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Last edited by Clean Up Bot
March 31, 2017 | History

Harry Chapin

7 December 1942 - 16 July 1981

Harry Forster Chapin was born in New York City, the second of four children of musician Jim Chapin. In 1950, his parents divorced, and he lived with his mother, Jeanne Elspeth, while his father toured as a drummer for Big Band era acts such as Woody Herman. A few years later, his mother remarried. As a child, he sang in the Brooklyn Boys Choir. As a teenager, he performed in a band with his brothers.

In 1960 Chapin graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School. He briefly attended the United States Air Force Academy, followed by Cornell University, but he did not complete a degree. In 1968 he married Sandy Cashmore.

Also in 1968, he directed his first documentary film, Legendary Champions, which was nominated for an Academy Award. In 1971, he quit film directing and became musician. He started playing in various local nightclubs in New York City. In 1972 he recorded his first album, Heads & Tales. In 1974, the song "Cat's in the Cradle" from his fourth album became a number one hit single. He also wrote and performed a Broadway musical The Night That Made America Famous, and he wrote the music and lyrics for the musical Cotton Patch Gospel.

In the 1970s, Chapin began working to combat hunger in the United States, and many of his concerts were benefits to support his charity World Hunger Year. In 1977, he also published a book of poetry, Looking...Seeing. In the last years of his life, he started The Harry Chapin Foundation to continue to raise funds for philanthropy.

In 1981, Chapin was killed in a traffic accident. In 1987, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his work on hunger.

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March 31, 2017 Edited by Clean Up Bot add VIAF and wikidata ID
October 12, 2010 Edited by caf21 merge authors
October 12, 2010 Edited by caf21 Added new photo
October 12, 2010 Edited by caf21 Added bio, added birth date, added death date, added alternate name, added Wikipedia link
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import