One of my favorite comedy-dramas is Stepmom (1998) by Chris Columbus starring Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon and Ed Harris. It is supposed to be very moving and touching film indeed. You have definitely watched it, I’m sure. And do you remember the scene wherein Jackie (Susan Sarandon) along with her kids Anna (Jena Malone) and Ben (Liam Aiken) dancing around the house late in the night and singing amazingly beautiful song Ain’t No Mountain high Enough? This very scene seems to be one the most dramatic and funny at the same time. The feeling of drama, sadness and joy is intensified by the song written and performed by famous American soul singer Marvin Gaye (1939-1984). His own life was also dramatic especially his last years.
He was very popular in USA especially in the 1960s and 1970s when he became drug addicted and he just couldn’t quit. Thus he had serious financial problems. Because of drug usage he suffered from paranoia. It seemed to him for some period of time he was chased and watched and that someone wanted to kill him. That’s exactly why he was wearing a bulletproof vest. But hardly it caused his death. Marvin Gaye was shot by his father. Yes, his own father Marvin Gay, Sr. killed him after a quarrel. Their relations were really tough. Marvin Gaye who stayed for some time in Europe came back home to look after his mother who was ill. During the time he and his father were squabbling all the time over a trivial matter. Really there wasn’t anything serious. But sometimes it happens so that nothing special can cause drastic consequences. Thus his father confessed to Marvin’s elder sister Jeanne that “if Marvin laid a hand on him, he’ll kill him”. And he kept his word.
On April 1, 1984, Marvin Gay, Sr. had an argument with his wife Alberta. So Gaye couldn’t stop but breaking into it. The cause of the argument? Well, they had it “over a misplaced policy document inside Marvin’s bedroom”. Can you imagine it? Marvin Gaye was shot with an unlicensed .38 Smith & Wesson pistol that Gaye had given to his father as a Christmas gift. Everything happened too fast. The shots were fatal. His father stood too close to him.
Marvin Gaye was killed the day before his birthday. He even didn’t turn 45-years-old. It didn’t seem that Marvin’s father felt sorrow about what had happened. At least when he was asked whether he had ever loved his son, he said,”Let’s say that I didn’t dislike him”. Some time later in interview given to The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner he confessed, “I didn’t mean to do it”. He was sentenced to a six-year suspended sentence.
In September 1984 Marvin Gay said that actually he was afraid of his own son as he was quite unpredictable person. Nevertheless he wanted to bring him back and he felt sorry about everything had happened. He died in 1998 suffering from pneumonia.