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August 24, 2020 2:35 pm  #1

Helen Reddy Suffering From Serious Ailment

A couple of years ago, I saw a documentary on Helen Reddy that I think was made by the Australian version of 60 Minutes. It showed this aging lady living in a nice condo in a nice building, but hardly in the lap of luxury. It was Helen Reddy, who had left showbiz and - while she could be residing in a mansion from the profits made during her recording career - chose instead to live an unassuming life in near obscurity Down Under. But she appeared to be happy.

Sadly, that seems to have changed. The article below is about a biography of the "I Am Woman" pioneer, who carved a ton of hits in the 70s, that will air on an Oz-based streaming channel called "Stan." But there's one sentence almost cavalierly thrown away in the story that's unutterably sad:

"Reddy, who’s been diagnosed with dementia, now lives in a Los Angeles nursing home for professional entertainers." 

I was surprised to hear of the diagnosis and that she'd moved to the States.

Actually, I wasn't a huge fan of "Woman," although I recognize its importance as one of the first feminist anthems. Her later hits, like Ruby Red Dress, Angie Baby, Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady or Keep On Singing were far better in my mind. 

Next to the Bee Gees, she may be the biggest international music star to ever come from Australia. 

My mother suffered from dementia for over a decade before it took her life last year, and I know what Reddy's family and friends are in for. It sounds like, for the moment, she's still fairly aware of everything. But the decline is inevitable and only a matter of time. Like Glen Campbell before her, what a sad ending for such a great career.
I Am Woman: how Helen Reddy’s music roared through the women’s movement 

Last edited by aflem (August 24, 2020 2:36 pm)


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