Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pushing Up The Tulips -

Herbert Khaury (April 12 1932 – November 30 1996) better known by the stage name Tiny Tim, was an American singerukulele player, and musical archivist. He was most famous for his rendition of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" sung in a distinctive high falsetto / vibrato voice (his normal singing voice was baritone). He was generally thought of as a novelty act, though his records display a wide knowledge of American songs. He had no official middle name, though some web sites report that it was "Butros," his father's first name, but adopted Buckingham for no explained reason. Accordingly, his headstone reads "Khaury / Herbert B / Tiny Tim / 1932 1996".

Toward the end of his life Tiny Tim became a fixture at "Spooky World," an annual Halloween-themed exposition in Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. He also appeared in tongue-in-cheek television commercials for area merchants.

He befriended a young musician and neighbor, Conductor Jack Norton, acted as his mentor, and taught Norton how to play the ukulele.

In September 1996, he suffered a heart attack just as he began singing at a ukulele festival at the Montague Grange Hall (often confused in accounts of the incident with the nearby Montague Bookmill, at which he had recorded a video interview earlier that same day) in Montague, Massachusetts. He was hospitalized at the Franklin County Medical Center in Greenfield, Massachusetts for approximately three weeks before being discharged with strong admonitions to no longer perform due to his state of health and the difficulty of proper dietary needs for his diabetic and heart conditions.

He continued to play concerts despite the warnings that, due to the fragile state of his heart, he could die at any moment. While playing "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" at a Gala Benefit at The Woman's Club of Minneapolis on 30 November of that year, he suffered another heart attack on stage. He was led out by his third wife, Susan Marie Gardner ("Miss Sue", whom he had married on 18 August 1995), who asked him if he was okay. Tim responded, "No, I'm not!", his final words. He collapsed shortly thereafter and was rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died after doctors tried to resuscitate him for an hour and fifteen minutes. He is interred in the mausoleum ofLakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.

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