Laurie Beebe Lewis

A Search for Love, Success, Perfect Pitch, Paradox & Harmony

Posted In:   From Issue 774   By: Robert 'Bo' White

08th August, 2013     0

She graduated from Arthur Hill High School in 1972, Rose to Fame as a Member of Both The Buckinghams & Mamas & the Papas and Dated the Late Comedian Andy Kaufman Along the Way. On the Eve of Her Saginaw Appearance, We Present an In-depth Interview with a True Local Legend.

By Bo White

There's a hunger that stirs the creative juices in Laurie Lewis. She loves to be close yet chooses to be free. She can harness logic for behavior that may seem irrational on the surface, but contains a perfect understanding of paradox. What seems to be the problem could actually be the solution like an addiction that soothes an earlier wound. She is clearly aware of herself and has a deep abiding interest in moral choices. She has a heart that reaches out to love and beauty. She can love many different people in many different ways. 

As a singer for Pitche Blende - a great local band back in the early 1970s that thrived during the heyday of Michigan Rock 'n Roll, Laurie achieved almost instant notoriety. She was a heartthrob to many of the boys that gaped slack-jawed at her sensual energy and natural beauty. She had an untrained yet powerful voice that could reach the stratosphere. As a young adult she moved to Chicago, joined The Buckinghams and never looked back. She achieved massive success as a full member of the Mamas & Papas, and toured with them for several years. Through her experiences in show-biz she gained an understanding of complex relationships within a wider social framework. She's on a first name basis with several famous icons from the era and has been able to maintain these relationships to the present day. Laurie is able to see the divine in art, poetry, music…and love.

This is her spiritual longing. She is a true original.

Laurie Beebe Lewis is returning to her hometown and making a rare Saginaw appearance on Saturday August 31st @ White's Bar. Ryan Fitzgerald is bringing in the Barbarossa Brothers to back-up Laurie as she presents a career retrospective through songs, music and stories. Doors open @ 7pm. with $5 admission.

Laurie, when did you first join Pitche Blende?

Oh, wow. I'm going to say 1969. Before that I had been in other bands (Laughter) Oh boy. We had a little all-girl band called the Lemon Kind. It was some funny name. It was an all-girl group. It was pretty lame. It was actually really lame. We were just kids and playing with it. We were not even musicians, just kind of wanna-bes. We tried to write own songs and play. I think my sister Jinny was playing with us also. It really didn't last too long. Jinny went on to join a group called The Purple Gang and they were rather successful. In the meantime I joined different bands around town, garage bands. Tom Morris was our lead singer. We were called Ugly Pudding. We did Traffic and Bob Dylan's music, and I'd sing and all that kind of stuff. So, yeah, we had a band. It was kind of a drug-based band because we were always smoking pot and drinking cough syrup and alcohol. You know, we were just kids, and I was like 13 or 14 years old.

Who recruited you for Pitche Blende?

My mother recruited me and Tom, but we really got into a lot of drugs. Drinking cough syrup, popping LSD, smoking, you know, a lot of pot. Something happened where I drank way too much alcohol and my parents said I could not see Tom any more. In the meantime we were madly in love, you know, (Laughter) at that age. We snuck out to see each other anyway, but my mom kind of knew. At that time Jinny had already played with The Purple Gang. Things were happening and people were going their different ways. It was one of those things. Their band was kind of on their way out anyway. In the meantime my mom saw an opportunity because she heard me and Tom singing together and realized that there was some real talent there. If you were to talk with my sister, she would tell you that mom would say, “Look, your sister's got some problems and if we don't get her in this band and keep her busy doing something, then they're both just going to be in a bad place.” My mom got Tom Morris and me into the band so she could keep a closer eye on us. She was trying to keep my energies running into a more positive place. She was our manager, bus driver, you name it.

You became an almost instant celebrity. I think you took over the limelight once you got in there. What do you think?

Well, you know my sister was the quiet bass player. She didn't really like a lot of attention. One of the things that really bothered her was the fact that I was so outgoing and at times did very outrageous things in front of people, sometimes almost inappropriate. We played at some concert one day and it was raining, and me in my little mini-skirt, I ran out in the middle of the pouring rain and started doing a rain dance all by myself in front of about 20 bands that were all sitting underneath the eaves trying to stay dry, and I'm doing this rain dance. Okay… maybe I was high. I might have been acting high. A lot of times I really wasn't high. I just pretended to be high because I felt like it was peer group pressure.

Where did you get those incredible chops and that great voice?

I never took a vocal lesson, never in my life until I was in my 20s. It was just a natural thing for me. Trevor Davis, who was just recently one of the contestants on The Voice, is a guy that's coaching me right now and we were talking about this. You know people that have this natural talent and we never had a singing lesson and then when we finally get singing lessons, we go, “Oh wow. Okay, this is getting even better.” It was about taking chances. I imitated what I heard and people who are usually very good vocalists imitate what they hear. So I imitated some of the biggest around. Grace Slick was one I aspired to. One of the people I really imitated more than anybody believe it or not was Dick Wagner. Dick had such a pure voice, and the guys in The Frost, you know they all sang great. Donny Hartman had no clue of what an influence vocally he had in my life. I saw him sing and doing the blues, and I said, “I want to sing the way Donny Hartman sings, and I want to bring the house down the way Donny Hartman brings the house down. Dick Wagner and the Frost inspired us. They did a lot of their own music. That was what we aspired to do. We learned to have our own music, get out there and play.

Where did you record My World Has Stopped and Stop?

We recorded it in a studio in Detroit, Michigan, and I couldn't tell you the name of it, but I remember going down there. Everybody from Pitche Blende was on the record Dennis, Jimmy on the bass, Dan Quinnan on guitar and background vocals. Tom Morris sang the lead. If you notice the way the song was set up on both “My World Has Stopped” and “Stop,” I'm not really singing background. It's like we're doing a duet song. Typically there would be the male lead singer and the female back-up singers but we were very different because we had a guy and a girl singer. I ran harmonies with him and he ran harmonies with me. We were definitely a vocal duo, both of us were powerful singers, and so when you listen to the song, you notice that both of us are featured as vocalists.

Why did the band break up?

Things were really kind of rough for everybody. I got to a place where I really didn't want to be dating Tom any more. I was getting kind of sick of the whole scene and my sister was dating Dan Quinnan - dating someone in the band is kind of like a kiss of death (Laughter). So if you ask my personal opinion, I would say that the break-up of Tom and Laurie and Jinny and Dan all happened around the same time, and the band just started to fall apart. At the same time Dennis and Mike, they had started going to a Bible study and they had found a spiritual path.  And so there was that going on. If you want to hear the break-up story, just say, “Yoko Ono broke us up.” Yeah. (Laughter) Whenever a band breaks up, we always blame it on Yoko. (Laughter).That was 1970. 

Was music an outlet for you?

By the time I reached high school, I learned how to control myself a little more and of course drugs helped. Taking drugs was sort of my way of self-medicating. I just popped the pills and… mellow.  I had joined several bands, but it always seemed like there would come a time where there would be a personality clash. It was always me, and it was really hard. I always thought something was wrong with me.

By the time I turned 18 I was already playing with older musicians, lounge music where I was making $50 a week singing downtown at the Fordney Hotel. I played with this guy, R.G. Frederick, who was an ex-con. He was a piano player and he wanted a girl to come and sing so that's where I learned the ropes of singing outside of the box, a lot of rock and doing more things like “Call Me,” “Misty” and other standards. I discovered that there was real money in it. So when I finally hooked up with R. G. Frederick we were doing paying gigs. I didn't have to do much more than show up and sing and of course he was always keeping me in line, telling me, “You need to settle down, girl.” He was actually a mentor.

When did you leave Saginaw?

Well, first I met up with Gary Miller, the youth pastor at the First Congregational Church. He had a Dixieland band Celebration Roadshow with Nick OppermanJim Beebe and Uncle Lesley. I don't know what his real name was. I was offered a job to play piano, which I hadn't really played too much. I had some piano lessons as a kid and I knew all the chords. So I kind of whipped into that, and when I was told that I was going to get paid $300 a week (that was a lot of money back then) so I took that job and found that we were playing in Churches, in schools, in nightclubs, and it was really, really quite a different kind of music. I was going from rock and roll and singing “White Rabbit” to singing “Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey.” I was with them for five years. In 1974 the band decided to move to Chicago. Gary moved to Chicago first, so we all shifted there. It was more centrally located. I got involved with Jim Beebe who was 25 years my senior. I married him for a short period of time and he became my best friend later.

I stayed in Chicago after the Celebration Roadshow broke up - after 500,000 miles of traveling. Gary was tired of the road… everybody was getting tired of the road. We were touring constantly 48 states and Canada. We'd play a nightclub and then have to drive 300 miles to play at some Church in Iowa the next morning. It was really grueling for the guys. It wasn't so much for me because I was young, you know, I was in my 20s and they were all older.

That must have been a great experience.

It was an amazing experience. I was in Chicago and then I got hooked up with Barb, my friend, Barb Unger, and she and I had a duo for seven years called Les Amies (friends). We played the clubs. She'd play the piano and I'd sing. In the meantime I sang also with Jim Beebe with his jazz group at times. She eventually married Paul Wertico, the drummer for the Pat Metheny Group. He's really a well-known drummer.

Barb and I remained friends and that's when The Buckinghams took note of Barb and I as a duo and hired both of us for the band. She was with The Buckinghams for a short period of time because they decided they didn't want two girls, but they wanted more vocal power, so that was when I had to make a decision about staying with them and leaving my partnership with Barb. It was one of the most difficult decisions but I knew it was probably best if I went with The Buckinghams. I was with them from 1982 to the end of 1985 into 1986. We did a couple of gigs into early 1986. I ended up moving to San Diego in January 1986.

You recorded with them, too. What's your memory of the sessions?

I really loved it. We already had these songs written and we were in the process of getting them really tight. I think the fun part of recording was it was in a really nice studio in the Chicago area and it was a privately owned studio by someone who had a lot of money. I'm trying to remember - Red Label Records or something like that. He had a beautiful studio in this giant mansion. Nick, Bill, Carl and I wrote a lot of the songs but each one of us as musicians contributed our gifts to the songs. So it really made it special. I think it's a great album and I wish more would have happened with it.  I think it would have moved if we'd have had better marketing. I think if the album cover should have been better - it was cheesy. I loved “Made to Love You” which was something that Tom and I did as a duet. Then of course “Veronica” was our hit song. It would've been a great come-back song. We did it in our show on the Happy Together tour. Our album came out the same time we were on the tour.

What was the “Happy Together” tour was like for you?

I had a good experience on the “Happy Together” tour in most situations except for the tour manager, Larry Soty. For some reason he didn't like me, and he made it pretty clear. When we'd get on the tour bus, he always made it very clear that he did not like me. He called me a putz. At one point Jim Dobson, the manager for the whole tour rode with us. When we finished the ride Dobson went up to our band and said, “I am absolutely astounded that you would allow Larry Soty to treat that sweet girl, Laurie, so horribly.” I think at that point they did say something to Larry about it and Larry lightened up a little bit, but I finally just said, “You know what? I really just don't want to deal with this anymore. It's really not fun.” That's when Gary Lewis said, “You know what, Laurie? Why don't you come and ride with me in my van? You'll have more fun.” It was meant to be because Chuck Lewis was riding with Gary. Chuck wasn't my boyfriend then, he was just a friend, but we got to be close, and we got married, so it all worked out great.

How did you become a member of the Mamas and the Papas?

Well, we did 265 dates during the 1985 Happy Together Tour. The lineup included The Buckinghams, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, The Turtles and The Grass Roots. Sometimes we would go to a venue and Tommy James and the Shondells or Herman's Hermits would be on the bill. There'd be a guest group that would join us, so instead of four bands, there'd be six or whatever. On a couple of particular dates we had the Mamas & the Papas with us and it was neat because Chuck had already known Spanky McFarlane on the 1984 Happy Together Tour. So Chuck was like, “Oh, you're going to meet Spanky, and I said, “Oh, I'd like to meet Spanky.” I knew about Mackenzie Phillips and I knew her as an actress, so I was quite taken with the fact that I was going to meet these people.  So backstage they just seemed to have a whole different vibe about them than any of the other bands on the tour. They didn't have that  “I'm trying to make a come-back” vibe. They definitely had a presence about them, very friendly and nice.

That was when Chuck asked me to marry him and we're living in San Diego and summer comes and we all got together to watch the 1986 Happy Together Tour. This time it's The Turtles, Gary Puckett and The Monkees.  So we went to see the show in San Diego and went “Oh, this is fine, this is great.” Afterwards we all met at this hotel lounge and there was Spanky. She remembered me from The Buckinghams and we sat in the corner and just talked, and me being me I said, “When are you going to get rid of Mackenzie and get a real singer?” (Laughter) - just being funny. Spanky looked at me, and said, “Sooner than you think.” Later on Chuck called Spanky and said, “Did you really mean that because my wife really needs to be doing something and if there really is a sooner than you think, then let me know because my wife is your girl.” I had no idea Chuck had made that phone call.

Then what happened.

It wasn't much after that that I got this phone call from Spanky. She said, “I just wanted to call you and tell you that John Phillips was going to call you, and he's going to ask you to be in the Mamas & the Papas, and I want you to say yes.”  I said, “Okay,” and I was thinking, “Who's John Phillips?” (Laughter)… it just wasn't registering in my mind. It wasn't five minutes later that my phone rang, and “Hi, this is John Phillips.”  Right away as soon as he said “John Phillips,” I knew who it was. He was so kind and gentle. We rehearsed at the Falklands Hotel for three weeks and then after that we left on a tour of England for a month. I remember it was November 6th because that's my birthday. John told me to just learn all the parts.” (Laughter).  So I went out and bought all the Mamas and Papas albums (Laughter).

So, I'm like, “Okay.” Being ADHD actually is a gift because I love pressure. I love stimulation. I love the challenge. So I listened to all the parts and learned all the parts. I wrote all the words down manually by hand.

I was told the first week it was going to be two or three shows a night. The first show would be Mackenzie and Spanky, and the second show would bring me up. There would actually be three Mommas then for the late-night show it would be me without Mackenzie. So the first night I just sat and observed and was brought out for the third set, the late-night show, which I guess usually isn't so busy. I think they were really astounded that I had this learned so quickly. By the end of the first week, I was pretty much doing the show on my own. So that went on for three weeks. Mackenzie left and I went on the European tour. It was pretty amazing. I just remember we got off the plane and we got into some hotel near Piccadilly Circus. I'd never been to Europe and I'm riding in business class with the Mamas & the Papas.

We got off the plane and John said, “You've got half an hour to get dressed and be down in the lobby. There's going to be a press conference.” At this point I'm realizing that we've got Lou Christie, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and Scott McKenzie. This is a month long tour. I get down to the lobby and there's probably a good hundred or more photographers in this press room. There were interviews going on over in this corner and there are TV cameras going on in that corner and people being interviewed. I'm standing in the midst of all of this going, “Oh, what do I do?” (Laughter).  Spanky's being interviewed over here and John's over there getting interviewed and I walk in and suddenly millions of cameras just start popping off at me and they're going, “Ms. Beebe, this way please… Ms. Beebe, Ms. Beebe, over here.” It was just like, crazy. Am I supposed to act like a model? I started like, you know, fixing my hair. (Laughter) I had no idea what to expect. The next thing I know there are microphones being put in front of me and questions are asked. I've done plenty of interviews but suddenly I'm blown into this situation where it's very different because as The Buckinghams we were a band. As the Mamas & the Papas, it's more legendary, you know?

So after that whole affair, I went upstairs exhausted and laid down. At 9 o'clock the phone rang and it was John Phillips, and he said, “You were really good today, kid.” I said, “Thank you.” “By the way, happy birthday.” I thought, “Wow.” I had forgotten it was my birthday. So I really felt a little bit out of my element, and I really didn't know how to claim my Mama.

How did you come to terms with your new status?

As it went on people would come to me with Mamas and Papas albums with Michelle Phillips, Mama Cass and ask for autographs. In Europe people really don't know the names of all the Mamas & the Papas and they don't care. Just sign the album. That's fine...okay, so I did. So afterward we got on the bus and I found myself a little corner. Denny walked up to me and said, “Laurie, what are you doing back here…you sit up here with us.” I get up, and he's like, “You need to claim your position in this band. If you don't, you are going to get stomped on. You are one of the principal members of this band. You're not a band member.” So he made it very clear to me what my position was, and he made sure that I was included on everything that happened with the band. I was therefore inducted into the Mamas & the Papas.

I saw the Mamas & the Papas after their initial fame. John did some songs he recorded with some of the Rolling Stones. He also did Mississippi, a cool Cajun song. Did you do some of those songs?

We did Mississippi. We did Sugar and we even did a couple of the African songs. All of a sudden John just called out a song but I never heard it. It was in the middle of concert. There were 10,000 people and all of a sudden John calls Zulu Warrior. I'm like, “What the heck?” Spanky said, “Just get over here and follow me. It's easy. Do Little Warrior.” (Laughter) I'm like, “Okay.” I caught on right away. I just danced when I felt like I didn't know what to do. I put the mike up close to my mouth and suddenly I was singing, and I didn't know what I was doing but I made myself look like I was part of the show and that was all that mattered. After that, I said, “Okay, give me the songs. I need to learn them.” I got them all down and learned them, and that was it.  Next time I wasn't going to get caught with my pants down on stage again.

I have read Mackenzie Phillips' book High on Arrival and it revealed the incest between Mackenzie and her father. You knew them and you really liked them. What did the discovery about John Phillips' behavior do to your relationship with him and with Mackenzie?

Wow, that's really a question. That is really a question.  I really do want to answer this because it's a really good question. Let's just back up. Let me finish up my first tour with the Mamas & the Papas that started in October of 1986. It ended in April of 1987, actually early May. I was playing my last gig with them, knowing that Mackenzie was coming back, and I knew they had some shows coming up, and I was feeling very despondent about leaving because it was solid ground, and it was really great. I was really hoping Mackenzie would stay away longer, but obviously she's coming back. I got a phone call from John Phillips' girlfriend at the time, Marcie, and she said, “John wants to have a talk with you downstairs, blah, blah, blah.” I thought, “Well, this is kind of weird. Finally I found his room and the door was jarred open. It looked not so much like a room as it did a conference room or something. I walked in, and there was everybody and they had a cake and they had a party for me, thanking me and saying good-bye to me. It was just the sweetest thing.

I went back to my life in San Diego wondering where do you go when you've done this, after you've played for the multitudes and the masses and being treated like this and then come back San Diego to play in a bar. I did go back to some music things with some friends. Suddenly a couple of hours later I was called to go back out on a tour with them for two weeks. “What's going on?” “Oh, Mackenzie, her back is hurting.” So I did that and then two months later they're going to Germany and “Oh, Mackenzie can't go - it's her back.” I still didn't realize that Mackenzie could not leave the country because her history of drug use would set off this big red flag,  it was just impossible for her to get through the border. I think at one point she wasn't welcome in a couple of countries. I was filling in for her. I was the stand-in, and so between 1986, '87, '88, '89, for those next four years, I stepped in quite a bit with the band.

At one point I became friends with Mackenzie. She would call me. “How are things goin' on the road? How are you doing?” So we got to know each other. One of her friends told me about an affair someone had with John Phillips. So like okay, whatever. Everybody probably does. She then said, “The reason I'm calling is that I'm really worried because Mackenzie is pregnant, and it's probably John's. I'm trying to figure all this out, and it's really not making any sense to me. So this friend of hers who is sleeping with John is telling me that there's something going on. I'm like, okay, I'm not going to believe this because this just sounds like a bunch of BS from someone who is just too high or too weird. It didn't make any sense.

So I called Mackenzie and I said, “Your friend is telling me some weird stuff.” I didn't even tell her what it was. She started revealing what was going on in a very matter-of-fact way. She just shared this whole thing with me. This was in 1990 before I became a full-fledged member of the band. I was like, “Wow, that's really intense.” She pretty much laid it all out for me. I believed every word of it. I don't think that she would mince words and I don't think she would lie about it. There would be no reason to lie about it. I never told a living soul except for my husband Chuck and a pastor friend of mine. In the 1990s, I was called again to go on the road with the Mamas & the Papas. At this point I had knowledge of what's going on. I was still just recently clean and sober myself. January 24, 1990 is my sobriety date.

When Mackenzie finally went into rehab and said she was leaving the band permanently, I stepped in with the Mamas & the Papas for the last time. John was with us. He was a mess. He was getting a liver transplant. He had done a couple of shows with us and it wasn't good. He was not well. He left the band to go get his liver transplant and Scott McKenzie took John's place.

When John left for good, did it make a big difference in the band, or did the band get better then?

Well, you know, without John there it was different. It was just different. We only had one original member left in the band and Denny was definitely more stable. Denny was truly the strong lead singer of the Mamas & the Papas. At this point I know what's going on and I'm wondering what they know. I kept that in my heart for all of those years until 20 years later Mackenzie came out with her book. She's getting slammed by all these people who are saying it didn't happen, so I came forward in San Diego and I supported her and I still support her.

You dated Andy Kaufman at one time in Chicago.

I did. I was singing at a club in Chicago and one night I sat at the bar to get a drink or something, and there sitting at the bar was Andy Kaufman. I went, “Oh. Andy Kaufman,” and he said, “Where?” (Laughter) and I said, “Right there.” I pointed to him, and he laughed. He said, “Was that you up there singing?” I said, “Yeah.” He was staying at the hotel we were playing.  We were at the hotel five nights a week, my friend, Barb, and I, and so he came over to the bar every night and would come and hear us sing.

So one night he asked, “Hey, can I come and take you out for breakfast after?” After we finished playing we'd sometimes go to Denny's down the street and have some food. We'd hang out and talk and exchange phone numbers. He'd say he's here for only a couple of weeks doing this or that and that he has a sister that lives here. It turned out that his sister just lived a few blocks from my house. Andy would call me when he got in town. Sometimes he'd just call me out of the blue and I wasn't really sure what to think about it because I really wasn't physically attracted to him, but I really liked him a lot. It wasn't unusual for me as a woman to have a lot of guy friends. I'd go out with plenty of guys where I'd just say, “Look, I like you a lot. We can be friends but nothing's going to happen between us. Get over it”. (Laughter).

He asked me out for dinner downtown, we hung out. He was a goofball. He did a lot of funny, funny things in public with me. He'd have me do arm-wrestling in front of people. He was a ham. I could tell you a million Andy Kaufman stories because we had so much fun. He was very much into transcendental meditation, so we'd turn off all the lights, me and Jinny and Andy. He said, “Okay, I want you to wait and just see what's going to happen.” 

“Okay.” We were giggling and he's like, “Shhh, shhh, just wait.” He'd be breathing and I was thinking he was going to levitate off the floor. You hear a lot of these things when people are meditating. We didn't know. We were just waiting and waiting. He'd be like real quiet. He'd keep shushing us and finally we'd calm down, and we were waiting for something to happen. Then he just goes, “Baccchhh.” (Laughter) He was just a funny guy. He would tell me a story about something that happened to him and how he went to this diner with this friend and that this friend told him, “When you go to the diner, whatever you do, when you talk to the chef, make sure to let him know you really like the food just say, “Tootamakahari.'” So he went into this restaurant, you know, this Parisian restaurant and at the end he said, “I want to see the chef.” He went back to the kitchen and he said to the chef, “Tootamakahari.” The chef said, ““Tootamakahari, Tootamakahari!!!  All the men were chasing him from the restaurant. All the cooks and the chef were yelling at him, “Rarrr, rarrr, rarr.”  He jumped on this train and got away. He found out later that Tootamakahari was something like a god in Asia. He'd tell us this story and we were like, “Wow.” Then he'd go, “Did you believe that story?” (Laughter) We'd go, “Yeah.” He said, “Well, it didn't happen.”

This is how Andy Kaufman goes to the movies. We'd get a ticket to see the movie, we'd watch it for 15 minutes, and then he'd say, “Hey, such-and-such is playing next door. Let's see that one.” So we'd leave that theater and go to the theater in the next room, and we'd watch part of that movie (Laughter). So we'd watch four partial movies. We'd have to go back the next day so he could catch up. He just had it all timed. It was really funny. After all this running around and flirting around, he never really kissed me. We held hands and we hugged, you know, but nothing really intimate.

Once he came to me and said, “I'm living alone. Do you want to come and see my room?” I said, “Well, um, you know I've kind of got stuff going on and I don't really have time to come out tonight. I don't know Andy, what is it you're actually asking me?” He said, “Well, don't get all upset or anything about it. I've got a girlfriend. I'm not asking you to be my girlfriend. I've got somebody I love very much. I was just asking you to come out and see my room but that's okay, you don't have to. He got really defensive.

I said, “Oh, no, no, don't take it that way. I was just asking.”  Well, that was the end of that conversation. I saw Andy about a month or so afterward. I said, “You know I read this article in the Enquirer. It says that you have lung cancer and that you're dying. Is any of that true? I just want to check and make sure you're okay.”

He said, “Don't worry. All that stuff is just bullshit. Don't believe any of it.”  He died two weeks later.


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