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Getting Goldman

September 18, 1988|Henry Schipper \f7

Rolling Stone magazine is about to lower a boom on Albert Goldman, whose wildly controversial new bio, "Lives of John Lennon," depicts the former Beatle/enduring pop hero as anorexic, bisexual, drug-addicted, paranoid, near-psychotic and whatever.

The article, in the issue that's due on racks Oct. 4, features a scalding dissection of the Goldman opus by Stone writers David Fricke and Jeffrey Ressner that "reveals innumerable inaccuracies, fallacies and distortions," Ressner told us.

Headlined "Lennon Imagined," the piece is based on interviews with such Lennon intimates as wife Yoko Ono, former girlfriend May Pang, pal and fellow musician Harry Nilsson and Lennon's first wife, Cynthia Lennon, to name a few. Many objected to the "sinister spin" that Goldman gave his book, Ressner asserted.

The article also reveals that two of Goldman's key sources for much of his unflattering material have "major axes to grind" with Ono and the Lennon estate--axes not mentioned by Goldman in his book.

One was Marnie Hair, a one-time Lennon neighbor who provided Goldman with alleged details of homosexual behavior by Lennon that she said she learned from Ono. Hair, according to the Stone investigation, unsuccessfully sued Ono for more than $1 million in the early '80s over an injury her daughter suffered at the artist's Long Island estate.

Another was Fred Seaman, a Lennon gofer during the mid-'70s who helped Goldman paint a portrait of Lennon as a drug-dazed househusband utterly dominated by Ono. Seaman, the article reveals, was prosecuted and convicted in 1983 for stealing Lennon's diaries and other personal effects after the rock star was murdered.

In his book Goldman claims that he personally interviewed former Ono husband Tony Cox in 1984. Cox told the reporters that the interview never took place.

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