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Karen Carpenter

American singer and drummer

Died when: 32 years 339 days (395 months)
Star Sign: Pisces


Karen Carpenter

Karen Anne Carpenter (March 2, 1950 – February 4, 1983) was an American singer and drummer who with her older brother Richard performed as the duo the Carpenters who were one of the biggest-selling American pop groups of all time.

With a distinctive three-octave contralto vocal range, she was praised by her peers as a great vocalist.Her struggle with and eventual death of heart failure related to her years-long struggle with anorexia would later raise awareness of eating disorders and body dysmorphia and their possible causes.

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, the Carpenters were signed to A&M Records in 1969, achieving enormous commercial and critical success throughout the 1970s.

Initially, Carpenter was the band's full-time drummer, but she gradually took the role of frontwoman as her drumming was reduced to a handful of live showcases or tracks on albums.

From then on she found her appearance under constant scrutiny and developed anorexia as a way to cope with the massive pressure to look slim on stage.

While the Carpenters were on hiatus in the late 1970s, she recorded a solo album which was shelved because Richard and A&M did not approve of it.

It was not released until 13 years after her death.At the age of 32, 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.

Interest in her life and death has spawned numerous documentaries and movies.Her work continues to attract praise, including appearing on Rolling Stone's 2010 list of the 100 greatest singers of all time.

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