September 19, 1941 – July 29, 1974
“If you truly dig what you are doing, if you lay it out that way, nobodycan not respond.
That’s what rock and roll is; it’s relentless.”
I honestly forget the kind soul that provided me with a copy of Cass inthe Pufnstuf movie – but thanks to that person you can check itout. Its a great magic 60’s TV moment. Cass used to live nextdoor to Sid and Marty Kroft. Think they got high and thought this up?
Cass Elliot, or Ellen Naomi Cohen as she was born, wasmost famous as Mama Cass, from the singing group, the Mama’s and thePapa’s. Findadeath.com friend Jim Ed Green sendsthis info: Cass was a real smart lady, with an I.Q. of 165. Also, she had a hell ofa time getting into The Mamas and Papas. In his biography “Papa John”, John Phillips says he was reluctant to let Cass into the group, not only because ofher size, it was also because her alto voice couldn’t hit the high notes John wanted for the group sound. She would follow the band everywhere, getting jobs whereverthey played, just to be around. Then, one strange day, Cass was walking past a construction site when a lead pipe fell and hit her on the head, knocking herout. After three days in the hospital with a moderate concussion, she joined a rehearsal the band was having- and she could hit the high notes Johnwanted! Cass was then, finally, invited to join The Mamas and Papas.
In 1974, she was staying inflat in Curzon Place,in the Mayfair district of London. A brown, unassuming apartment complex. Cass wouldenter the building and walk the stairs to flat number 9 . Cass was in the UK,performing her solo show to sold out audiences at the Palladium. She had left the group “TheMama’s and the Papa’s” in 1968, and was branching out on her own, with solo albums, arole in the 1970 film “Pufnstuf” and a guest spot on “Scooby Doo“.According to fellow “mama” Michelle Phillips who says she had spoken to Cass thenight before she died, “She had had a little champagne, and was crying. She felt shehad finally made the transition from Mama Cass.” She died on the 29th ofJuly, 1974 at age 32. The rumour about her choking on a sandwich began with an article in the London Times shortly afterher death.
Official Cause of Death: Fatty Myocardial Degeneration due to Obesity. Natural Causes.
Cass’s body was flown back to the United States, and was one of the last cremationsperformed at the former Hollywood Memorial Park, and is now buried in Mt. Sinai Cemetery,Los Angeles, CA. Courtof Tanach, Lot 5000, Grave 2F.
Trivia: Cass was arrested and spent a night in a London jail for allegedly stealing 2blankets and 2 keys from the EmbassyHotel , earlier in the year. Upon her release, Cass stated to the press, “Yourpolicemen were wonderful, but I don’t think much of your jails. There weren’t enoughblankets!”
MORE ADDED MARCH 2001 – thanks toFindadeath.com friend TED:
First off, I never knew Cass had a daughter. She “shocked the world” by having a baby at the height of TM&TP’ssuccess in 1967, and, just as shockingly for the times, never revealed who thefather was. Owen Elliot stepped up with the other three members of theband in her mother’s place when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hallof Fame in 1998.
But this is what really chafed my nuts: Denny Doherty, the second guy inthe group, talked at length (as did John and Michelle Phillips) about how much Cass was in love with him. It was totally one-sided. Denny had a thing for Michelle, and eventually woundup having an affair withher (who didn’t?) while she was married to John.
WhileJohn and Michelle were split (the first time–before they reunited just longenough to have Chynna), John and Denny actually lived together so they couldkeep an eye on one another! No matter, though: that slut Michellewas off boffing some other dude or two. All the while, Cass is carrying atorch as big as Lady Liberty’s for Denny.
After the group began to unraveland she struck out on her own, SHE ASKED HIM to marry her. He turned herdown. It was pretty apparent from everyone that she never recovered fromthe rejection.
So what’s so maddening about it?
This DICK-DICK-DOUBLE-DICK is now touring the US and Canada with a one-man showcalled “Dream a Little Dream,” where he sings, pays tribute to, andmakes money off of the woman whose heart he broke in a million pieces. Asmy dear friend Rhonda would say, “THAT takes balls the size of churchbells.”
OK, In fairness to Denny, findadeath.comfriend Sandy sends this in:
Denny Doherty is a great guy! He loved Cass withall his heart and considered her his best friend in the world. He just was never in lovewith her in the romantic sense. He was wise enough to be honest with her. Their great friendship did not end with Denny’s rejection of Cass’marriage proposal. The rejection did make Cass see reality and allowed
her to get on with her very short life.
Denny’s show is very respectful of Cass and showcases her many contributions to the music world. It is the story of The Mamas and The
Papas, warts and all.
I truly resent that a man of such talent and grace is slandered right there on the page devoted to his best friend. Denny brought much
happiness into Cass’ life and I think that is what should be remembered.
AND MORE! From findadeath.com friendFrani:
Thisis in reference to Ted’s update. I remember when I was in 3rd grade, at theclass Christmas party, we were asked to bring our favorite albums. This was1972. Anyway, a classmate, brought The Mamas &Papas album. At the time, Ireally didn’t know who they were. Anyway, I think it was the very next year,that Cass Elliot had a TV special called “Don’t Call Me Mama”. Iremember one of the last lines in the show was, she said. “Don’t call herMama, anymore. That’s for her daughter.”
Lastbut not least department, from Ted: Just read the rebuttal to my MamaCass contribution
from Sandy. Please add a little response from me if
you would be so kind:
“Sorry Sandy. I guess I didn’t have the whole picture. Forgive a bitchy old queen, won’t you?”
Checkout Cass’s official website, HERE.