the song.
Once again, they were ahead of their time. In 1976 they recorded a live show at the prestigious London Palladium. Their popularity is amazing. “The Karen Carpenter Story,” a CBS documentary made after her death in 1988, was the highest-rated TV movie of the year.
The Carpenters Played the White House
With 11 gold records between them, the Carpenters were invited to perform at the White House annual State Dinner in May of 1973. President Richard Nixon appreciated the duo for more than just their music. Maybe he was drawn to them as Southern California neighbors, too, but he took the opportunity to have them as guests and praise them for their contributions to cancer research.
Karen, 22-years-old at the time, chaired the national youth American Cancer Society. It was a huge honor for the adorable sibling duo, but it didn’t help their goody-two-shoes reputation, or as Richard called it, “goody-four-shoes.”
Superstars Rarely Escape the Stress of Fame
The Carpenters experienced their fair share of celebrity’s dark underside. With Karen obsessing over her self-image and Richard struggling too, they toured all over the world and sold 100 million records.
All that success didn’t add up to peace of mind. Unfortunately for Karen, like so many other pop stars, it was deadly.
The Karen A. Carpenter Memorial Foundation
The Carpenter family founded the Karen A. Carpenter Memorial Foundation after she passed in order to raise awareness about anorexia nervosa. The organization raises money that goes toward research and treatment. As the foundation has evolved, so has its name.
The name is now The Carpenter Family Foundation, and it funds a wide variety of initiatives that combat the wider issue of eating disorders. Programs include education, entertainment facilities, and even art programs.
A Domineering Mother
Karen and Richard’s upbringing seemed perfect. They came from a wholesome, close-knit family with conservative values and traditional appearance. It looked very loving, but for some reason, Karen felt unloved. Agnes was a domineering matriarch who caused Karen frustration and emptiness where the love she craved should have been.
She was often described as being stressed-out, controlling, and uptight with an inability to express love to Karen. A new book by Randy Schmidt, 'Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter', claims the mother-daughter relationship led to Karen’s death.
One of the Carpenters’ greatest hits, permeating the airwaves then and conjuring up nostalgia now, is 'Superstar'. The gentle ballad is about a girl falling for a rock star she rendezvouses with and never sees again but waits in hopeful delusion for his return. It was written by Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett who released it in 1969. They called it “Groupie (Superstar).” It didn’t catch Richard’s attention until Bette Midler performed it on 'The Tonight Show'. He altered lyrics like, “And I can hardly wait to sleep with you again” to “. . . be with you again.”
Karen, for her part, didn’t like the song at first. In a 1981 interview, she said, “For some reason, that tune didn’t hit me in the beginning,” adding, “It’s the only one. Richard looked at me like I had three heads. He said: ‘Are you out of your mind?’. Karen went on to say that once she'd heard Richard's arrangements, the song actually became one of her favorites.
What was Karen’s Favorite Song?
Karen really hoped to fall in love, get married, and have a family, like many young women.
So, it might not be too much of a surprise to find that her favorite Carpenters song was their 1976 ballad, “I Need to Be in Love.”
It was during Richard’s recovery that Karen decided to try out a solo effort. His addiction started in the late ’70s with an affliction of insomnia, worsened by panic attacks and depression. He used Quaaludes to combat his suffering. Apparently, it was Agnes who offered him his first pill.
He took a year off to go to rehab. He made a full recovery and was back on the job by 1979. As if fame had taken its toll on the two, Karen’s anorexia nervosa was at its worst during the time of her brother’s affliction.
A Typical 1950s American Family
Agnes kept the house like an SS officer, and she never hid her bigoted opinions. Karen craved her affection and feared to upset her. In 1996, journalist Rob Hoerburger incisively summed things up: "If anorexia has classically been defined as a young woman’s struggle for control, then Karen was a prime candidate, for the two things she valued most in the world – her voice and her mother’s love – were exclusively the property of her brother Richard. At least she would control the size of her own body."
When Karen tried out a solo act, her brother forced her to drop the project with his efforts to control her. He admits being threatened and afraid she would not come back to the Carpenters.
The Carpenters’ Hollywood Walk of Fame Star
Sadly, Karen missed being honored by a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame by just months. When Richard attended the ceremony he said, “This is a sad day, but at the same time a very special and beautiful day to my family and me.”
Through tears, he went on to say, “My only regret is that Karen is not physically here to share it with us, but I know that she is very much alive in our minds, and in our hearts.”
Karen and Richard Invested in Apartment Buildings
Once fame started paying off, Karen and Richard made some investment choices. The two bought apartment buildings, which is probably not a surprise, but they also personalized them.
They named one building “Close to You” and another “Only Just Begun.” It makes sense, after all, that’s where the cash flow came from!
Carpenters or The Carpenters?
On the Walk of Fame, they are called “The Carpenters,” but fans say they are simply “Carpenters.” Album covers show they are called “Carpenters,” but it’s a common tendency to put the article in place before the name.
The Eagles, for instance, are really just “Eagles.” And, “The Facebook” social media platform decided to drop the “the” and stick with “Facebook,” a less bulky appellation.
The Ties That Bind
When it comes to family ties in Richard’s family, they started with his cousin. He married Mary Rudolph in 1984. She was the Carpenters’ road manager and also their cousin. She appeared in the Carpenters’ hit video for the single “I Need to Be in Love.”
But, to clear things up, there were no genetic risks to offspring because she is an adopted cousin. Richard and Mary share five children between them and are a happily married couple to this day.
The Carpenter Family
Richard was able to have the family Karen yearned for. Mary and Richard’s five children are Kristi Lynn, Traci Tatum, Mindi Karen (named after her aunt), Colin Paul, and Taylor Mary.
Richard takes the kids on the road from time to time. His children perform with him at Carpenter events.
Richard Opens up About Dealing With His Loss
Following Karen’s death, Richard had this to say to People magazine: "I did a lot of soul-searching after her death, and I realize now that I did as much as I could have done. All of us who loved her did. But I still can’t believe she’s gone. We spent so much time together. There’s a void there now. I miss her more and more each day. You simply have to deal with it. And I’m doing the best I can".
He lost his best friend and his partner in making music, his life's passion. It’s like he lost everything. Fortunately for him, he found Mary Rudolph a couple of years later and started a new life.