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The Karen Carpenter Story (1989)

Story of the meteoric rise and sudden fall of Karen Carpenter, who became a famous singer before battling anorexia and bulimia.


Joseph Sargent, Richard Carpenter (uncredited)


Barry Morrow
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cynthia Gibb ... Karen Carpenter
Mitchell Anderson ... Richard Carpenter
Peter Michael Goetz ... Harold Carpenter
Michael McGuire ... Sherwin Bash
Lise Hilboldt Lise Hilboldt ... Lucy
Kip Gilman ... David Lattimer (as Kenneth David Gilman)
Richard Minchenberg
Scott Burkholder ... Ted
Louise Fletcher ... Agnes Carpenter
John Patrick Reger John Patrick Reger ... Bob Knight
Doug MacHugh ... Dr. Lazwell
William Tucker William Tucker ... Peter Howard
Henry Crowell Jr. Henry Crowell Jr. ... Denny
Josh Cruze ... Herb Alpert
Carrie Mitchum Carrie Mitchum ... Randy Bash


Story of the meteoric rise and sudden fall of Karen Carpenter, who became a famous singer before battling anorexia and bulimia.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Music


See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 January 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A História de Karen Carpenter See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Cynthia Gibb performed just one song, "The End of the World." She lip-synched all of Karen Carpenter's other songs. See more »


The first session at the Magic Lamp recording studio has Karen on drums, Richard on piano, and a double bass player. When Karen starts singing in the right key, the soundtrack includes an electric bass and an oboe. See more »


Richard Carpenter: Hey give me the pizza.
Karen Carpenter: No it's my pizza.
Richard Carpenter: Come on.
Karen Carpenter: Richard, I...
Richard Carpenter: She said I'm in charge!
Karen Carpenter: Yeah, but not of this. Give me it back.
Richard Carpenter: Come on. I'm doing you a favor. In 10 or 20 years Mom and Dad are going to let you date and I don't want you to get fat.
See more »


Features The Third Man (1949) See more »


Written by Roger Nichols and Dean Pitchford
Performed by The Carpenters
See more »

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User Reviews

My Favorte Made For TV Movie
20 July 2005 | by pachlSee all my reviews

There is a clever little scene in The Karen Carpenter Story, where both Carpenters are in a recording studio, and Richard makes an impromptu decision to have Karen sing for the owner of the studio.

Richard picks the wrong key for Karen to sing in, so Karen is singing above her natural range. You can see a look of bemusement on the owner's face; he figures she really can't sing. Richard quickly realizes his mistake and tries again in a different key. The next thing you hear is Karen's amazing, beautiful voice, and the owner does a priceless double take. Nicely done! For some reason, I have never forgotten that scene.

The Karen Carpenter Story chronicles the meteoric rise of the Carpenters, and Karen's struggle to overcome anorexia. A lot of things are glossed over. This isn't a documentary, and the movie left me with a lot of questions. Very little is mentioned of Karen's solo venture (the CD was released only a few years ago. If you buy it, you will wonder why they waited. It's some of Karen's best work. The songs aren't as timeless as her work with brother Richard, but it was a great recording, in my opinion).

I have heard it said that, you can be listening to a cheap, time-worn little radio in the middle of the Third World, that would seem to produce more static than anything else. But when a Carpenter song comes on the radio, you would think you were listening to a $1000 Hi-Fidelity unit.

Watch this movie!

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