Died when: 32 years 339 days
Star Sign: Pisces
Karen Anne Carpenter (March 2, 1950 – February 4, 1983) was an American singer and drummer who, along with her elder brother Richard, was part of the duo The Carpenters. She was praised for her 3-octave contralto vocal range. Her drumming abilities were viewed positively by other musicians and critics. Her struggles with eating disorders would later raise awareness of anorexia and body dysmorphia. Carpenter was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and moved to Downey, California, in 1963 with her family. She began to study the drums in high school and joined the Long Beach State choir after graduating. After several years of touring and recording, Carpenters were signed to A&M Records in 1969, achieving commercial and critical success throughout the 1970s. Initially, Carpenter was the band's full-time drummer, but gradually took the role of frontwoman as drumming was reduced to a handful of live showcases or tracks on albums. While Carpenters were on hiatus in the late 1970s, she recorded a solo album, which was released years after her death. Briefly married in the early 1980s, Carpenter suffered from anorexia nervosa, which was little-known at the time. Her death from heart failure at age 32, related to complications of her illness, led to increased visibility and awareness of eating disorders. Her work continues to attract praise, including appearing on Rolling Stone's 2010 list of the 100 greatest singers of all time.