63 Facts About Karen Carpenter


Karen Anne Carpenter was an American singer and drummer, who formed half of the sibling duo the Carpenters alongside her older brother Richard.


Karen Carpenter was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and moved to Downey, California in 1963 with her family.


Karen Carpenter began to study the drums in high school and joined the Long Beach State choir after graduating.


At the age of 32, Karen Carpenter died of heart failure due to complications from anorexia nervosa, which was little-known outside celebrity circles at the time, and her death led to increased visibility and awareness of eating disorders.


Karen Carpenter's work continues to attract praise, including appearing on Rolling Stones 2010 list of the 100 greatest singers of all time.


Karen Anne Carpenter was born on March 2,1950, at Grace New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, the daughter of Agnes Reuwer and Harold Bertram Carpenter.


Karen Carpenter enjoyed dancing and by age four was enrolled in tap dancing and ballet classes; later on, she liked to play softball on the street.


Karen Carpenter entered Downey High School in 1964 at age 14 and was a year younger than her classmates.


Karen Carpenter wanted a Ludwig drum set because it was used by her favorite drummers, Joe Morello and Ringo Starr.


Karen Carpenter was talented, rehearsed every day and within a year, she could play in complex time signatures, such as the in Dave Brubeck's "Take Five".


Karen Carpenter began to study drum technique with Bill Douglass, a well-respected jazz drummer with Benny Goodman and Art Tatum, and soon after she acquired a professional drum kit.


Karen Carpenter was initially nervous about performing in public, but said she "was too involved in the music to worry about it".


Karen Carpenter graduated from Downey High School in the spring of 1967, receiving the John Philip Sousa Band Award, and enrolled as a music major at Long Beach State, where she performed in the college choir with Richard.


Karen Carpenter subsequently became more confident in singing and began to take lessons with Frank Pooler, the choir's director.


Karen Carpenter worked with him on developing the upper register so she would have a full three-octave range and he taught her a mixture of classical and pop singing.


Karen Carpenter did not sing at this point; instead, singer Margaret Shanor guested on some numbers.


In 1967, Jacobs left the trio to study at the Juilliard School, and the Karen Carpenter siblings were keen to try out other musical styles.


Karen Carpenter started out as both the group's drummer and co-lead singer, and she originally sang all of her vocals from behind the drum set.


Karen Carpenter sang most of the songs on the band's first album, Offering ; her brother wrote ten of the album's thirteen songs and sang on five of them.


Karen Carpenter initially struggled in live performances singing solo, as she felt more secure behind the drum kit.


Karen Carpenter preferred Ludwig Drums, including the Ludwig SuperSensitive snare, which she favored greatly.


Blaine complimented Karen Carpenter's drumming skills, but believed her greatest strength was as a vocalist and thought himself more adept at working in a recording studio, which required a different approach from that of an onstage performance.


On Made in America, Karen Carpenter provided percussion on "Those Good Old Dreams" in tandem with Paulinho da Costa, and played drums on the song "When It's Gone " in unison with Larrie Londin.


In 1980, Karen performed a medley of standards in a duet with Ella Fitzgerald on the Carpenters' television program Music, Music, Music.


In 1979, while Richard took a year off to treat his addiction, Karen Carpenter started recording in New York for a solo album with producer Phil Ramone.


Not until 1996 was the complete solo album, titled Karen Carpenter, finally released as originally intended.


Karen Carpenter had a complicated relationship with her parents, especially her mother Agnes.


In 1976, Karen Carpenter bought two Century City apartments that she combined into one; the doorbell chimed the opening notes of "We've Only Just Begun".


Karen Carpenter collected Disney memorabilia and liked to play softball and baseball.


Karen Carpenter studied baseball statistics carefully and became a fan of the New York Yankees.


In early interviews, Karen Carpenter showed no interest in marriage or dating, believing that a relationship would not survive constant touring, adding "as long as we're on the road most of the time, I will never marry".


Karen Carpenter admitted to Olivia Newton-John that she longed for a happy marriage and family.


Karen Carpenter later dated several notable men, including Mike Curb, Tony Danza, Terry Ellis, Mark Harmon, Steve Martin, and Alan Osmond.


Karen Carpenter desperately wanted children, but Burris had undergone a vasectomy without telling her before the marriage had been arranged and refused to get an operation to reverse it.


Karen Kamon, a close friend, recounted an incident in which she and Carpenter went to their normal hangout, Hamburger Hamlet, and Carpenter appeared to be distant emotionally, sitting not at their regular table but in the dark, wearing large dark sunglasses, unable to eat and crying.


Karen Carpenter filed for divorce on October 28,1982, while she was in Lenox Hill Hospital.


Karen Carpenter reduced her weight to 120 pounds and stayed approximately at that weight until around 1973 when the Carpenters' career reached its peak.


Karen Carpenter hired a personal trainer, who advised her to change her diet.


Karen Carpenter fired the trainer and began her own weight-loss program using exercise equipment and counting calories.


Karen Carpenter lost about 20 pounds and intended to lose another five pounds.


Karen Carpenter's eating habits changed around this time; she would try to remove food from her plate by offering tastes to others with whom she was dining.


Karen Carpenter refused to declare publicly that she was in ill health; in a 1981 Nationwide TV-interview, when asked point blank about anorexia, she simply said she was "pooped".


Karen Carpenter stated he and his parents did not know how to help her.


Karen Carpenter spoke with Cherry Boone, who had recovered from anorexia, and contacted Boone's doctor for help.


Karen Carpenter was hoping to find a quick solution to her problem, as she had performing and recording obligations, but the doctor told her treatment could take from one to three years.


Karen Carpenter then chose to be treated in New York City by psychotherapist Steven Levenkron, supported by Phil Ramone's wife.


Karen Carpenter used the medication in conjunction with increased consumption of the laxatives upon which she had long relied, which caused food to pass quickly through her digestive tract.


Karen Carpenter told Levenkron that she felt dizzy and that her heart was beating irregularly.


Karen Carpenter maintained a relatively stable weight for the rest of her life.


Karen Carpenter returned to California in November 1982, determined to reinvigorate her career, finalize her divorce and begin a new album with Richard.


Karen Carpenter's funeral was held on February 8,1983, at Downey United Methodist Church.


Karen Carpenter's estranged husband, Thomas Burris, attended and placed his wedding ring into her casket.


Karen Carpenter was buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, California.


Karen Carpenter was discovered to have a blood sugar level of 1,110 milligrams per deciliter, more than ten times the average.


Karen Carpenter's friends were convinced that she had abused laxatives and thyroid medication to maintain her low body weight and thought this problem had started after her marriage began to crumble.


Richard Karen Carpenter speaking at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1983.


Karen Carpenter has been called "one of the greatest voices of our lifetime" by Elton John.


Karen Carpenter's death brought media attention to conditions such as anorexia nervosa; the condition had not been widely known beforehand.


Karen Carpenter's family started the Karen A Carpenter Memorial Foundation, which raised money for research on anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.


On January 1,1989, the similarly titled made-for-TV movie The Karen Carpenter Story aired on CBS with Cynthia Gibb in the title role.


Gibb lip-synched the songs to Karen Carpenter's recorded voice, with the exception of "The End of the World".


Randy Schmidt wrote a biography about Karen Carpenter entitled Little Girl Blue, published in 2010, which included a foreword by Warwick.


Schmidt's next work about Karen would be "Carpenters: An Illustrated Discography" in 2019, featuring interviews with a variety of people well-versed in the duo's musical history.