Jerry Garcia

Active - 1969 - 2019  |   Born - Aug 1, 1942 in San Fernando, California, United States  |   Died - Aug 9, 1995   |   Genres - Music

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Best known for leading rock group the Grateful Dead into the heady realms of counterculture mythology, lead guitarist Jerry Garcia was occasionally involved in feature and documentary films, not only making cameo appearances, but also directing a feature or two. His last directorial effort was So Far (1987). Garcia passed away of heart failure while undergoing heroin detoxification at a Marin County drug rehab center.

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  • As a child, had part of a finger cut off by his older brother, Clifford, in a wood-chopping accident.
  • Father, Jose, drowned while fishing when Garcia was 5.
  • Dropped out of high school at 17; subsequently joined the Army, but was discharged after less than a year of service.
  • Originally formed the Grateful Dead under the name the Warlocks in the mid-1960s; the rechristened band went on to release numerous platinum albums and develop a cult of devoted followers known as "Deadheads."
  • Wrote the music for his Dead songs, while poet Robert Hunter penned most of the lyrics.
  • Directed the concert film The Grateful Dead (1977) and the video for the Dead's 1987 hit "Touch of Grey" in an attempt to build up his directorial chops to adapt Kurt Vonnegut's novel The Sirens of Titan.
  • Lapsed into a diabetic coma in 1986 for several days; had to relearn how to play guitar after recovering.
  • Funeral was held at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Belvedere, CA; one of Garcia's signature songs was called "St. Stephen."