The Carpenters were an American vocal and instrumental duo consisting of siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter. Producing a distinctively soft musical style, they became one of the best-selling music artists of all time. During their 14-year career, The Carpenters recorded 11 albums, 31 singles, five television specials, and a short-lived television series. Their career ended in 1983 by Karen’s death from heart failure brought on by complications of anorexia. Extensive news coverage surrounding the circumstances of her death increased public awareness of eating disorders.
The duo’s brand of melodic pop produced a record-breaking run of hit recordings on the American Top 40 and Adult Contemporary charts, and they became leading sellers in the soft rock, easy listening and adult contemporary genres. The Carpenters had three No. 1 singles and five No. 2 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and fifteen No. 1 hits on the Adult Contemporary chart. In addition, they had twelve top 10 singles. To date, The Carpenters’ album and single sales total more than 100 million units.
On February 3, 1983, Karen visited her parents. The following morning, February 4, her mother found her lying unresponsive on the floor of a walk-in closet. After they spent 20 minutes in a waiting room, a doctor entered to tell Richard and his parents that Karen was dead. The autopsy stated that Karen’s death was caused by emetine cardiotoxicity resulting from anorexia nervosa. Under the anatomical summary, the first item was heart failure, with anorexia as second. The third finding was cachexia, which is extremely low weight and weakness and general body decline associated with chronic disease. Emetine cardiotoxicity implied that Karen abused ipecac syrup, although there was no evidence to suggest that Karen abused it as her brother and family never found ipecac vials in her apartment, even after her death.
At her funeral, more than a thousand mourners attended, among them her friends Dorothy Hamill, Olivia Newton-John, Petula Clark, Dionne Warwick and Herb Alpert.
On October 12, 1983, the Carpenters received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a few yards from the Dolby Theatre. Richard, Harold and Agnes Carpenter attended the inauguration, as did many fans.
Karen’s death brought media attention to anorexia nervosa and also to bulimia. – Wikipedia