death, Fad, ham sandwich, Mama Cass, Mamas and the Papas, no drugs in system, no food in trachea, overweight, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, suspected choking, urban legend, weak heart, years of crash dieting
(Photo courtesy of http://www.theredshtick.com)
Urban Legend: Mama Cass died from choking on a ham sandwich
Let’s examine another music urban legend. “Mama” Cass Elliot died from choking on a ham sandwich. Why does this persist? A half-eaten ham sandwich was found on the stand next to her bed and initially the police suspected that she may have choked to death. The truth is the former Mamas and the Papas singer was quite overweight for her height and had been her entire life. Elliot died from a weak heart caused by her excessive weight, all the various years of crash diets that she tried to lose weight and (some claim) cocaine. An official coroner’s report found no food in her trachea, nor were there any drugs in her system either. Elliot is theorized to have had a substance abuse problem as she had tried heroin and gotten caught out by it. Elliot was only 32 at the time of her death and had been staying in a flat at Curzon Place (later renamed Curzon Square), an apartment that was loaned to her by singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson. Four years later, The Who’s drummer Keith Moon died in the same room also at age 32. (Moon died of an overdose of Heminevrin, a drug intended to treat and/or prevent symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.) Elliot was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her work with the Mamas and the Papas.