With classics like “(They Want to Be) Close to You,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” and “Yesterday Once More,” The Carpenters were one of the top bands of the 1970s and 1980s. They remained together until Karen, the vocalist, died 40 years ago. Both members of the band had personal problems, but after Karen died, her brother, Richard Carpenter, focused on his family. He is now a parent and has formed his own family. Richard and Karen were the two members of the band, and they utilized their surnames. Karen was a percussionist and vocalist noted for her wonderful singing voice that captivated millions.
Richard is three years Karen’s senior and was a child prodigy at the piano. Early in their childhood, both siblings chose to pursue a profession in music. Karen acknowledged that she was anxious about playing in public, but she got lost in the music and forgot about her fears. Karen was in an all-girl band with two other girls from her school. The band was called Two Plus Two, but it didn’t survive long since Karen requested that her brother join it. The sum of two plus two is then divided. Karen and Richard then founded the Carpenter Trio, which included their siblings as well as Richard’s friend Wes Jacobs. In 1969, A&M Records signed the band The Carpenters, and their music career took off. While their professional careers were flourishing, their personal lives had deteriorated, leaving them both unmarried. Karen stated, “I’ll never marry as long as we’re on the road most of the time.” Karen, on the other hand, pursued several relationships with men such as Tony Danza, Mike Curb, Mark Harmon, Terry Ellis, Alan Osmond, and Steve Martin. On August 31, 1980, she violated her promise to never marry. She had a brief affair with real-estate developer
Thomas James Burris, with whom she married at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The couple had a nine-year age difference, and Burris had an 18-year-old son from a previous marriage. Karen wanted to be a stepmother while still having her own children. Burris, on the other hand, did not desire children and refused to have his vasectomy reversed. After fourteen months, the marriage ended in divorce. Karen was also dealing with an eating issue at the time. Karen developed anorexia as the band’s popularity grew. The band was doing great, having published eleven albums and three number-one singles during their time together, but Karen was sick. Karen first realized she needed to lose weight after seeing an unattractive photo of herself taken at a performance in 1973
. She hired a personal trainer but discovered that gaining muscle led her to gain weight, so she began attempting to reduce weight on her own. Karen shed 20 pounds by keeping a food diary, watching calories, and exercising on a hip cycle. People around her were impressed with her weight loss, but Karen was not, and she chose a more radical approach. She thought she needed to shed even more weight, so she began skipping meals, according to those close to her. She would conceal her eating disorder by pretending to eat by moving food around on her plate while speaking. She would also give people samples of her meal until there was nothing left for her to eat. Her eating habit soon began to hamper her career, and the band was forced to abandon their European tour
in 1975 owing to Karen’s physical weariness. Karen began attending therapy sessions in New York City after leaving her violent husband, according to acquaintances. Yet she was hospitalized in 1982 due to a dizzy episode that physicians thought needed to be observed. Karen returned to Los Angeles in December 1982, and she looked to be in much better mental health. She explained to a friend: “I still have a lot of living to do.” Karen’s life, which she felt she had left to live, was cut short a year later, in 1983. She was 32 years old when she died of cardiac failure caused by anorexia nervosa symptoms. Richard was in his mid-30s when his sister died, and the band was no longer able to function. Richard eventually married Mary Rudolph, whose brother was The Carpenters’ stage manager, a year after his sister died.
Mary and Richard have five children together. Their first kid was a daughter called Kristy Lynne, which Karen would have given her if she had ever given birth. Traci Tatum, their second daughter, was born. Mindi Karen was their third child, also a girl. Ultimately, they received a boy, Collin Paul, and a daughter, Taylor Mary. The children were born between 1987 and 2000. Richard continued to tour and release new collections of their work even after Karen died. He last did so in 2018, when he collaborated with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on a compilation of classical works. His daughter, Traci, is now married, and he shared the happy news on Instagram. He tweeted a photo of himself and his daughter dancing at her wedding on December 15, 2022, and wished her and her spouse a lifetime of happiness. Richard is still involved in the music profession and currently works with an orchestra. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to remain in the industry and get support from the band’s followers. While many people continue to lament Karen’s death forty years later, Richard wants to remember her for the brightness she brought to his life. He once exclaimed, “She simply has a timeless voice… Karen was an absolute natural. She didn’t need to practice; she just sang flawlessly,
whether live or on record. “She was my sister, my business partner, and my greatest friend all rolled into one.” Following her death, the Karen Carpenter Memorial Fund was established to create a scholarship fund for promising young musicians at California State University, Long Beach, as well as to support anorexia research. Richard established the charity and stated that he will be doing many things to honor his sister, such as continuing to release songs they had written and planned to produce together. Currently, a documentary on Karen Carpenter’s life called “Karen Carpenter: Starving for Perfection” by AMS Movies is being published. The trailer was posted in early February, and production began on February 10. The documentary focuses on her life and profession, as well as her battle with anorexia nervosa, which resulted in her terrible death. There will also be other celebrity interviews, including those with Carol Burnett, Kristin Chenoweth, and Olivia Newton-John.