Random facts pulled from various articles
• Kenney became a second mother to her younger sister Charlene. Charlene later recalled sleepovers with Beverly in New York that included sightseeing and varied musical venues outings.
• Towards the end of her life, one of Beverly's best friends was the then-unknown actress, Millie Perkins. Millie would go on to play the lead role in the movie, "The Diary of Anne Frank". In fact, the last time she saw Beverly was when she flew to California to test for the film. Millie claimed to have no idea that Beverly was struggling with depression and was surprised by her suicide (many who knew Beverly were not).
• According to a suggestion by famed columnist, Walter Winchell, Kenney worked as a private eye between gigs (see the article here).
• She hated being photographed.
• She was not a fan of having strings on her records and found them "hokey"
• She was signed to manager/agent Ivan Mogull, who later claimed to have had a one-night stand with her.
• In May, 1958, she was signed to the William Morris Agency. Their first booking was on The Steve Allen Show
• She was a member of the Performing Rights Organization, SESAC, which monitors publishing royalties. As of this writing I only know of two songs she wrote: "I Don't Believe In Love" & "I Hate Rock and Roll" (both with Ray Passman)
• She may have lived with pianist Johnny Eckner while performing in Miami. (“B. Kenney c/o Eckner, 6959 Harding Ave.”)
• From a letter home while in Miami:
"I’m a mite disappointed in my trip here because I, as usual, built it up so much. According to those who know, this is Florida’s worst season. The clubs are all dying and therefore so are the artists. All except the name talent. There are about 150 female vocalists like myself and about 50 are working. I am not one of the fifty. So far I’ve done one week’s engagement, and my money dwindled long ago. I have much time to read and came across an interesting thing on “karma,” entitled Green Mansions, by Gino Carminera, my introduction to the reincarnation theory and probably not my last. Also read Wiley’s latest, Tomorrow, a little gory but still Wileyish."
• Kenney bared it all for the magazine, Playboy, but the session did not go well and the photos were destroyed.
• After her relationship with Writer and Beat guru Milton Klonsky, he spread rumors that Beverly and actress Millie Perkins were lesbian lovers. Perkins denied this, stating later, ‘If I had known or thought about lesbianism, I might have slept with Beverly,’
• Post Milt Klonsky, she began a relationship with his friend Mort Lowenstein. They would eventually live together. He describes one time when her "Irish devil" came out and, upon hearing a knock at the door and believing it to be Lowenstein, she stripped naked to greet him. When she opened the door, she was startled to find an equally startled UPS delivery man standing in the hall with a package for her.
• Lowenstein also recalls: "...a night at the Village Vanguard...when 'two cigar smoking guys with two world-class bimbos' persisted in loud conversation even after the music started. After 'a rather ungentlemanly remark' one of them directed at Beverly as she sang 'I Long for a Lover, A Certain Kind of Lover,' Lowenstein and his friend Nicky Hilton (playboy and former husband of Elizabeth Taylor) jumped the boors 'in a blink of an eye and before we could throw our second punches, the bouncer had ejected the two cigars and the bums. Beverly hardly missed a note, but did introduce us to the crowd and loud applause when she finished her song. She sure was fun.' (source)
• For Christmas in 1955, Beverly gave Mort a sterling silver disc with the following engraving:
All the reasons why I like (or love you)
You are fun, patient, quietly intelligent, calm and manly--
neither a snob or
Intimidated by snobs--you like me--
you smell good and sweet and clean.
You have tact.
You taste good.
On the reverse side:
All the reasons why I hate you.
You never buy me flowers--you snore loudly--
you are not even half rich--you
Have not mentioned marriage since I said yes--
your apartment is too small--
You don’t sleep in P.J.s
Christmas 1955 BK
• She wrote poetry, although only one survives:
ON CESAREAN BIRTH
I curled my body small
to escape the view
of those who sough to start the flow
of waters long since overdue.
And watched in horror
part the roof of my Capri
And heard the cry of anguished protest
The first of many wrought from me. --BK
• Her first suicide attempt came after leaving a theater early while on a date with Lowenstein. She downed an entire bottle of Seconal. He found her, phone and ambulance, and stayed up all night watching over her as she slept. She promised never to do it again.
• Six months later, Beverly checked herself into Bellevue as Anne Kenney (Anne was her middle name), telling the on-duty nurse that she felt she was going to harm herself. According to Lowenstein, her chart “had a big red 'suicidal' stamped on it.”
• Beverly had a close friendship with Nick (Nicky) DeFrancis, another singer who's life was also cut short by suicide shortly before hers. Nick, the house pianist/singer at the famed Frank Sinatra haunt, Jilly's, had only recorded eight songs but was well-respected among other noted musicians and columnist Dorothy Kilgallen suggested their deaths may be linked.
• It is not known exactly why she took her own life, although several theories have been reported. Writer Jonathan Schwartz, in a 1992 article in GQ magazine, suggest her suicide was brought on by the end of her relationship with Milt Klonsky. However, that relationship had ended long before and both had pursued other relationships. Her friend Millie, in a 2003 interview, also cast doubt on this theory.
• According to reports, the recording of her final album, "Like Yesterday", came at a difficult time and, having lost her voice in the studio, she was only able to finish the album with the help of a psychotherapist, Dr. Jonas.
She would continue seeing Dr. Jonas until her death. Mort Lowenstein paid for the sessions, even after they had broken off their romantic relationship.
• She wrote long letters to her parents shortly before her suicide, but these were destroyed and the contents never shared publicly.
According to Margaret A. Harrell: "Millie Perkins is correct, as Klonsky himself told me. Their affair went downhill after she went on a music tour with a guy and had an affair with him. Two years later, when she committed suicide, Klonsky rushed to the scene (I suppose she phoned him) but got there too late. She was not the only one of his friends who committed suicide, because they were a strange, artistic bunch in the day. Klonsky called them sui generis, and onetime when he worried about something I said he, to a minor degree panicked, thinking I was being sui generis (his term), or an original, too."
• After her suicide, Lowenstein received this note in his mailbox: “Dear Sven (a nickname), I really did love you, nothing was your fault. Thanks for everything. Please see that I’m cremated. Love and Goodbye, BK.” (This may not be word-for-word, as he is quoted in an article by Bill Reed as saying the note read: "I really did love you. Please see that I'm cremated. Nothing to do with you. . .it's not your fault.")
• Writer Bill Reed has suggested that Beverly may have struggled with bi-polar disorder.
• Beverly died broke.
Visit Beverly Kenney's Wikipedia Page HERE