Troubled Waters Flowing Behind Garfunkel Now

by Fred Yager
The Daily Herald
October 20, 1980

NEW YORK (AP) — After a year mourning the death of his girlfriend, actor-singer Art Garfunkel says he's finally ready to get back to work, promoting his new film "Bad Timing" and recording a new album.

Last year, while Garfunkel was in Austria making "Bad Timing," a film about an obsessive relationship and an attempted suicide, his girlfriend, Laurie Bird, killed herself. Garfunkel finished the film, then withdrew to spend time with close friends.

 "I'm only just now finding myself in the mood to get back to work," he said. "The most important thing in my life is getting a better fix on the question, 'What's the point' What's the point of tomorrow, next year, next decade? What am I alive for?”

"When my lover took her life, I was exposed to suicide for the first time as someone else's choice," he said. "As much as I've never thought I'd ever come close to taking my life, since last year I've begun to entertain the notion as someone's reasonable choice."

ALTHOUGH 1979 was a difficult year for the 38-year-old entertainer, he said he's proud of his performance in "Bad Timing," in which he plays a research psychoanalyst who falls obsessively in love with a free-wheeling young woman who values her freedom.

"I killed myself for that movie," he said "I truly went all out to do it as best I could. That film was no ordinary experience. Nick (Roeg) is no ordinary filmmaker, and the story is no ordinary story. What happened in my life during that film is no ordinary happening.

"The public doesn't know how far the performer goes," Garfunkel added."It's really vulnerable to get into show business, to really get your heart and soul involved with a public exposure of a certain kind. I became an actor to justify my weirdness. I think that's what gets a lot of people into show business."

Normally a private person, Garfunkel made it clear that he doesn't like to give interviews.

"I'd rather make it than talk about it," he said. "Maybe I owe it to the audience to meet them candidly outside of work to show who I am. But I'd rather put it all into the work and be a non-entity as far as the public knows. When it gets to very personal stuff, I would cheapen my life if I got too close to the bone in print."

BORN IN NEW York City, Garfunkel was attending Columbia University, studying architecture, when he and his friend Paul Simon turned their singing hobby into an album called "Wednesday Morning 3 a.m."  One of the songs on the album was "The Sound of Silence," which as a single became the No .l song in the country in 1966.  "After we began making records," said Garfunkel, "I always thought of it as a side trip and ultimately I'd get back to real life in some respectable profession like architecture."

They used to talk about Simon and Garfunkel as being so sensitive," he recalled."Paul and I used to laugh over the preciousness of our image.  As a joke one time we wanted to call one of our albums, 'So Young and Yet So Full of Pain.'"

Since breaking up with Simon, Garfunkel has had continued success as a solo performer. He compares singing alone in the studio to prayer.

 "It's like going to church," he explained. "You try to be sincere, cop to your failures and ultimately relax .Then with that attitude, let this wonderful thing called music happen through you in some reasonably pure form.

"The trick is to just be kind of a humble servant of it," he said. "If you've been real emough, the music has opened up for you. That's what it's like in the best of nights in the studio."