Burt Bacharach New Memoir Discusses The Life, Death, And Suicide Of His Daughter; Nikki Was Undiagnosed With Aspergers[VIDEO]
By Staff Writer | May 21, 2013 06:46 PM EDT
Burt Bacharach has written a new memoir revealing the deep secrets about his life, including the death of his 40-year-old daughter who committed suicide after being undiagnosed with Aspergers.
Singer Burt Bacharach's daughter Nikki died alone in her California apartment at the age of 40, and Bacharach has opened up about his daughter's life and suicide in his new autobiography, Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music.
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Writing the memoir was the first time Burt Bacharach really came to terms with what happened to his daughter. It wasn't easy for the 84-year-old award-winning music composer to open up about the tragic suicide.
"It was very tough because I had to revisit what that period was and go deeper into it," Bacharach said.
"Nikki was one-pound, 10 ounces at birth, you should know the deck is stacked against you then," he explained in his new memoir.
According to Bacharach, she grew up with emotional issues, which he later found out was an undiagnosed case of Asperger's syndrome. "Nobody said she's got Asperger's or she's got autism. They said she's just got behavior things," he said.
The undiagnosed illness of to the painful decision to send her away to a special school, which he painfully regrets.
"There was always that resentment that I kind of imprisoned her and the last thing in the world you know," he said. "I wish somebody would have just said, you're not going to heal her, let her be."
Asperger's syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. People with Asperger's often have high intelligence and vast knowledge on narrow subjects but lack social skills.
She committed suicide in her southern California apartment, with nobody else around.
"When she did kill herself she did it alone, Textbook 101. Bag over her head. Alone. Kind of brave I guess for somebody who (was) scared of so many things and (she) left a note to me."
He later realized that the signs were always there, but thought that the strong relationship she had with her mother would prevent suicide from ever happening.
"They had a very connected, symbiotic relationship," he said, adding, "We all did everything we could. I did what I thought would be the right thing and it wasn't the right thing and I was just trying to get her better."
Burt says that his daughter left him a suicide not but will never read it. "I know exactly what's in the note. I never read the note. I never will," Bacharach said as his voice cracked in an interview. "There is no need to read it. I already know what she said."
Bacharach composed such classics 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."
Bacharach, has won three Academy Awards and eight Grammys. He helped write dozens of top 40 songs, covered by everyone from Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin to Alicia Keys and the cast of "Glee." His career spans decades of music history: He was Marlene Dietrich's arranger in the 1950s and '60s and caught on with audiences in recent years through his work with Elvis Costello and Dr. Dre. He has recently had small cameos in the "Austin Powers" movies.
He discusses how he was able to make music even with all the pain about his daughter's illness and death surrounding him.
"I was always able to alleviate the noise, some of the noise with what was going on with Nikki becoming a Sikh, or whatever, because I would go to my music. ... It was during that time I scored 'What's New Pussycat,' I scored the first 'Casino Royale.' I would get engrossed in my music because there's no other way for me."
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