John Len­non’s first wife wrote two mem­oirs

CYN­THIA LEN­NON, 1939 - 2015

Los Angeles Times - - OBITUARIES - Times staff and wire re­ports news.obits@la­times.com

Cyn­thia Len­non, who had a short, tur­bu­lent mar­riage to Bea­tles star John Len­non in the 1960s, died Wed­nes­day at her home in Ma­jorca, Spain. She was 75.

The cause was can­cer, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment on her son Ju­lian Len­non’s web­site.

Cyn­thia and John Len­non met at the Liver­pool Col­lege of Art in the late 1950s. “He was al­ways around, al­ways sur­rounded by peo­ple who were in awe of him,” she said in a 1995 Lon­don Times in­ter­view. “He was em­bar­rass­ingly funny, and you couldn’t re­sist it.”

Au­thor Hunter Davies, who wrote the only au­tho­rized Bea­tles bi­og­ra­phy in 1968, de­scribed her as “quiet and re­served and calm.” He said their friends at art school never thought the re­la­tion­ship would last be­cause they were so dif­fer­ent.

But they mar­ried in 1962, when she was preg­nant with Ju­lian. It was the same year the Bea­tles made their first sin­gle, “Love Me Do.”

Cyn­thia Len­non has been por­trayed as want­ing only a sim­ple, do­mes­tic life, but she said in a 1995 in­ter­view with the In­de­pen­dent in Lon­don that that was far from the truth. “I was train­ing as an art teacher for four years, and it was only when I be­came preg­nant that mar­riage fol­lowed, and the Bea­tles fol­lowed af­ter that,” she said.

She was born Cyn­thia Lillian Pow­ell on Sept. 10, 1939, in Black­pool, Eng­land. She grew up in the sea­side town of Hoy­lake, where she was a soloist in the lo­cal girls’ choir but wanted to pur­sue a ca­reer in art. She en­rolled in the art col­lege in nearby Liver­pool in 1957.

Bea­tles manager Brian Ep­stein wanted the cou­ple to keep their mar­riage se­cret, be­liev­ing it would be bet­ter if fans thought the Fab Four all were sin­gle. But as the group shot to fame, it was in­evitable word would get out. When the Bea­tles made their live Amer­i­can TV de­but in 1964 on “The Ed Sul­li­van Show,” su­per­im­posed on a close-up of John Len­non was, “Sorry Girls, He’s Mar­ried.”

But Cyn­thia Len­non didn’t take well to the trap­pings of rock star life. “The first thing to do is if you’re a pop star and you get a lot of money, you buy a man­sion,” she said on the public ra­dio show “Fresh Air” in 2010. “All of a sud­den, you find your­self with a chauf­feur and a house­keeper and a cook and an in­te­rior designer and all the things in life that you’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore.”

Mean­while, she and her hus­band were drift­ing apart. Be­sides his all-con­sum­ing life as a Bea­tle, he was ex­per­i­ment­ing with drugs and had mul­ti­ple af­fairs. The mar­riage fi­nally came apart when she came home from a trip to find artist Yoko Ono dressed in her bathrobe in the house.

Af­ter the 1968 di­vorce — in which she got cus­tody of Ju­lian, the house and 100,000 pounds (about $240,000 at the time) — Cyn­thia Len­non tried many en­deav­ors. She was a TV host, recorded a song, sold much of her me­mora­bilia and wrote two mem­oirs.

She ended her 2005 book, “John,” say­ing she was grate­ful for her son. But she wrote, “If I’d known as a teenager what fall­ing for John Len­non would lead to, I would have turned round right then and walked away.”

John Len­non was killed by an as­sas­sin in 1980. Cyn­thia Len­non had four mar­riages — her last, to Noel Charles, ended with his death in 2013. She is sur­vived by her son.

Ed­ward Gamer Los An­ge­les Times

A DIF­FER­ENT PATH When Cyn­thia and John Len­non, seen in 1964, met in col­lege, she was an as­pir­ing art teacher.

The cou­ple mar­ried and had their son, Ju­lian, just be­fore the Bea­tles made it big in the U.S.

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