Home / Biography / Karen Carpenter

Karen Carpenter

Biography

Vocalist and drummer who was simply one-half from the Carpenters and sang “We’ve ONLY Begun.” She enjoyed to play football as a kid. Throughout her lifestyle, she experienced from anorexia nervousa. She was a fantastic drummer, considered one of the better of her peers. She wedded Thomas Adam Burris on August 31, 1980. She once dated Tony Danza .

Quick Facts


Full Name Karen Carpenter
Date Of Birth March 2, 1950
Died February 4, 1983, Downey, California, United States
Place Of Birth New Haven, CT
Height 1.63 m
Profession Pop Singer
Education Downey High School
Nationality American
Spouse Thomas James Burris
Parents Agnes Carpenter, Harold Carpenter, Top of the World, Yesterday Once More, We've Only Just Begun
Siblings Richard Carpenter
Music Groups Carpenters
Star Sign Pisces

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 Karen Carpenter died on February 4, 1983, a month away from what would have been her 33rd birthday on March 2.
2 Through her German ancestry, she and her brother are distantly related to Catholic reformer Martin Luther.
3 She and her brother, Richard Carpenter, were both awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6931 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on October 12, 1983.
4 Portrayed by Cynthia Gibb in The Karen Carpenter Story (1989).
5 Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 133-134. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
6 Arguably, her best performance is a song which was never even released. It was a song opted not to be used on her infamous aborted solo album. It is a song penned by Paul Jabara ["Last Dance"] and Jay Asher, and is called "Something's Missing (In My Life)". Many who have heard the work-lead feel it truly relates to Karen's personal struggles and depth of her feelings. The song remains unmixed and without strings. The song some people regard as her best Carpenters song is a song which was her personal favorite called "I Need to Be in Love".
7 Ranked #3 on Entertainment Tonight (1981)'s top 25 stories in 25 years.
8 She was managed by Jerry Weintraub from 1976 - 1983
9 She was managed by Terry Ellis from 1975 - 1976
10 She was managed by Sherwin Bash from 1970 - 1975
11 The Carpenter Private Mausoleum in Westlake Village, California is a 46,000-pound, Partenope-style structure and was constructed in Texas over seven months. It is polished sunset red with beautiful warmth and color and lively crystal patterns. Similar structures have a price range of $600,000. Karen, Agnes, and Harold use up 3 out of 6 spaces in the mausoleum.
12 She was a huge fan of Matt Monro and Spike Jones and His City Slickers.
13 After the Carpenters became successful during the early 1970s, she and her brother bought two apartment buildings in Downey, California and called them "Close to You" and "Only Just Begun". Today, the "Close to You Apartments" can still be located at - 8356 East 5th, Downey, California.
14 The Carpenters' famous Newville house, located at 9828 Newville Avenue, Downey, California, is pictured in their fifth album "Now & Then". This was also the same house where Karen died.
15 The Carpenters catalog leads all A&M Records artists for the most number of compilation albums created from original material. It is also the catalog most often reissued.
16 In 1976, the Carpenters' tour of Japan was the largest grossing in Japanese history.
17 By 1977, the Carpenters received 11 gold records from Japan.
18 On September 4, 1978, the Carpenters gave their last concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
19 By June 1981, the Carpenters had sold over 55 million albums.
20 Her sister-in-law is Mary Carpenter
21 Her cousin, Mark Rudolph, appears in the Carpenters album "Now & Then".
22 The doorbell in her Century City condo chimed the first six notes of "We've Only Just Begun".
23 Died a married woman. She was planning to officially sign divorce papers on the day she died.
24 Her family started the "Karen A. Carpenter Memorial Foundation", which raised money for research on anorexia nervosa and eating disorders. Today, the title has been changed to "Carpenter Family Foundation"... in addition to eating disorders, the foundation now funds the arts, entertainment and education.
25 Her childhood home was 55 Hall Street (in New Haven, Connecticut). She attended school at Nathan Hale Elementary School in Connecticut.
26 The Carpenters are still A&M Records' biggest and bestselling artists.
27 She befriended Cherry Boone while getting treated for Anorexia. Boone herself was a recovered anorectic.
28 In 1970, "(They Long to Be) Close to You" became the Carpenters' first certified Gold single.
29 In 1975, "Please Mr. Postman" became the Carpenters' 10th and last certified Gold single.
30 The Carpenters' second bestselling album is "Carpenters (the tan album)" - it has sold four million units since its release in 1971.
31 In 1998, the RIAA certified that "The Singles 1969 - 1973" had sold 7 million units since its release in 1973. This makes "The Singles 1969 - 1973" the Carpenters' bestselling album ever (as of 2005).
32 When she was 17, she went on the "Stillman Diet" with a doctor's guidance, and lost between 20 and 25 pounds
33 She was portrayed by a Barbie Doll in Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1988)
34 Had her own personalized driver's license plate which was: KAC3.
35 The rock band Sonic Youth, wrote a song about Karen, called "Tunic (Song for Karen)". They also contributed to a 1994 tribute album for the Carpenters.
36 Sang "Because We Are In Love" at her 1980 wedding. The song was written by her brother Richard Carpenter and friend John Bettis.
37 Her ex-husband Tom Burris was a real-estate developer. At the time they met, Tom was a 39-year-old divorce with an 18-year-old son. Karen was 30 years old.
38 After her recovery, she planned to go public about her battle with anorexia.
39 Has four nieces and one nephew: Richard Carpenter's five children.
40 During her solo endeavor, many of the demos Karen recorded were scrapped and decided not to be used for the album. Despite the rumor that only 11 tracks were completed and/or used, one more is indeed finished. It is a mellowed-out and heartfelt cover of Evie Sands's 1975 #50 Pop charter, "I Love Makin' Love to You". When A&M Records folded in 2000, it and 6 of out of the 8 demos began surfacing on the Internet. Fans who have heard Karen's version of "Makin' Love..." feel it is probably the best song to come out of her solo sessions. Sadly, it is unlikely it will ever official see the light of day, for many believe A&M discarded of the material when it closed its doors. Another song almost completed (even with backing vocals, but lacking orchestration) is a cover of Vicki Sue Robinson's "Don't Try to Win Me Back Again".
41 Her cover version of "(They Long to Be) Close to You" was originally recorded by Dusty Springfield in 1964, shortly before Dionne Warwick recorded it that same year. Dusty's was scheduled for release as a single, and potential follow-up to her No. 3 hit "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself". However, it was not until three years later, in 1967, that it finally was released on her album "Where Am I Going?", with the beginning intro cut from its release.
42 Went to Bora Bora for her honeymoon.
43 Had to have surgery on her ear, during the late 1970s, for impaired hearing.
44 Won three Grammy Awards.
45 Loved to play softball/baseball and played the drums.
46 Won the 1966 "Battle of the Bands" contest at the Hollywood Bowl.
47 Her favorite Carpenters song was "I Need to Be In Love".
48 Songwriter Peter Cetera wrote "Making Love in the Afternoon" for her.
49 Was close to her brother Richard Carpenter.
50 Attended and graduated from California State University, Long Beach.
51 Performed and sang for Richard Nixon at the White House in 1972.
52 Parents are Harold Carpenter and Agnes Carpenter.
53 Her funeral took place on February 8, 1983 at the United Methodist Church in Downey, California.
54 Ranked #30 on "E!'s 101 Most Shocking Moments In Entertainment History".
55 Songwriter Paul Williams wrote "Rainy Days and Mondays" for her.
56 Collected Disney memorabilia.
57 In 1976, she bought a Century City condominium. she gutted two separate apartments and turned it into one. The address was 2222 Avenue of the Stars. As a housewarming-gift, her mother Agnes Carpenter gave her a collection of leather-bound classic works of literature.
58 The Carpenters franchise is very big and popular in Japan.
59 The song "Now", recorded in April 1982, was the last song she ever recorded.
60 She did not like the song "Superstar" until after hearing her brother's arrangement for it; she then considered it one of her favorites that the Carpenters had done.
61 As of April 2004, her brother Richard Carpenter has made four new Carpenters albums since her death. This is possible by using songs that were left off previous albums and making new albums out of them. He also uses songs that Karen recorded and then later arranges music to accompany them.
62 Dedicated her solo album to her brother Richard Carpenter.
63 Attended and graduated from Downey High School in Downey, California.
64 While being treated for anorexia, she embroidered a sign above her hospital bed that read "You win, I gain!".
65 Among her friends were Petula Clark, Olivia Newton-John and Dionne Warwick.
66 "A Star on Earth - A Star in Heaven" is written in her mausoleum.
67 Started out singing in two unsuccessful singing bands called "The Dick Carpenter Trio" and "Spectrum".
68 Sang "Bless the Beasts and the Children" with her brother Richard Carpenter at The 44th Annual Academy Awards (1972).
69 Ranked #29 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll
70 On Thursday, December 11, 2003 she, Agnes and Harold were exhumed from Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, California and were moved to Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village, California. Agnes, Karen and Harold remained in their original caskets. At 12:30pm PST, they were all re-interred and entombed in a private family mausoleum in the Tranquility Gardens section of the cemetery.
71 Was married at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the Crystal Room.
72 At age 30, she made a solo album with producer Phil Ramone in 1980, titled "Karen Carpenter". However, it was shelved by A&M executive Herb Alpert. 16 years later in 1996, it was finally released.
73 In her mid 20s, she was still living with her parents.


Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Paul Williams Still Alive 2011 Documentary performer: "We've Only Just Begun"
The Carpenters: Music, Music, Music 1980 TV Special performer: "Without A Song"
Olivia Newton-John: Hollywood Nights 1980 TV Special performer: "Heartache Tonight"
The Perry Como Christmas Show 1974 TV Special performer: "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas", "Sleep Well Little Children", "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", "They Long to Be Close to You/It's Impossible/We've Only Just Begun/And I Love You So/Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes/Yesterday Once More"

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The 25th Annual Grammy Awards 1983 TV Special Herself
Entertainment Tonight 1983 TV Series Herself
Show-Express 1981 TV Series Herself - Musician
Multi-Coloured Swap Shop 1981 TV Series Herself
Nationwide 1981 TV Series documentary Herself
The Merv Griffin Show 1981 TV Series Herself
Good Morning America 1981 TV Series Herself
The Carpenters: Music, Music, Music 1980 TV Special Herself
Olivia Newton-John: Hollywood Nights 1980 TV Special Herself
20/20 1980 TV Series documentary Herself
The Carpenters: A Christmas Portrait 1978 TV Special Herself
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1978 TV Series Herself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 1970-1978 TV Series Herself
The Carpenters... Space Encounters 1978 TV Special Herself
Starparade 1978 TV Series Herself - Musician
ABC's Silver Anniversary Celebration 1978 TV Special Herself
The Carpenters at Christmas 1977 TV Special Herself
American Bandstand's 25th Anniversary 1977 TV Special Herself (The Carpenters)
Carpenters Very First Television Special 1976 TV Special Herself
The Carpenters Concert: Live at the New London Theatre 1976 TV Movie Herself - Musician
Die Drehscheibe 1975 TV Series Herself - Musician
Disco 1975 TV Series Herself - Musician
The Perry Como Christmas Show 1974 TV Special Herself
Evening at Pops 1974 TV Series documentary Herself
Rock Concert 1974 TV Series Herself
Robert Young with the Young 1973 TV Special Herself (as The Carpenters)
The Special London Bridge Special 1972 TV Movie Herself (as The Carpenters)
Jerry Visits 1972 TV Series Herself
The Carol Burnett Show 1971-1972 TV Series Herself
Carpenters 1971 BBC Television Special 1971 TV Short documentary Herself
In Concert 1971 TV Series Herself
The Carpenters 1971 TV Special Herself
Lulus Party 1971 TV Movie Herself - The Carpenters (uncredited)
Top of the Pops 1971 TV Series Herself
Make Your Own Kind of Music! 1971 TV Series Herself
This Is Your Life 1971 TV Series Herself
Carpenters: Close to You 1970 Video Herself
New American Bandstand 1965 1970 TV Series Herself
The Ed Sullivan Show 1970 TV Series Herself - Musician
Your All-American College Show 1968 TV Series Herself - Musician

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Nation's Favourite Carpenters Song 2016 TV Movie documentary Himself
Karen Carpenter: Goodbye to Love 2016 TV Movie documentary Herself
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of 2014 TV Series Herself
New Year's Rockin' Eve Presents the 30 Greatest Women in Music 2013 TV Movie Herself - Performer
Paul Williams Still Alive 2011 Documentary Herself
...Sings The Beatles 2009 TV Movie documentary Herself
Only Yesterday: The Carpenters' Story 2007 TV Movie documentary Herself
20 to 1 2006 TV Series documentary Herself
Entertainment Tonight 2004-2005 TV Series Herself
Corporate Ghost 2004 Video Herself
Andy Williams: My Favorite Duets 2004 TV Movie documentary Herself
I Love the '70s 2003 TV Series documentary Herself
101 Most Shocking Moments in Entertainment 2003 TV Movie documentary Herself
Living Famously 2003 TV Series documentary Herself
The Greatest 2001 TV Series documentary Herself
Biography 1998 TV Series documentary Herself
Behind the Music 1998 TV Series documentary Herself
Close to You: Remembering the Carpenters 1997 TV Movie documentary Herself
E! True Hollywood Story 1997 TV Series documentary Herself
Great Performances 1996 TV Series Herself
Carpenters: Interpretations - A 25th Anniversary Celebration 1995 Video short Herself
A Current Affair 1993 TV Series Herself
The Carol Burnett Show: A Reunion 1993 TV Movie documentary Herself
Carpenters: Yesterday Once More 1985 Video Herself
Texaco Presents: A Quarter Century of Bob Hope on Television 1975 TV Special Herself

Looks like we don't have awards information. Sorry!



Looks like we don't have salary information. Sorry!


#Quote
1 People never think of entertainers as being human. When you walk out on stage the audience think, "Nothing can go wrong with them." We get sick and we have headaches just like they do. When we are cut, we bleed.
2 (on her 1975 collapse) I had been on a crash diet, and I carried on losing weight afterwards, even though I began eating like mad to counteract it. I'd become stricken with nervous tension which was burning away all my energy.
3 (on her brother) If he listened to music, I listened to music. It was unconscious, but I idolized him so much and we were so close even though we were three years apart.
4 [In 1976] Richard is 30, and I'm 26. But the letters we got when we said we weren't virgins, read as though we had committed a crime. People must have been dumb to have believed that we were that good.
5 We had to speak out and tell the truth about us as it is. It's hell living like a pair of angels.
6 We spent an awful lot of time trying to achieve perfection as close as we can come. It's the foremost thing in both of our minds, at all times.

#Trademark
1 Contralto singing vocals

Check Also

Princess Victoria of Sweden

Crown Princess of Sweden who’s likely to be Sweden’s 4th queen regnant. There’s notably not …