Quoting Benjamin

“I had total support from my parents, even when I was doing the pots-and-pans routine. I never got a ‘don’t do that,’ especially when I got involved with music.” — from “Benjamin Orr: The Cars’ Mr. Casual Steps Out” by Rob Tannenbaum, Musician Magazine, March 1987


18 thoughts on “Quoting Benjamin

  1. I completely LOVED Joe’s book but wish so badly I knew more about his parents! I have so many questions but realize this public forum may not be the best way to find out (?). Wonder about the circumstances that brought his parents to the US (other than the usual reasons of political unrest, better opportunities in the US, etc.), wonder which parent had more musical talent, wonder what his father died from (other than assumed heart attack, heart disease, etc.), wonder if his mother “liked” the Cars music, wonder if his parents realized their son had movie star good looks (that’s an understatement actually!), wonder if Kris was close to his mom before divorcing Ben,

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    1. I too would love to know ALL of this plus more! Please continue your thoughts because maybe someone out there has answers to them. 👍🏼🤗

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      1. So many questions…Fascinating specimen! I think it’s awesome that his parents were so supportive. From what I’ve read they really doted on him. 💕

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  2. Thanks! I had accidentally posted my comments before finishing. I also wonder how his parents met, what the circumstances of his father’s first marriage were (divorce or death?), whether Ben got to say a “proper” goodbye to his mother before he died (assuming she was in Cleveland when he passed away), what his mother died from (other than a broken heart after burying her only child, although I realize she was elderly), whether Ben knew at least a few words of his parents native languages, whether his mother remained a devout Russian orthodox Christian until her death, whether or not his parents had siblings in the US and if so, how many. And I wonder how often Ben went home (Cleveland area) to visit his mother, relatives and friends throughout the years? I wonder if his mom always hoped that someday he’d move back home?

    Yes, indeed, the questions are endless, and the questions I posted only pertained to his parents! Thank you for “listening”! Thank you for your website! It’s so nice to share these thoughts!♥️

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    1. Actually from what I’ve seen his father had 3 children from a first marriage & his mother had 2 children from a first marriage as well. I’m guessing he was very close to them & was very generous to his mother when he made it big. He was noted for helping out family. Great questions Hillcogal!

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      1. When I mentioned close to them I meant he was close to his parents. I don’t know if he was close to the other four siblings but I do know that he was close with his older brother from his dad’s first marriage. (Charles) I often wonder if he ever met the other 4 siblings and I thought I heard that he only found out about it later on in his life.

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      2. Oh and his mother was a professional singer. At least that’s what I read/saw along with the other info I mentioned.

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      3. I didn’t realize that his mother had been married before since Joe’s book didn’t mention it. But of course I realize that he couldn’t include information that was too private for the family to release. I certainly understand that but it doesn’t diminish my curiosity!

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      4. There is a site called Find a Grave. Bens parents are listed on there along with his mothers maiden name. If you do some sleuthing and click on the names mentioned on both memorials you can also see info about her parents etc…Now, if you’re really interested you can head over to Family Search and pit in both parents names and you will see some family genealogies.

        When you locate Bens mother in the search you will see her maiden name and married name plus the husband and the children they had which was a boy and girl I believe. Interesting that she was about 16 I believe when she married the first husband. You can do this with Bens father as well. One tree lists his father with the 3 children from the first wife and the children. There were two boys and a girl.

        All the children were born in mid to late 20’s & early 30s. It’s always fascinated me about that situation. I mean we don’t really know what happened with the first marriages of his parents and why Ben didn’t know possibly about the other children which would be his half siblings. I mean again, he did find out about Charles who was the oldest of the 5 whom Ben was close to later on as an adult. I think it was in the book that Joe mentioned Ben was very hurt about the whole situation and rightfully so who wouldn’t be.

        It’s really hard to fathom for us but we really don’t know anything about the parents lives and what was going on in their world when they got married the first time and if they got divorced or were possibly widowed. We don’t really know and it is difficult to imagine but again, it’s hard to speculate when his parents aren’t alive and Ben isn’t alive to defend themselves if they even wanted to or talk about it.

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    2. One last thing. I often wonder too if he knew some of his parents native languages. I would’ve been awesome to hear him speak some of it. Polish, Russian or Czechoslovakian! 😊

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  3. And finally, I wonder if his mother was able to attend the memorial service held at the R&R hall of fame in Cleveland. Of course I don’t know what her health was like at that time. Also, I can certainly understand if it was too emotional for her to be able to attend – we can only imagine.💔

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    1. You know I often wondered about that too. Just today I was thinking about this whole thread for some reason, and I thought to myself I wonder if his son met his grandmother. I’m sure he did. That would’ve been really awesome for his mom to have been there to see his son be inducted into the R n R Hall of Fame. But my guts telling me she probably saw it on TV or something but then again, anything is possible!

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    2. @hillcogal, oh you’re awesome. 🙂 I have so many of the same questions.

      I believe his mother had dementia so it would be hard to know what she did and did not understand at that point. Someone on pinterest responded under a picture of Ben and his mom(taken in the late 80s) that she had been one of her caregivers during her final years and that it was so nice to see her so full of life because of course she had been very different during the time she’d been one of her carers. I remember in Let’s Go one of his band members mentioned one of his memorable moments was meeting Ben’s mother when they played nearby so I think she may have been doing all right in the mid-90s when his son was born.

      Ben had other things going during those few years in 97/98, as well as the happiness of having his son in 1995. His brother Charles died in 1997( the only sibling we know he became close to), Joe Mayer, his “second father” also died in 1997, his mother was probably starting to be really affected by her illness during that time, and of course sometimes it can have a big effect on their personality, beyond the memory loss. He lost he some people he really cared about in a relatively short period, so I’m sure that he went through some heavy grief at that time. I do think it’s interesting that he seemed to come out of that period, to be become more obviously focused than he had been in a while, it seems that he was busier during the last couple years of his life than he had been in a while before that, like he’d decided on a definite direction and he was focused on making it happen.

      I’ve often wondered if Ben knew any Russian or Czech as well. Darn I would have loved to hear him speaking in a foreign language if he did–he had such a nice speaking voice, I’m sure it would have sounded very sexy. 🙂 I do recall on the find a grave page mentioned above, his mother at least had a sister and her mother in the US. There is a picture of her mother’s gravestone which also had her photo on it, and you can definitely see the resemblance between his mom, his grandmother and Benjamin. Similar heavy lidded eyes, strong jaws. It’s funny I read a comment under a youtube video and someone, who said they were from Czechia, mentioned Ben’s handsomeness and said proudly Ben had a “Czech jaw” and it struck me as funny and then I thought of all the Czechs I could think of off the top of my head(dating myself because the first ones that came to mind were Ivan Lendl, Martina Navratilova and Paulina Porizkova, and they do all have strong jaws, like Ben, his mom and his grandmother) So I guess there is something to what the Czechian commentator was saying. 🙂

      I am unclear on exactly when Ben met/found out about his half siblings. I mean was he well into adulthood or was it when he was in his teens? In a way I think it’s too bad, though I’m sure they had what were good reasons at the time, that Ben didn’t grow up with his brothers and sisters, even though they were all adults or almost adults by the time he was born. I have a feeling maybe, even though obviously he had friends, that as a kid he might have sometimes felt lonely and that it was something that stuck with him. It often sounds like he was trying to create more family – he clearly became very close to the Mayers, also Diana Akins parents as well as Diane herself considering him like a big brother and even some of his bandmates. We’re told that he was close to his parents and they were very supportive, so I guess one is left to postulate that comes from being an only child, in terms of how he was raised if not in actual fact, rather than distance from his parents. He strikes me as someone who by nature was a very sensitive, deeply feeling person and probably took a lot of things to heart.

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