Wednesday, August 06, 2014

I Learned A Lot About Marvin Gaye from the Doc "Final 24"

I've burned through so many shows lately on Netflix that I have been struggling to come up with something else decent to watch. I am beginning to get desperate. Last night, I stumbled onto a series I had never seen or heard of before called, The Final 24. This is an investigative show that looks into the last 24 hours in the lives of famous celebrities who died young (or at least not of natural causes).

I started with John Belushi because I basically already knew the story. I wanted to see if this show matched up to what I had read. It did, for the most part, and included interviews with people like Dan Akyroyd and Belushi's manager. Seemed legit.

Next I decided to watch the Marvin Gaye episode, because despite knowing roughly what had happened to him, I really knew very few details. I never knew, for example, that Gaye's father was a minister and strict disciplinarian. He was also a cross dresser who wore women's clothing around the house, and slept in a separate bedroom than his wife. The cross dressing thing was known throughout the neighborhood, and caused a great deal of bullying to be inflicted upon a young Marvin

Gaye's father was a violent man who demanded absolute obedience from his wife and children. He instilled fear in his entire family. When Marvin left home and pursued a career in music, his father did not approve of his choice to work in the secular world. Marvin's constant quest to get the approval of his father was a major motivator in his quest for fame. Except for a brief moment when Gaye's What's Goin On album won a number of awards, he never got that approval.

By the early 80s, Gaye's career had plateaued and he was a major cocaine addict. In 1984, he was living at home with his parents. He bought the family home which caused a rift between him and his father. In addition, Gaye frequently had drug dealers stop by the house to make deliveries. His father hated this, and his resentment and anger began to spiral out of control. Marvin and his father frequently got into shouting matches, and often ended with the father threatening violence if Marvin didn't change his behavior.

An interesting detail this documentary brought up was the jealousy Marvin's father had toward Marvin's relationship with his mother.He hated how close Marvin and his Mom were, and this caused him to feel disrespected. This ultimately led to Marvin's death.

The incident that caused Marvin's death began with a fight between Marvin and his father over the attention being paid to him by his mother. Marvin - who was doing so much cocaine he had become delusional - angrily struck his father, knocked him down on the ground, and kicked him a few times. His humiliated father went to his bedroom and stewed with anger. An hour or so later, he grabbed a gun, walked to Marvin's room and shot him twice. He did this in full view of his wife who was sitting next to Marvin.

When paramedics arrived, they refused to go inside because of the threat still posed by Marvin's father. Until his gun could be taken outside, the paramedics would not go in. More than 20 minutes after being shot, the paramedics finally went in and retrieved Marvin. He died on the way to the hospital.

The doc featured interviews with Marvin's sister, two of his brothers-in-law, and a number of family friends. It certainly seemed legit to me. What a fascinating and sad story. Most of the details I had never heard before. Looking forward to checking out more of the episodes.

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