Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Burt's agony over daughter suicide

Burt Bacharach's memoir is called Anyone Who Had A Heart: My Life and Music (Scott Gries/Invision/AP)

Burt Bacharach has said writing his autobiography forced him to come to terms with the suicide of his daughter.

"It was very tough because I had to revisit what that period was and go deeper into it," he said of his daughter Nikki's premature birth, years of emotional issues, and eventual suicide at 40 in 2007.

The 84-year-old award-winning music composer of classics such as I'll Never Fall In Love Again, the Oscar-winning Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head and The Carpenters' (They Long To Be) Close To You, understood that baring his deep, dark secrets was essential to his recently-released book, Anyone Who Had A Heart: My Life And Music .

Bacharach had Nikki with former wife Angie Dickinson, best known for her role on the 70s drama Police Woman.

According to the music legend, she grew up with emotional issues, which he later found out was an undiagnosed case of Asperger's syndrome (the autism spectrum disorder is a relatively new diagnosis). But after suffering for so long, he never imagined she would actually kill herself.

"It's like the boy who cried wolf. Somebody who says, 'I can't stand it. The helicopters are making too much noise and the gardeners and the blowers are making too much noise and if they don't stop I'm going to kill myself'," he said. "And you hear that enough and you know it's never gonna happen and then one day she just goes and kills herself."

With his family struggles hidden from the world, Bacharach continued to make great music.

And while he continues to make music - he has an upcoming project for a musical with Elvis Costello - Bacharach is still haunted by his daughter's death.

When her body was discovered, it was revealed that Nikki had left him a note.

"I know exactly what's in the note. I never read the note. I never will," Bacharach said as his voice cracked. "There is no need to read it. I already know what she said."

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