Grateful Dead legend Jerry Garcia died in 1995 at the age of 53. Although he did leave a will, it was less than clear, and his multi-million-dollar estate was soon up for grabs. Tonight on Investigation Discovery, The Will focuses on the many lawsuits, court dates and hurt feelings that surfaced and remained for years after the rock icon’s death.
A founding member of the Grateful Dead and leader of the Jerry Garcia Band, Jerry Garcia was recognized as an eclectic musician, performing and recording a variety of music, including country and folk. Additionally, many viewed Garcia as a representative of the 1960s psychedelic counterculture, and fans took on the nickname “Deadheads.”
Garcia was born Jerome John Garcia on August 1, 1942 in San Francisco, CA. His father was a musician/tavern owner, and his mother was a nurse before marriage. Unfortunately, his father, Jose, accidentally drowned while fishing when Garcia was five, and Garcia went to live with his grandparents while his mother, Ruth, took over the tavern. He returned to his mother’s care in 1953, when she remarried. At age 15, his mother presented him with a guitar for his birthday and he began playing in bands. After dropping out of high school at age 17 in 1960, Garcia joined the Army in April, but was dishonorably discharged later that same year, in December, indicates Allmusic.com.
Garcia was married more than once during his lifetime, but his longest relationship was with Carolyn Adams, aka Mountain Girl, who became Garcia’s common-law wife. They had two daughters, Annabelle and Theresa. When Garcia passed away, Mountain Girl became a target for Garcia’s current wife after a long history of animosity between the two women, as well as back-and-forth between Garcia. Mountain Girl was kept from attending any of the services following Garcia’s death, including the spreading of the singer’s ashes—a situation discussed in tonight’s episode of The Will.
In 1993, the Grateful Dead was the most successful touring act in the U.S., grossing $45.6 million; in 1994, they grossed $52.4 million, although that was only good enough to make them the fifth-most successful touring act in the U.S. for that year. In 1995, the band was releasing vintage material and their fans were appreciative and responsive, filling outdoor stadiums such as Soldier Field in Chicago on July 9, which turned out to be the last concert the band would ever play. After checking into the Betty Ford Clinic later in July in an attempt to break his heroin addiction, Garcia failed to complete the program and left after approximately two weeks. On August 8, he tried again at a rehab center in Forest Knolls, CA, but on August 9, 1995, Garcia had a heart attack as he slept and died at the age of 53.
For more information on Jerry Garcia, visit Allmusic.com.
The Will, "The Estate of Jerry Garcia," airs on Investigation Discovery tonight, Thursday, January 17, at 9 p.m. According to the ID Channel:
In 1995, Jerry Garcia, from the Grateful Dead, dies at 53. The rock legend leaves behind a family and a multi-million-dollar estate. Both Garcia's will and the IOU's he made spark lawsuits that land those closest to Garcia in and out of court for years.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Video: Investigation Discovery/The Will