Fresh from a nondescript Liverpudlian musical group known as Rory Storme and the Hurricanes, Ringo Starr made the quantum leap to superstardom in 1962 when he replaced Pete Best as drummer for the burgeoning Beatles. Starr was regarded by many music aficionados as the least creative of the foursome, though he may well have enjoyed the largest fan following -- especially among young ladies who felt the urge to "mother" the diminutive Mr. Starr (though he appeared to be the baby of the group, Ringo was in fact the oldest of the Fab Four). In the Beatles' first two films, A Hard Day's Night (1964) and Help! (1965), most of the comedy material went to Ringo, whose Chaplinesque demeanor and droll, deadpan dialogue delivery paid off in big laughs. Upon the group's breakup in 1970, it was Ringo who fared best as a solo screen actor. He had already brightened up the dull proceedings of Candy (1968) and The Magic Christian (1970); after the Beatles' split, he was seen to good advantage as the Pope in Ken Russell's Lisztomania (1975), as one of Mae West's bewildered amours in Sextette (1978) and as a bumbling Cro-Magnon in Caveman (1979), in which he co-starred with his second wife, Barbara Bach. In 1973, Ringo produced the bizarre horror movie spoof Son of Dracula, appearing onscreen with fellow rock icon Harry Nilsson. A big draw all over again in the 1980s thanks to his All-Star Band tours, Ringo Starr remains a most welcome, if infrequent TV guest star; he has also shown up in several entertaining commercials, including a 1995 Pizza Hut spot in which he co-starred with ex-Monkees Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork. Ringo continued to record music and often appeared in music documentaries, not all of which were about the Beatles. He made memorable contributions to both Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)? as well as George Harrison: Living In the Material World.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Was a sickly child whose multiple ailments kept him from completing school.
- His stepfather, Harry Graves, bought him his first drum kit.
- Before joining the Beatles in August 1962—and replacing drummer Pete Best, a move unpopular with many fans—he was well-known in Liverpool music circles, but left Rory Storm & the Hurricanes when he was invited to become a member of the Fab Four.
- Although officially a member of the band, did not play drums on early Beatles hits "Love Me Do" and its B-side, "P.S. I Love You;" instead, played tambourine on the former and maracas on the latter, while the drums were manned by Andy White.
- Disappointed by the increasing tension within the band during the recording of The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album) in 1968, he temporarily quit the group and spent time on actor Peter Sellers' yacht in the Mediterranean, where he wrote the song "Octopus's Garden."
- Made film directorial debut with Born to Boogie (1972), a concert film about glam-rock band T. Rex.
- In 1989, received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for his role as Mr. Conductor in the children's series Shining Time Station.
- The oldest Beatle, he also became the group's first grandfather when son Zak's daughter, Tatia Jayne, was born in 1985.
- Inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Beatles in 1988, but is the only member of the group not enrolled as a solo artist.