Cass Elliot’s death spawned a horrific myth. She deserves better.

Cameron heard about Elliott’s death in the THR newsroom, where she was working at the time: “I went into professional mode and said, no one else is going to write that obituary. I’m going to do it.” She found Carl by phone in Nelson’s apartment. “He could barely speak,” Cameron recalled. She asked what happened and he said he didn’t know. “‘Oh, wait,'” she remembers him saying. “‘I saw a half-eaten ham sandwich on the bedside table. That’s good. You tell everyone she choked on the ham sandwich, you know what I mean?

“I did it,” she added, “because I wanted to protect Cass.”

What exactly was she protecting from? “I didn’t know there were a lot of drugs,” she said. “I’m just not one of those people. When she was going to London, I suspected she was taking some kind of medication, but I really didn’t know anything. In a split second, Carl and Cameron decided that a woman who had sex because of her weight And being laughed at and choked to death was even more shameful than her drug use. Cameron said: “It was a really horrific thing but I was too shocked to clean it up. “

She’s also baffled by the story’s persistence. “Of all the things I’ve ever done,” she said, “this ham sandwich has stayed with me my whole life.”

The story has also haunted Elliot-Kugel, although she felt some closure after Cameron privately revealed its origins to her over lunch in 2000. Ott-Kugel knows exactly what led to her mother’s death: “I mean, look. She hadn’t slept in 48 hours, and she was at a party. Go figure. But she didn’t want to dwell on it.” What was really important to me was that I didn’t want to write a sleazy book,” she said.

In a sense, any memoir written by a mom and dad’s kid exists in the shadow of Mackenzie Phillips’s 2009 explosive High on Arrival, in which she Accused her father, John Phillips, of sexual assault. But Elliott-Kugel’s memoir belongs on a different bookshelf entirely. It’s a humanizing portrait of a woman whose legacy has long been reduced to outdated urban legend.

This is a story about an imperfect mother and a grieving daughter, a story about loss and long-delayed catharsis. A few weeks before we spoke, Elliott-Kugel visited her mother’s grave. “It’s always weird when I go there because I never know what to say,” she said. “But it felt a little different that day because as I walked to the grave, I just said, ‘Hi.'” Just like I would greet my cousins, or someone I know well but haven’t seen in a while.

“I thought to myself, ‘Why, why do you feel like this?'” she said. It dawned on her: “I feel closer to her after this experience.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *