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SHORT TAKES : Joel Admits He Tried Suicide

December 20, 1990|From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports

NEW YORK — Singer-songwriter Billy Joel, who was honored recently as one of four music legends of the past two decades, has revealed that he attempted to end his life not once, but twice, at the age of 20 or 21.

"I felt the last thing the world needed was another failed itinerant musician, so I popped a bunch of pills," Joel told Parade magazine. "It didn't work, so I tried again by swallowing furniture polish.

"Again, it wasn't fatal, but I checked into the hospital. . . . It was the best thing I ever did. I stayed there three weeks and saw all these people with profound emotional and mental problems. It was a great insight, because I realized my situation was nothing compared to theirs. I knew I'd never feel that sorry for myself again."

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