TOO young TO DIE: Karen Carpenter

In the early 70’s – a time dominated by drugs, the Vietnam War and the Manson-Murders – a picture perfect pair of siblings embodies the other, the clean America: the Carpenters. Their sound is something entirely different compared to the contemporary rock music: Easy Listening, harmony driven songs, elaborate arrangements by Richard Carpenter and the characteristic vocals of his sister Karen. They sign their record deal with the highly respected label A&M Records when Karen is only 19 years old. One year later they are at the top of the charts. Another 13 years later Karen dies at the age of 32. The cause of her death is anorexia. Nowadays, anorexic models and popstars are a recurring topic in the mainstream media – Karen Carpenter is considered to be the first public figure to die from anorexia.

The documentary “TOO young TO DIE: Karen Carpenter” addresses the Carpenters success while simultaneously taking a look into the abyss behind the seemingly perfect facade of the superstars.

Karen’s story is the story of a woman, who had to fight throughout her whole life. Against her mother, who always preferred her brother. Against that same brother, who struggled with accepting that Karen’s voice – rather than his musical talent – was the decisive factor for their success. And against the public and the media, who drove her into her eating disorder.

The film portrays Karen’s life through her music, archival footage of her performances, and a series of interviews. Friends and companions of Karen remember shared moments, while contemporary authors and artists discuss how and why she inspires them until this day.

Length 1 x 52'
Year 2019
Genre documentary
Director Jobst Knigge
Boadcast ZDF / arte