Robert Goulet (1933-2007)
When I was a married man, I took my wife to see the musical/play "Camelot" at the Wang Theater in Boston. Robert Goulet was the star of the show. He was fantastic! What an awesome singing voice he had. I still have the program and a t-shirt that I bought at the performance.
What I didn't know until today is that he hailed from Lawrence, Massachusetts - a town not far from where I live. So I copied the article from the Eagle-Tribune, Goulet's home-town newspaper, for you all to read.
Robert Goulet, whose baritone voice launched award-winning stage career, dies at 73
By Rosemary Ford , Staff Writer
The world knew Robert Goulet as a singer, actor and entertainment icon.
In his hometown of Lawrence, people knew him as the boy who sang at St. Anne's, as the Broadway actor who used to deliver The Eagle-Tribune and the dreamy-voiced singer who frequently visited his elderly aunt, the late Laura Goulet Moher, on Washington Street. You knew he was there by the black limousine.
The 73-year-old son of former millworkers Joseph and Jeanette died yesterday in Los Angeles while awaiting a lung transplant for a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring of the lungs.
Goulet gained stardom in 1960 with "Camelot," playing Lancelot in the Lerner and Loewe musical that starred Richard Burton as King Arthur and Julie Andrews as his Queen Guenevere.
He became a hit with American TV viewers with appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and other programs. Goulet won a Grammy Award in 1962 as best new artist and made the singles chart in 1964 with "My Love Forgive Me."
"When I'm using a microphone or doing recordings I try to concentrate on the emotional content of the song and to forget about the voice itself," he told The New York Times in 1962.
"Sometimes I think that if you sing with a big voice, the people in the audience don't listen to the words, as they should," he said. "They just listen to the sound."
While he returned to Broadway only infrequently after "Camelot," he did win a Tony Award in 1968 for best actor in a musical for his role in "The Happy Time."
Goulet had no problems poking fun at his own fame, appearing recently in an Emerald nuts commercial in which he "messes" with the stuff of dozing office workers. He also lent his name to Goulet's SnoozeBars.
"You have to have humor and be able to laugh at yourself," Goulet said in a biography on his Web site.
Goulet always seemed like an ageless performer. He celebrated his 70th birthday in Las Vegas, partying into the wee hours with family and friends. One journalist who attended the celebration compared Goulet to the ageless title character from Oscar Wilde's book "The Picture of Dorian Gray," who makes a pact with the devil in order to remain the picture of youth.
"(He) didn't see me when I get up in the morning," Goulet told The Eagle-Tribune, adding he stayed youthful by eating right and exercising - not devilish pacts. "I don't go in the sun - the only time I go in the sun is to play golf. I don't eat junk food - no fried stuff. My wife is a great cook and she keeps us healthy."
Goulet was born in Lawrence, where he got his start as a singer. Years later, he told The Eagle-Tribune about a nun he had for a teacher at St. Anne's Grammar School, who he called "a tiny Attila the Hun."
She whipped young Robert into shape academically.
"She scared the heck out of me," Goulet recalled. "I haven't been scared by too many things in my life, but she scared me."
It also took those nuns to get young Robert on stage. He suffered from stage fright since he was 3, when he blackened his face, borrowed his mother's white gloves and entertained his family with an Al Jolson impersonation. The family loved it - but the loud applause scared the preschooler.
To get him to overcome that fear, the Sisters forced the 11-year-old to sing at a church function. With his rendition of "Lead Kindly Light," Goulet wowed the crowd - including his dad, who hugged him with tears in his eyes after the show. Later, his father told him to use the talent God gave him, which Goulet called a turning point in his life.
Goulet left Lawrence after graduating from St. Anne's. But he did keep in touch with his family members. He also kept track of his beloved Boston Red Sox.
"I go all over the country working every day," Goulet told The Eagle-Tribune shortly before the team won the 2004 World Series. "I see the games. I look at who got all the hits. I follow that year-round, every year of my life."
In January 2004, Goulet pledged to ride his bicycle from his home in Las Vegas to Boston to realize a dream of singing at Fenway Park. He said at the time he refused to die without belting out a tune in front of the Beantown fans.
"I will last until then - even if it's 200 years," he said.
Goulet realized his dream at the season opener at Fenway this year, singing "The Impossible Dream" as each member of the 1967 "Impossible Dream" team walked out on to the field.
"I'm still shaking," Goulet said about five minutes after singing. "I still can't believe I really was here at Fenway Park, fulfilling a dream. I really feel like a kid today. I'll never forget it."
Goulet is survived by his wife, Vera. He also had a daughter with his first wife, Louise Longmore, and two sons with his second wife, actress Carol Lawrence, who played Maria in the original Broadway production of "West Side Story."
Today is the second anniversary of my first kidney stone surgery, which was my first surgery ever.
Labels: In Memoriam