Tiny Tim (1927?-1996)

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Tiny Tim (1927?-1996)

"Tiny Tim" was the last and most successful of many stage names adopted by singer and ukulele player Herbert Khaury. Born in New York, Khaury was a struggling performer as Derry Dover, Larry Love, Julian Foxglove, and Sir Timothy Thames, before being given a small part in the counterculture movie You Are What You Eat in 1968. He became modestly well-known as Tiny Tim, the pseudonym he was currently employing, and received his first national exposure shortly afterwards on NBC's Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. His odd garb, odder stage presence, and falsetto renditions of old songs quickly made Tiny Tim a celebrity. His signature song (and 1968 hit) was "Tip-Toe Thru' the Tulips with Me"; it was first recorded in 1929.

A frequent guest on The Tonight Show, Tiny Tim made history when he married "Miss Vicki" during the episode of December 18, 1969; the ceremony was witnessed by over 20 million viewers in America—a daughter, Tulip, was born in 1971, and the couple divorced six years later.

Both in falsetto and a quavery baritone, Tiny Tim recorded hundreds of popular songs from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and knew thousands more. He had probably performed a more varied repertoire of songs, in more venues, than any other singer of his generation. He died in Minneapolis, where he had moved with his third wife, "Miss Sue," on November 30, 1996.

—David Lonergan

Further Reading:

"Deaths: Tiny Tim." Billboard. Vol. 108, No. 50, December 14,1996, 69.

Grimes, William. "Tiny Tim, Singer, Dies at 64; Flirted (Chastely) with Fame." New York Times. December 2, 1996, B12.

"Unconventional Pop Figure Tiny Tim Dies." Washington Post. December 2, 1996, B4.