Friday, January 30, 2015

Obituary: Rod McKuen

Poet, writer, songwriter, and general oddball Rod McKuen, 81, has died. He spent his last days in a rehabilitation center in Beverly Hills. According to Associated Press, McKuen was suffering from pneumonia and could not digest food.

A person either loved or hated the guy. McKuen didn't care, for he wound up recording some 200 albums and 30 volumes of poetry. The checks kept coming in, so he must have been doing something right.

After going through a somewhat rough childhood where his father abandoned the family, he met Phyllis Diller, of all people, in San Francisco. She helped him get started in nightclubs around the area.


McKuen slowed down over the second half of his life, and many of his books fell out of print. However, he continued to publish poetry, remastered old musical recordings and gave occasional concerts. He provided voiceovers for the Disney movie and TV series "The Little Mermaid" and appeared at Carnegie Hall in 1995 for an 80th birthday tribute to Sinatra. Artists continued to record his songs, including the former Gene Ween, Aaron Freeman, who in 2012 released an album of McKuen covers called "Marvelous Clouds."

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