It was a day of memories and memorials. Sunday, May 20, in Griffith Park and the Greek Theatre, I was producing the California Music Festival and AIDS Walk for AIDS Healthcare Foundation & Pharmacy. I had written a tribute to my old pal Dick Clark and convinced Magic Johnson to drop by and honor Soul Train and Don Cornelius. To recognize the passing of Donna Summer, we asked Katrina Parker from NBC’s The Voice to sing “On The Radio.”
Then one by one it began to occur. Friends came up to tell me they had just heard Robin Gibb had passed from cancer at the age of just 62. Robin was the co-founder of the Bee Gees, along with his fraternal twin brother Maurice and older brother Barry. He was also my friend. I met the brothers Gibb 30 years ago when I managed their younger brother Andy. The Bee Gees sold over 200 million albums, and Andy had hits with songs including “Shadow Dancing” and “I Just Want To Be Your Everything.”
Andy was a sweet, sweet man, a recording and television star who was forever plagued by addiction. His demons finally did him in back in 1988. I had first met Andy when we did a television show together called Solid Gold. He then moved down the street from me in Malibu with the true love of his life, TV star Victoria Principal. They were a mess and made Chris Brown and Rihanna look like couple of the year. It was a nasty, lousy relationship fueled by abuse. Paramount Television fired Andy as host of Solid Gold, and later he was canned from the Broadway production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. There were still concerts in Las Vegas, Reno and Atlantic City for Andy, yet he was fading fast.
Any time things were really spinning out of control, I would take him to Star Island near Miami to get him clean. All his brothers lived there, and it was the only place on Earth we could collectively keep him in line. Barry and Robin were always so sweet to Andy. Barry bought Andy a condo in Miami, and it was at Robin’s estate in London where he took his final dance with death and that time lost. Robin was a serious vegan and teetotaler, yet never stopped trying to help Andy get back on track.
The Gibbs’ father Hugh was a riot. He was just the funniest man on Earth. He passed his humor on to his kids, and even just months before his passing in 1992, he would troll whatever he could to charm cute gals with stories of his boys. Hugh loved the ladies.
Their mother, Barbara, is one of the dearest people on Earth. She loved them all, but Andy was special. Whatever casino I had Andy performing in, Barbara and Andy shared a two-bedroom suite and watched TV and ordered room service. They were inseparable after Victoria was out of the picture. This woman, who still loves her nickel slots, has seen so much sadness and despair. Andy, Hugh, Maurice and now Robin are all gone.
In 1997, the Bee Gees taped a TV special in Las Vegas titled One Night Only. Barbara and I held each other and cried like babies when the boys sang along to a video of their long-gone brother Andy. At 3 a.m. the phone in my hotel rang, and it was Barbara telling me to get my butt back to the party!
Barbara had kept me up to date on Robin’s worsening condition, so it wasn’t a surprise, just a sad shock to my system, that brought back both wrenching and wonderful memories.
Most of us are martyrs to minor ailments, so when we see something so real and dark happening to people we love, both fading away and having to live with the loneliness of loss, it is just horribly distressing. My thoughts are with Barbara, Barry and Linda, Robin’s kids, his widow Dwina and the entire Gibb family and friends. At 91, Barbara told me she believes the family is cursed.
My prayers are with her, and if you have any extra lying about, please toss them her way. This lovely, radiant spirit deserves them. I so admire courage, fortitude and humor more than any other human qualities, and Barbara Gibb has all three. RIP, Robin! Thank you, ya old mucker!