Human Exceptionalism

Phoebe Snow Put Motherhood Over Show Business

When I heard the news that she had died, I realized I hadn’t thought about the singer Phoebe Snow for many years.  It turns out that was because she gave up stardom to care for her disabled child.  From her obituary:

At the peak of her fame, in December 1975, she gave birth to a daughter, Valerie Rose, who had severe brain damage and other disabilities. Ms. Snow married her daughter’s father, Phil Kearns, but they were divorced in 1979. Despite advice to place Valerie in an institution, Ms. Snow put her career aside to care for her daughter. As her record sales fell, Ms. Snow repeatedly changed labels and got caught in a protracted series of music-industry lawsuits.

Through much of the 1980s, she fell silent. She recorded a comeback album, “Something Real,” in 1989 and took jobs singing advertising jingles for such companies as Stouffer’s, Michelob, Kodak, Quaker Oats, AT&T, Hallmark, Exxon and General Foods. “I faded away for a while out of necessity,” Ms. Snow told the Los Angeles Times in 1998. “In hindsight, I missed out on some good or productive years. On the other hand . . . I really made the only choice I could under the circumstances.”

Snow knew what was really important in life.  May it redound to her benefit in whatever comes next.


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