Karen Anne Carpenter (March 2, 1950 – February 4, 1983)

From: Little Girl Blue (2010), by Randy L Schmidt:

“…Karen was upbeat when discharged from (Lenox Hill Hospital) on November 8, 1982…Cherry O’Neill recalls, “…she was giving herself an imaginary deadline of Thanksgiving being the time she had to be ‘well’ so she could meet everyone else’s expectations of her.” As Dr. Irving George Newman, a Hollywood internist and father of musician Randy Newman, once told Cherry, “There are no contracts when health is concerned.” She shared this advice with Karen but was sure it fell on deaf ears. “That is hard medicine to take, in and of itself, especially for those of us who never want to let other people down…”

On Friday morning, February 4, Karen awoke and went downstairs to the kitchen, where she turned on the coffeepot her mother had prepared the night before. She went back upstairs to get dressed. Around 8:45 A.M. Agnes Carpenter heard the heavy mirrored closet doors slide open above her and Harold’s bedroom. “Karen’s up,” she said, getting up and heading to the kitchen, where she habitually prepared hot cereal and coffee each morning.

On the kitchen counter she saw the percolator Karen had hooked up and the place settings she had prepared – two cups for coffee and two bowls for the cereal. “Before she had always set it for herself, too,” Evelyn Wallace says, “along with a bunch of pills the doctor gave her to take. This particular morning it was just a cup for Harold and one for Agnes; nothing for Karen.”…

…The Downey Fire Department received Harold Carpenter’s call at 8:51 A.M. and dispatched Engine Company No. 64 as well as a nearby paramedic unit…

…At 9:51 A.M., Karen Anne Carpenter was pronounced dead…

In a radio interview taped shortly after Karen’s death, (Steven) Levenkron discussed the autopsy findings: “According to the L.A. Coroner, she discovered ipecac…and she started taking it every day…using ipecac for self-induced vomiting…It slowly dissolves the heart muscle…in sixty days she had accidentally killed herself…” “

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