Richard Theodore Otcasek (March 23, 1944 – September 15, 2019), known as Ric Ocasek, was an American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. He was best known as the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and songwriter for the rock band the Cars. In 2018, Ocasek was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Cars. Ocasek died Sunday in New York at age 75.
Police said they received a call around 4 p.m. for an unconscious male at a townhouse on East 19th Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Law enforcement sources confirmed the deceased was Ocasek.
Ocasek and his band were inducted into the Rock Hall in 2018. The institution described the band as “hook-savvy with the perfect combo of new wave and classic rock.”
The band had 13 top-40 singles, including radio staples like “Good Times Roll” and “Just What I Needed,” and Ocasek went on to a successful producing career after The Cars broke up in the late 1980s.
He was also known for his long-running marriage to the Czech supermodel Paulina Porizkova. She announced their separation in 2018 after 28 years of marriage.
They listed the 19th Street residence for sale earlier this year for more than $15 million.
Ocasek was married three times. He married early in life, but divorced and was married to his second wife, Suzanne Ocasek, in 1971. Ocasek was still married to Suzanne when he met 18-year-old model Paulina Porizkova during filming of the music video for the Cars’ song “Drive” in 1984. Ocasek and Porizkova were married on August 23, 1989. The couple had two sons, Jonathan Raven Otcasek (b. November 4, 1993), and Oliver Otcasek (b. 1999).
Ocasek had six sons, two from each of his three marriages. His eldest son, Christopher (born 1964), was a singer who formed the rock group Glamour Camp which released one album in 1989. Adam was born in 1970. Eron was born in 1973 and Derek was born in 1981.
He and co-founder of the Cars Benjamin Orr were close friends who became estranged when the band broke up. Their friendship was commemorated in the song “Silver”, which Ocasek wrote as a dedication to Orr upon his death in 2000.