Ringo Is Game, but He Doesn't Need the Dough
Ringo Starr has emerged at 35 as the least enigmatic of all the Beatles. But on the subject of Bill Sargent he retreats behind his lawyer. “Neither I nor Ringo ever spoke to Sargent directly,” says Bruce Grakal. “The offer was conveyed to me and Ringo received it. There was no response.” Would he join in a reunion? Yes, says Grakal, “but when they all decide, irrespective of any single amount of money offered. They don’t need the money. At any time they do decide, it won’t be for the money, but because they feel it’s right—and that time may never come. Increasingly, it seems less likely, too, as each gets more entrenched in his own thing.”
Ringo’s own thing is still music, but the drummer who clubbed artlessly behind the group’s three stars has had the hardest go as a solo: only two of his five LPs and three of his 10 singles earned gold record status. But Ringo has gone into films, playing a passionate Mexican gardener in Candy, a tramp in The Magic Christian opposite Peter Sellers, a bandit in Blindman and the Pope in Ken Russell’s Lisztomania last year.
Ringo’s private life, long the most stable of all the Beatles, has been rocky of late. His wife of 10 years, Maureen, divorced Ringo last July over his affair with California model Nancy Andrews. Then two months later Nancy left him, and two months after that, Ringo fetched up with his current girlfriend, English singer Lynsey De Paul, on whose new LP he played drums. He owns his own label, Ring O’Records, but recently splashily signed a contract with Atlantic. What does record exec Starr think of the state of pop music today? “Rotten,” he snaps, “it needs a new direction.” (He once said of the Beatles’ breakup: “I sat in my garden for about a year wondering what on earth was going to happen to me. I was sick.”)
Ringo lives in the Tittenhurst Park palace that he shared with Maureen and sons Zac and Jason, 10 and 8, and daughter Lee, 5. The kids live in the neighborhood and Dad loves to visit them. He spends nights gadding about London, attending more openings than anyone since the prime time of David Frost and then winding up the evening dancing with Lynsey at the hot spot Tramp.
“I was always the quiet one at the back,” Ringo said the other day. “That’s still the way people think of me. But now my own career is really taking off and it’s exciting.” But just in case, he’s bought into a thriving furniture business.