- Last Updated: 11:53 PM, June 24, 2012
- Posted: 11:53 PM, June 24, 2012
Madonna earns hundreds of millions, Gaga thousands of millions, Beyoncé millions of millions. Singer Jim Croce, who wrote little blockbusters like “Bad Bad Leroy Brown,” lived in poverty.
His widow, Ingrid, who worked with him, has written the Da Capo book “I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story.” So how come her major star husband was busted?
“We both were. Always. Never had a dime. At 30, he died on tour in a plane crash. The day his single ‘I Got a Name’ was released, he was killed in the takeoff of a chartered Beechcraft. Until that 1973 day, we lived on $200 a week. Money didn’t flow then like now. Artists signed contracts that existed in perpetuity.
“A best friend suggested we sign this piece of paper. Jim signed. Neither of us ever saw that contract again. After Jim died, they sent me the first $5,000 I ever got. I live in regret that he never saw it.
“If we’d had just a little . . . but . . .we lived on nothing. Like gypsies. No pension, no savings, no security. Not even insurance when I got pregnant. He sold his guitar to pay rent. He drove a truck when he wasn’t performing just so we could live. When things were really tough, he sold airtime.
“Jim was on the road 300 days a year, and they collected $10,000 each concert but always claimed lots of expenses. Besides performing, he wrote these hits. I kept saying, ‘This makes no sense.’ And that contract guy was his best friend.
“We rented a little house, separated into three apartments, on the edge of a farm. They charged us $100 a week plus we picked flowers for them. We just didn’t know what else to do.
“That was a pre-drugs period so not like booze or junk was in our life, although he sometimes did amphetamines so he could stay up all night.”
Remarried, to attorney Jim Rock, Ingrid now owns Croce’s restaurant in San Diego. She says: “It’s American cuisine with a jazz bar and live music every night.”
RESTAURANTS. Over pasta at Patsy’s on West 56th, legal headliners said this guy claiming he did in Etan Patz won’t get convicted. A) No “trophy” — what killers often take from their victims — was found in his home. B) His mental unsteadiness is descriptive of many who confess to a crime they didn’t commit.
More restaurants: New Yorkers, all of different minds, who can’t agree on anything, should try Singapura, 27th and Lex. It’s a combination of Thai, Hakka Chinese and Malaysian. Even a New Yorker can find something there he’ll agree on . . . And “mellow” singer Tony Middleton’s doing pop songs at Opia on East 57th every other Saturday. Music starts 9 p.m.
LAST week I reported forged checks are going around. I now report another. A friend got slammed with a $37,000 check he did not issue, did not authorize, did not sign. A Class-A bank with which he’s long been associated, cashed it. They are now making good on the money. Everyone, be aware.
I SOMEHOW missed saying good-bye to a longtime friend Leroy Neiman. For some reason, I recall when Mustang Ranch, Nevada’s largest legal brothel, which catered to the private delights of its clients, was going public. Leroy did the commemorative hand-done certificates. They paid him $1 mil. In stock.
NOTHING stops this town. Hottest 24 hours of the Year, the other 95-degree day, biggies showed for Woody Allen’s newie “To Rome With Love.”
Ralph and Ricky Lauren. Last anyone saw them at a movie was probably at the “Gone With the Wind” opening. So why’d they schlep out in the heat? “We’re friends of Woody’s,” he said. “We love Woody,” she said.
Chris Rock. Why’s he there? “I’m not even in this one,” he said. “I’m here to shake Woody’s hand and hope he puts me in a movie.”
The Cinema Society’s Andrew Saffir: “Listen, with me Woody’s a mild obsession.”
Woody Harrelson about this fragile-looking mild obsession — with white hair, matching light shirt and pants, looking like a Creamsicle: “I’m a Woody Allen fan. Never worked with him, but maybe he’ll see me and think I’d be a perfect fit.”
Penelope Cruz, who speaks Italian in this film: “I know the language. I learned from another one four years ago. But this time, they gave me a dialogue coach.” In purple dress, purple heels, purple bag, purple toenails, purple lipstick, Penelope’s so gorgeous I swear she didn’t even sweat.
Greta Gerwig, 5-foot-9 without shoes, wore giant heels that looked like Salvador Dali designs. She said: “Arsenio Hall wanted them.”
Screenwriter James Toback told Sony Pictures Classics’ Tom Bernard: “We have to get that f - - - ing DVD,” and Calvin Klein told me: “I’m here because there’s not one live Jew who misses a Woody Allen movie.”
And a voice behind me: “We’d like to honor Woody Allen, but some people think he’s too creepy.”
READER Don Panush. M104 bus. Behind a woman with a headset. Loudly singing and gesturing with her hands in time to a rap song.
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