Biography (1987– )
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The Carpenters: Harmony and Heartbreak 

Richard Carpenter talks about Karen, the Carpenters' career, and sudden fame. Friends, musician's, and people from the music industry discuss the Carpenters.


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Episode credited cast:
John Bettis John Bettis ... Himself
David Browne David Browne ... Himself
Agnes Carpenter Agnes Carpenter ... Herself (archive footage)
Karen Carpenter ... Herself (archive footage)
Richard Carpenter ... Himself
k.d. lang ... Herself
Phil Ramone ... Himself
Jerry Weintraub ... Himself


Richard Carpenter talks about Karen, the Carpenters' career, and sudden fame. Friends, musician's, and people from the music industry discuss the Carpenters.

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Plot Keywords:

musician | fame | song | singing | singer | See All (18) »


G | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 January 1998 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA

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User Reviews

Karen Anne and Richard Lynn Carpenter Strive for Perfection
5 June 2010 | by WeatherVioletSee all my reviews

Bob Brown narrates this account of the lives and collective career of siblings Karen Anne and Richard Lynn Carpenter from their formative years in New Haven, Connecticut, and Downey, California, through their musical training and their collaboration as recording artists, the Carpenters.

This episode discusses the early struggles of the brother and sister and their closely-knit family with parents, Harold and Agnes Carpenter.

Karen develops proclivity on percussion and vocals, while Richard perfects his talents on keyboard and in songwriting and arranging, each to become a perfectionist with her or his aptitude.

But as they climb the record charts throughout the 1970's with a string of smash hit songs, their personal lives begin to take a downward spiral and a toll on their health and stamina.

This tear-rendering study of one of Popular Music's most famous sister-brother recording acts does not cite their every major hit, but it captures the essence of their performing history in records and television, with Zenith and Nadir along the way.

Interview Guests for this episode consist of Richard Carpenter, Joe Vauisco (Childhood friend), Debbie Cuticello (Childhood friend), k.d. lang (Singer), Karen Ramone (Friend), Jerry Weintraub (Producer), Sherwin Bash (Manager), Phil Ramone (Music Producer), John Bettis (Lyricist), Tony Peluso (Guitarist/band member), and David Browne ("Entertainment Weekly").

Archive footage includes Karen Carpenter, Agnes Carpenter (Mother), Herb Alpert, Bruce Gifford, Ralph Edwards, U.S. President Richard M. Nixon, U.S. First Lady Pat Nixon, and West German Chancellor Willy Brandt.

Song Clips include "Dancing in the Streets," "(They Long to Be) Close to You," "We've Only Just Begun," "Hurting Each Other," "Superstar," and "Goodbye to Love."

Television Clips include "Your All-American College Show" (1968), Crocker Bank commercial: "We've Only Just Begun," Grammy Awards program (1977), "This Is Your Life: The Carpenters" (1971), Woodstock Festival (1969), Carpenters at the White House (1973), and "Carpenters Very First Television Special" (1976).

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