I'm haunted by my daughter's suicide: Burt Bacharach, 85, gives heart-wrenching interview about troubled life and tragic death of his child
Songwriter Burt Bacharach has revealed he continues to be haunted by his daughter's suicide in 2007 at age 40.
The award-winning composer, 85, opened up about the death of his daughter Nikki during a recent interview about his new autobiography Anyone Who Had A Heart: My Life And Music.
The hitmaker had Nikki with former wife Angie Dickinson, best known for playing Sgt. Suzanne 'Pepper' Anderson in the 1970s television show Police Woman.
Emotional memories: Burt Bacharach opened up about his daughter's painful suicide as he discussed his new memoir Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music
'(Nikki) was one-pound, 10 ounces at birth, you should know the deck is stacked against you then,' Bacharach told The Associated Press.
Nikki grew up with emotional issues and had an undiagnosed case of Asperger's syndrome, a fairly new diagnosis among the autism spectrum disorder.
Burt and Angie's prematurely born daughter grew up with chronic health problems, poor eyesight and little ability to cope with her social awkwardness brought on by Asperger's syndrome.
Daughter and mother: Burt's daughter Nikki, left, and his ex-wife Angie Dickinson shown together before Nikki's suicide in 2007
She was placed at a psychiatric treatment facility in Minnesota at age 16 and spent 10 years there.
Despite her struggles, Burt said he never thought she would kill herself.
'It's like the boy who cried wolf. Somebody who says, "I can't stand it. The helicopters are making too much noise and the gardeners and the blowers are making too much noise and if they don't stop I'm going to kill myself,'" he said with a cracking voice.
'And you hear that enough and you know it's never gonna happen and then one day she just goes and kills herself,' he said.
New parents: Burt and Angie with newborn daughter Nikki in 1966
He says he thought that the strong relationship she had with her mother would prevent it from ever happening.
'They had a very connected, symbiotic relationship,' he said, adding, 'We all did everything we could. I did what I thought would be the right thing and it wasn't the right thing and I was just trying to get her better.'
Bacharach deeply regrets the painful decision to send her away and he feels she always held that against him.
'There was always that resentment that I kind of imprisoned her and the last thing in the world you know,' he said. 'I wish somebody would have just said, you're not going to heal her, let her be.'
Burt in his memoir said that Nikki died on January 4, 2007.
'There was a bag over her head with a tube that fed nitrous oxide into it, and that was how they found her,' he wrote.
Crime buster: Angie played Sgt. Suzanne 'Pepper' Anderson on the 1970s crime series Police Woman
Burt, who has been married four times, remains haunted by Nikki's death and told The AP that a note from her was left for him when her body was discovered.
'I know exactly what's in the note. I never read the note. I never will,' he said emotionally. 'There is no need to read it. I already know what she said.'
With his family struggles hidden from the world, Bacharach continued to make great music.
Devoted mother: Angie, shown in January 2011 in New York, turned down many roles to care for Nikki
'I was always able to alleviate the noise, some of the noise with what was going on with Nikki becoming a Sikh, or whatever, because I would go to my music. ... It was during that time I scored What's New Pussycat, I scored the first Casino Royale. I would get engrossed in my music because there's no other way for me.'
Burt and longtime collaborator Hal David, known professionally as Bacharach and David, were one of the most successful songwriting partnerships ever recorded.
Their top 40 hits included Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head, Close to You and That's What Friends Are For.
They are perhaps most associated with Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield, but their music was also recorded by the Beatles and Barbra Streisand to Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin.
Anyone Who Had A Heart: The title of Burt's memoir is the same as a song he wrote with longtime collaborator Hal David in 1963 for Dionne Warwick
Bacharach and David, who died last year at age 91, scored their first big hit with Magic Moments, a million-selling record for Perry Como.
They won an Oscar for Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as well as Grammys and Tonys for the songs from the hit Broadway musical Promises, Promises.
The duo received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in May 2012 during a White House tribute concert presided over by President Barack Obama.
Burt has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years with cameos in the Austin Powers film series and was a vocal coach in 2006 on American Idol
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