About Richard Lynn Carpenter
American pop musician Richard Carpenter is best known as one half of the brother/sister duo The Carpenters, along with his sister Karen Carpenter. He was a producer, arranger, pianist and keyboardist, and occasional lyricist, as well as joining with Karen on harmony vocals.
Born Richard Lynn Carpenter on October 15, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut to Agnes Reuwer Tatum and Harold Bertram Carpenter, he was named after his father's younger brother, Richard Lynn Carpenter. Coincidentally, Carpenter and his uncle both married women named Mary.
Carpenter frequently played the piano while his sister, Karen, played baseball outside. He and Karen also liked to listen to the children's records his father bought for him when he was young. He was introduced to Perry Como and Ella Fitzgerald, among many others, and by the age of 12, he knew he wanted to be in the music industry.
The Carpenter siblings moved with their parents to California in 1963 and settled in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey. Richard had developed his interest in music at an early age, becoming a piano prodigy. The move to southern California was intended in part to foster his budding musical career. Karen, meanwhile, did not manifest her musical talents until high school, when she joined the band and soon mastered the drums.
Along with a friend, the Carpenters won a 'Battle of the Bands' competition at the Hollywood Bowl, when Karen was just sixteen.
At this time named Spectrum, the Carpenters were signed by RCS Records in 1967. However, this was not a particularly successful relationship and, by 1969, the band had changed their name to The Carpenters and signed with A&M Records.
Their first album, 'Offering', was released in 1969 and, in the following year, the first single was released from it, entitled 'Ticket To Ride'. It was with the single, 'Close To You', later that year, that the duo would make a name for themselves.
By 1971 The Carpenters had hit the big time, touring the world and appearing on their own TV show, 'Make Your Own Kind Of Music'. By 1974 they were performing at the White House.
Behind the scenes the personal lives of the siblings were less than happy. Richard had developed a serious addiction to sleeping tablets and Karen had been suffering from the eating disorder, Anorexia Nervosa, for many years. After collapsing on stage at a concert in Las Vegas, in the mid 1970s, Karen was admitted to hospital but treatment did little to help her.
By 1979 Richard had voluntarily entered rehab, but Karen’s disease had conquered her. In 1983 Karen was found dead by her mother; years of starving herself and taking laxatives had put too much strain on her body, and she died of heart failure. Today Richard continues to write, produce and tour.
In 1984, Richard married Mary Rudolph, daughter of his mother's sister Bernice making her his first cousin (whose brother, Mark Rudolph, was the Carpenters' road manager, as well as the radio call-in "contestant" in the [Oldies] "Medley" on the 1973 album, Now & Then). Richard and Mary have five children: Kristi Lynn, Traci Tatum, Mindi Karen (named after his late sister), Colin Paul and Taylor Mary. The children and Richard sometimes perform music together at various Carpenter-related events. The family today resides in Thousand Oaks, California. He also funds an annual talent show for people with artistic abilities that is held at the Thousand Oaks Civic Center.