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Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 8 March 1937New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 30 April 1966Carmel, California, USA  (road accident)

Mini Bio (1)

Richard Farina was born to an Irish mother and a Cuban father. He grew up in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, where his neighbors included Ramblin' Jack Elliott. He also briefly lived in Cuba. He traveled throughout his childhood, a habit that later became a central occupation in his restless life.

Farina attended Cornell University, where he wrote stories and poems, and befriended classmates Peter Yarrow and Thomas Pynchon. In his junior year, Farina participated in a student protest against repressive campus regulations. He was suspended, and the incident became a Cornell legend. He returned to campus, but dropped out at the end of his senior year in 1959.

Moving back to New York City, where he wrote and mixed with the bohemians at the White Horse Tavern, the legendary Greenwich Village haunt frequented by poets, artists, folksingers and wayfarers, where he befriended Tommy Makem. It was there that he met Carolyn Hester, a successful folksinger. After a whirlwind courtship, they married. Farina had no income and wiggled himself into Carolyn's career, appointing himself her agent. They traveled across the U.S., Europe and Africa as Farina worked on his novel and Carolyn performed her gigs. Farina was present when Carolyn recorded her third album at Columbia studios in September 1961, where a then-unknown Bob Dylan played harmonica on several tracks. Though Farina barely played any instruments, he appeared on-stage with Carolyn at the Edinburgh Folk Festival in 1962 and made a BBC television appearance with her. Carolyn began to resent this intrusion into her career.

While they were living in Europe in the spring of 1962, Farina attended a bucolic folkie picnic in the French countryside, where he met Mimi Fariña, the teenage sister of Joan Baez. Farina began writing to Mimi shortly afterwards, and they met again at the Edinburgh Folk Festival. Carolyn left him in the fall of 1962 to return to the U.S. to record her fourth album, and filed for divorce. Richard and Mimi were married secretly in Paris in 1963. That fall, they moved to Carmel, California to live in a one-room cabin, and had a second wedding in August for the Baez family. In their tiny cabin, they began playing and developing their unique guitar-dulcimer duets. They debuted at the Big Sur Folk Festival in 1964 and soon won a recording contract with Vanguard, Joan's label. They recorded their first album that fall with the help of Bruce Langhorne, who later played for Dylan. The album was released in April 1965, and they appeared on the eclectic, vibrant, and increasingly competitive Cambridge folk scene of 1964-65. They befriended Eric Andersen, Judy Collins, Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur and many others. Their reputation seemed to grow with each performance and, by the time they headlined the Newcomers Concert, they were superstars.

Farina also finished his novel, which was based largely on the experiences of his college years and travels. He completed "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me" with such agonizing effort that his hand became paralyzed. He recorded a second LP with Mimi, performed at the San Francisco Folk Festival, and was scheduled to appear at the Newport festival in the summer of 1966.

Richard and Mimi attended a book-signing on April 30, 1966, at Thunderbird Bookstore in Carmel, then went to a party for Mimi's 21st birthday. At this party, a friend pulled up on a Harley. Richard went for a ride on the bike on the rolling hills of Carmel, and they wiped out, throwing Richard from the bike. He was killed instantly. The timing of Farina's death coincided with the intersection of folk music and rock. David Hajdu's "group portrait" of Dylan, Farina, Joan & Mimi in his 2001 book "Positively 4th Street" affectionately conveyed Richard's unique, fascinating and colorful character.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Mimi Fariña (30 April 1963 - 30 April 1966) (his death)
Carolyn Hester (17 June 1960 - 1963) (divorced)

Trivia (1)

Brother-in-law of singer Joan Baez.

See also

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