Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Burt's agony over daughter suicide

This May 6, 2013 photo shows composer Burt Bacharach posing for a portrait in promotion of his memoir, "Anyone Who Had A Heart: My Life and Music," in New York. (Photo by Scott Gries/Invision/AP)
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."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News

Horoscopes

Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Capricorn:

Your heart and head are working in perfect harmony. This is a good time to make plans for the future. Pursuing a childhood dream is strongly advised. You're a highly practical person who doesn't like building castles in the air. Stop disparaging fantasies. They can take you to incredible heights. The prospect of fulfilling your potential should appeal to an ambitious person like you. Fortunately, friends will be very supportive. Ask for help whenever you get stuck in a tight corner.More