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Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

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Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

Old 09-30-19, 11:29 PM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

Old 10-04-19, 06:26 PM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

Ric Ocasek and Our Summer of ’84
It was the summer of 1984, Griffin Dunne was in an escalating feud with one neighbor—and his other neighbor, Ric Ocasek, seemed to know more than he was letting on.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2019

When my old friend Ric Ocasek passed away last week, at age 75, I thought back to our very first encounter. I was shooting the film After Hours—about a Manhattan night gone sour—in the summer of ’84, and one day Ric stopped by to visit the set. Director Marty Scorsese had invited him on the day that Verna Bloom’s character had covered me head to toe in Plaster of Paris to hide me from an angry mob that was roving the streets of SoHo, hoping to tear me to pieces.

I was entombed in a body cast with a tiny hole to breathe through, along with two peepholes over my eyes. Through those little slits I saw the unmistakable mop of jet-black hair that could only belong to the frontman of the Cars, which happened to be my favorite band.

Marty’s voice came from somewhere over my left shoulder.

“Griffin, this is Ric. He might write a song for the movie.”

“Wow, that’s incredible,” I said, not sure I could even be heard outside of my plastered head. “I’d shake your hand but as you can see…”

Marty pardoned himself and went about setting up the next shot.

Ric had a knowing sensitivity, realizing that you don’t just leave a man as helpless as a turtle on its back, alone. So he stayed to keep me company. We talked about a new album he was recording at Electric Lady Studios, just a few blocks from his apartment on 12th Street. I mentioned I was looking for an apartment, and he said the top floor of his brownstone had just come up for rent. To have an apartment in a building where Ric Ocasek lived would be a place I would have taken sight unseen.

But I did see it and moved in a week later, when After Hours had wrapped. It was a large studio with a floor-to-ceiling sliding glass window that overlooked gardens and the ground-floor terrace that Ric shared with his girlfriend, the unspeakably beautiful model Paulina Porizkova.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a couple more in love than those two. They hung on each other’s words and laughed uproariously over things an outsider couldn’t possibly understand. They spoke a language all their own that made you feel like you were eavesdropping on dolphins.

And then something really strange happened. During my first week in the building, I had an unpleasant encounter with a woman who lived in the apartment between Ric’s and mine.

She stood on the staircase blocking my descent with her stubby frame and angry, frizzy hair. Everything about her was angry. We had yet to exchange a word when she glared at me, insisting, “You left the fucking door open last night.”

“I did?”

“You turned the bolts on the bottom two locks but you didn’t do the top one. How fucking hard can that be? Someone could have come in and killed my husband and I in our sleep.”

“I didn’t realize...“

“You didn’t realize. You people from Hollywood and that asshole rock star downstairs don’t realize anything about anyone but yourselves.”

That I might have been recognized as an actor so early in my career momentarily calmed my terror of having been screamed at. But only for an instant.

“I have to put up with that dick Ocasek,” she went on, “leaving the door open and the paparazzi and groupies hanging out front, and now I have another selfish asshole risking my life.”

I never saw photographers—or groupies—the entire time I lived there, not that I would have minded them. But I decided not to enflame her further and apologized before pushing my way past.

I tried to calm down by taking a trip to a supermarket up the street and stocking up on enough quarts of ice cream, chips, and beer to get me through the week. Returning home, I made sure to properly lock the door behind me and tiptoed past my wrathful neighbor’s apartment. One of the grocery items I put away in the fridge was a pack of individually wrapped Kraft cheese slices.

Once everything was put away, I noticed a single slice of wrapped cheese on the floor, in the middle of my apartment. This was particularly odd because I hadn’t yet opened the package of cheese that I’d bought. So how, I wondered, did it get there? I went to pick it up and noticed a scrap of paper inside the plastic wrapper. I took it out and turned it over. On it was a drawing of a skull and crossbones and below that was written, GET OUT OF THE BUILDING NOW!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Wow. Fuck. Wow.

I took the cheese and the death threat straight to Ric and Paulina’s apartment and told them about the standoff we’d had in the stairwell. Ric somberly inspected the note and the cheese slice.

“Yeah man, that lady is really crazy. It’s got to be her. How did she get into your apartment?”

That she might have keys hadn’t occurred to me. A wave of dread washed over me. Ric handed me back the cheese.

“You’re going to have to confront her with this.”

I’m not ashamed to say this woman scared the shit out of me, and the thought of another confrontation hit me with a second wave of dread. So, coward that I was, I put it off. Two days went by. And then I found yet another slice of cheese on the floor in the middle of my apartment. The same skull and crossbones. Only this time the note said:


Again, I went to Ric’s with the cheese and the note.

“This is baaaaad,” Paulina said, gravely. “That lady is one crazy bitch.”

I knew what had to be done. Ric poured me a stiff vodka to fortify my courage. I climbed the gallows to her apartment with the evidence in hand and knocked on her door. No answer. I knocked again and felt guilty relief that no one was home. But, of course, I was just putting off the inevitable and vowed to return the next day.

Assuming the lady had a job of some kind, I waited until the end of the day when she would be home from work. And with both slices of cheese in hand, I approached her apartment door. The smell of meatloaf wafted into the hallway. Remembering how the shot of vodka gave me a temporary set of balls, I detoured back to my apartment to pour myself one before returning. It had started to drizzle and the rain was making its way through the sliding window that I kept open pretty much all summer.

As I went to close them, I happened to look down on the ground floor terrace. And there was Ric Ocasek, pitching his arm back, a slice of cheese in his hand, aiming for my open window!

“Ric, you fucker!!!” I yelled. Paulina was by his side, and they doubled over in hysterics. Of course, I did too.

I share this because I miss him a great deal, even though, after that brief spell on 12th Street, we only saw each other occasionally by happenstance in the East Village or in upstate New York, where we both had houses. I also share this because of all the touching and laudatory obituaries I’ve read about Ric, this story would never have appeared because it only happened to me. And it happened during a time when we were both young and hungry, embracing New York City and newfound fame in all of their exhilarating strangeness.

Yes, he was a brilliant guitarist and record producer and singer-songwriter, whose music will still be admired by kids not yet born, but he was also a free spirit, a pal, and a hilarious prankster with a partner in crime who gave him two beautiful boys and a shitload of laughs.

I smile every time I see an individual slice of Kraft cheese.

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Mabuse (03-04-20)
Old 10-05-19, 07:45 PM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75


Paulina Porizkova Remembers Ric Ocasek’s ‘Incredible Gentleness’

“When he looked at you and smiled, it was like, ‘Oh, my God, he smiled at me! The sun came out — it’s amazing!'” Ocasek’s widow says

David Browne October 4, 2019 10:59AM ETStarting in the late Seventies, few rockers were as visually iconic as the CarsRic Ocasek, who died on September 15th of natural causes; he was 75. Equally iconic was Ocasek’s longtime wife, Paulina Porizkova, the Czech-born model who met Ocasek on the set of the Cars’ “Drive” video in 1984.

The two married five years later, although Porizkova announced last year that the couple had separated in 2017. With their two sons, Porizkova was helping tend to Ocasek after a recent surgery, and it was she who first discovered Ocasek’s body at their townhouse in New York’s Gramercy Park. Earlier this week, Porizkova spoke with Rolling Stone about Ocasek’s life, death, and recent years.

I always said Ric looked like an upside-down exclamation mark. A lot of people found that really forbidding and found him intimidating, which he could very much be. As a person, he could be very aloof and sort of withdrawn. You could be intimidated by his height, thinness, black-clad persona, sunglasses, and all that.

But he had an incredible gentleness about him when you got to know him. If he pushed his sunglasses onto the bridge of his nose and you saw his turquoise eyes, people would know. He had the most beautiful colored eyes, which really surprised people because people often did not see his eyes. And when he looked at you and smiled, it was like, “Oh, my God, he smiled at me! The sun came out — it’s amazing!”

Cars music amuses me endlessly, like when people sing a song like “Let the Good Times Roll” unironically. Did they pay attention to the lyrics? Do you know what you’re singing? These are not happy, cheerful lyrics. The music had the element and the pop and the simplicity and musicality of Buddy Holly, who of course was a major hero of Ric’s, but lyrically, Ric was much starker. He was the guy who liked sweet and dark.His decision to leave the Cars [right before he and Porizkova were married] was really a decision to disband the Cars. At that stage, he felt hemmed in creatively. He had been sort of the dictator of a very small country, and I think it was wearing on everybody. All the guys were fond of each other, really, but it had run its course at that time. I know creatively he really wanted to stretch his wings and get a little weirder and a little more esoteric and go in unexpected directions. He had had so much success with the Cars, and I think he was almost bored with it. People expected the Cars thing; the hooks. He was like, “Fuck that, I want to do something else.”

He also detested the whole “Hello, Cleveland!” bit. Even onstage when they would tour, he would try to get it as precise as you could. He really admired James Brown. Brown was completely anal about the perfection of his backup band, and Ric really appreciated it. He could value sloppiness in other artists, if it was part of their art. But it wasn’t him as a person. He was extremely precise as a person.

“He would … get meticulously dressed like he was going to a photo session and go down to the basement and work all day, even if nobody was in the house.”

To other people it seemed like he was chilling out at home with his kids. That’s not actually true. Our house had a studio in the basement; so on days when he didn’t leave, he was still immersed in music 24 hours a day. He was a complete workaholic. He would wake up and get meticulously dressed like he was going to a photo session and go down to the basement and work all day, even if nobody was in the house. You wouldn’t catch him dead in a pair of sweatpants.

I think on his first two solo records he was a little disappointed [with their lack of commercial success] because every Cars record had been a hit. It seemed to be automatic. So he almost expected some of that to rub off on his solo albums even though he was venturing into different terrain. But after the initial two, he went, “OK, you know what? People aren’t buying my records, so I’m going to do whatever the fuck I want. I’m going to do my thing. I’m not doing it for other people, I’m doing it for me.”

And then, of course, Ben got sick [Cars bassist Orr died of pancreatic cancer in 2000], and that was a real hit for Ric. He didn’t want to speak of it. It was very hard for him. He wrote that song about Ben, “Silver” [on Ocasek’s 2005 [i]Nexterday album], and I think that was the only time I really heard him say how he felt about Ben. They were best friends at one point. Ben’s passing really scared Ric.

Quite honestly, he did the [Cars 2011 reunion] for our boys, who never got to see him as a rock star. He wanted them to see what dad did. I remember this well: Our oldest, Jonathan, was in preschool, and his teacher came up to me after school and said, “We had a meeting in the morning, and we were all talking about what everyone’s parents did. They said, ‘My father’s a doctor’ and things like that.” Jonathan’s answer was, “My dad goes into the basement and my mom sits in the trailer.” I think Ric wanted to show the kids that he did more than work in the basement. The Cars played Lollapalooza, and I have pictures of my boys with the biggest grins ever watching their father. That’s the only moment when they got to see Ric was an artist and not just a man. They were kind of starstruck. It was a gift.

About three to four years before our separation, he played me a couple of tracks he’d done in the basement. It got me so excited. It was entirely new and different and still very him and really hooky. It was like him taken to the extremes — the sweetness of all music with pretty dark lyrics. It had some of his pop sensibilities. He loved Buddy Holly but also the Carpenters and Burt Bacharach. He had a crush on Karen Carpenter for a long time. He adored her voice. And those last songs incorporated all of that. I said, “This is magical — you need to go back and write four more [for an album].” But he never followed up on it. He tried and said, “It’s not coming to me.”

The music business changed, and the way things work now is not what he felt comfortable with. He was more involved with his art in the last two years since our separation. We both talked about how we were desperately trying to create something. I was working on my memoir, and he was trying to write music, and we were both having a rough time of it. There was a period of upheaval for us personally, and I think he could resort to his art as a comfort — whereas to actually be creative musically took too much effort at that point.

His death was not at all related to his heart or his surgery, which was two weeks earlier. I don’t know how much I want to say about the surgery, but it was successful. He was recuperating really well. So his passing was a fucking shock. The night before [his death], I had already made plans, and Jonathan had made plans, so I called my younger son Oliver, who was in school, and asked him if he could come home for the weekend to make sure someone was with his dad Saturday evening. He flew in and was with his dad that night, and on my way back home, I stopped and got some cookies for Ric. When I got there, he was sitting in his usual chair and I said, “I got some gooey cookies,” and he said, “OK, thanks, hon — I had some terrible cookies because I was in the mood for cookies, but I’ll have your gooey cookies tomorrow. I think I’m going to bed early since I‘m feeling a little sore.” And that was the last time I saw him alive.

In the morning, I came [back] and made coffee. It was 10 in the morning, and I said I’m going to peek in and make sure he’s OK. I thought he slept a little too long. He was getting up earlier after his surgery because of hospital protocol. Generally he got up pretty late, 10 or 11. So I peeked into the bedroom, and he was in a position he always slept in — on his back, mouth vaguely open. He would sometimes snore, and he always had one of his hands elegantly folded beneath his chin and his bathrobe next to him. I thought he was asleep.“We waited, and we got to circle the bed and hold hands and really say goodbye.”

I did some chores and then it was 11, and I thought, “This is weird, there’s something not right about this.” I poured the coffee and came upstairs to give it to him and he was in the exact same position; he hadn’t even moved a little bit. And at that point, I knew, but I couldn’t believe it. I walked up to him and he still looked asleep. Except he was really, really still and his eyes were a little bit open. I thought he was waking up, actually. I was about to wave my hand in front of his face and go, “Hey, I brought you coffee.” But I touched his cheek and it was like touching marble. That was pretty fucking awful.

His manager warned me that as soon as you call 911, watch out, things will start to happen. So I didn’t call 911 for a long time. He had died in the night, not at 4 or whatever they claimed. That’s when I put in the call to 911. I wanted Ric’s sons to get here so we could all say goodbye to him. So we waited, and we got to circle the bed and hold hands and really say goodbye. We were here with his shape for many hours after his death. It was kind of wonderful because we all understood he was gone. He definitely left us. But the minute I called 911, literally two minutes [after], there were paparazzi at our house. That’s just disgusting.

I’m still baffled by [the New York medical examiner’s announcement about heart issues]. Yes, Ric did have emphysema, but it wasn’t very bad; he didn’t need oxygen. He was fine to walk around and do whatever he wanted. He did a lot of walking. And he had atrial fibrillation aggravated by emphysema. But he never had high blood pressure. Attributing it to some super general thing was kind of puzzling to us. We knew he had those issues, but they were all very moderate and manageable. He quit smoking 14 years ago. I don’t exactly understand the postmortem, and I’m so super bummed and pissed off that stuff like this is public knowledge. Thanks — so while we grieve, why don’t you all take apart what my husband died of?

But because of the surgery, all four of us had two weeks together every day. In the weirdest of ways, the surgery was a blessing. We had two weeks of just the four of us watching our favorite TV shows and me cooking or ordering in and hanging out. In this cloud of awfulness, that was a silver lining.

I can’t help but be incredibly grateful. How many people get to pass like that? One of our friends said, “You get to pick your life, and you’re told you get to struggle and then become incredibly successful and influential and meet the woman who adores you and be with her for 30 some years and have a bunch of kids and die in your sleep.” Who wouldn’t volunteer for that one? Who would say no? He was a really, really lucky man.

As told to David Browne
Old 10-07-19, 02:16 PM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

Both of those articles are great. Well worth the read - thanks for posting them, guys
Old 03-03-20, 07:04 PM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

She and the kids were left out of his will.

Maybe she liked him more than she liked her or there was a big fight or did not want them to have his hard earned money?

Paulina Porizkova, estranged wife of late The Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, chatted with CBS Sunday Morning over the weekend about their longtime relationship and unraveling the "tricky" guilt she feels after the 75-year-old rock star died Sept. 15, 2019, and left her -- as well as two of his sons from a previous marriage -- out of his will.

"It's made the grieving process really, really tricky, because I would love to just be able to be sad and miss him and not also feel this incredible hurt at his betrayal," she said in the interview. "Oh yeah, I feel betrayed. I sure do."

The 54-year-old supermodel said she put all of her earnings from her modeling career into their 28-year marriage and disclosed how upset she was to never get an answer as to why Ocasek made his decision. Earlier in the interview, Porizkova said she found "security" in The Cars frontman's older age, and that safeguard kept her beside him even through their separation.

"Rejection and loneliness were such traumatic specters in my life, and being with a man who possessed me, who fully possessed me, was really comforting," she told Mason. "He was still the man that I loved and that I had grown up with, and I couldn't really imagine life without him."

Old 03-03-20, 08:24 PM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

Paulina Porizkova has not aged well. At 54 she looks like she is in 70's.
Old 03-03-20, 08:54 PM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

Bride of Eddie?
Old 03-04-20, 10:25 AM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

She looks great. Jez you guys.
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Old 03-04-20, 10:52 AM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
She looks great. Jez you guys.
I can't watch the posted video, but the still is unflattering.

I could watch this video, from last year, and she looks phenomenal.

Old 03-04-20, 01:05 PM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

Dick move by Ric, but seriously, she's Paulina friggin' Porizkova. She never got paid as the #1 supermodel in the world? I mean, she's not some groupie he picked up while still playing at The Rat, so I don't feel all that sorry for her.
Old 03-04-20, 06:29 PM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

I think she went makeup-free in that CBS interview

Wonder why the kids did not get anything from the will either.
Old 03-05-20, 12:43 PM
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Re: Ric Ocasek of The Cars dead at 75

Originally Posted by JeffTheAlpaca View Post
I think she went makeup-free in that CBS interview

Wonder why the kids did not get anything from the will either.
Ocasek had six sons; two each from three different wives. From what I've read, the two sons he had with Paulina were included in the will, while two from a different wife were shut out. Not sure about the other two.

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