In 1973 Mia Farrow and her then-husband, conductor and composer André Previn, decided to adopt a child orphaned during the Vietnam War. Though the baby girl named Lark Song weighed only 5 lbs. at 3 months of age, she was absolutely perfect to her proud parents. “She was the most exquisite little girl we had ever seen,” Farrow later wrote.
Sadly, tragedy struck the family this Christmas Day, when Lark, 35, died of an undisclosed illness. Farrow attended the funeral, along with André Previn, at St. Saviour Church in Brooklyn five days later, sitting near Lark’s daughters Sara, 13, and Christina, 12. “Ms. Farrow is concerned about the girls,” says Fr. Timothy Tighe, who officiated at the mass, attended by several of Lark’s 13 siblings. “She has a lot on her mind.”
Lark’s adoption ignited a passion in Farrow, 63, who went on to adopt 10 more children over the years (one, Tam Farrow, died of heart problems in 2000; she also has four biological kids). The clan endured a bitter custody battle in 1992, after Farrow’s partner Woody Allen began a relationship with Farrow’s daughter Soon-Yi Previn, now 38, who was adopted from South Korea four years after Lark.
By most accounts, Lark Previn—who was no longer with the girls’ father—led a quiet life in Brooklyn with her children and boyfriend. “I didn’t know her mother was a celebrity,” says neighbor Alfred Brown. “She seemed like a good woman to me. She didn’t leave her apartment without the kids.”
Previn’s death came as a shock to many neighbors and acquaintances. “I didn’t know she was sick,” says Father Tighe. “Lark did something right with her girls. There is something really wonderful about them. They seem to be strong little girls.”