One of the most well-known members of the Monkees made-for-TV rock band, Michael Nesmith has died at the age of 78 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
He died peacefully in his Carmel Valley, California, home, where he had had quadruple bypass surgery in 2018, his family stated in a statement.
David Jones, Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz became instant rock sensations when “The Monkees” aired in September 1966. Nesmith was a struggling singer-songwriter at the time.
Dolenz said on his Instagram that he has lost a close friend and partner.
He paid him thanks for the opportunity to spend the previous several months with them doing what they enjoyed most — singing, laughing, and performing schtick. He said he is going to miss everything.
Despite the group’s breakup in 1970, Nesmith went on to have a long and successful career as a musician and songwriter, as well as a producer, writer and director of films, an author of numerous books, and the CEO of a media arts firm.
At The Troubadour in West Hollywood, where he was organizing “hoot nights,” Nesmith noticed an advertisement looking for “four mad lads” to portray rock musicians in a band based on the Beatles.
As many as three new Monkees songs were released each episode, six of which became Billboard Hot 100 successes throughout the show’s two-year run. A total of four additional songs, including “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” and “Daydream Believer,” made it to number one on the charts. In 1967, they had four albums that were at No.1.
The only child of Warren and Bette Nesmith, Robert Michael Nesmith was born on December 30, 1942, in Houston, Texas.
At age 4, his parents split, and his mother worked two jobs, as a painter and as a secretary, to help maintain her son and herself financially. That latter work was the impetus for her home-brewed version of Liquid Paper, a typewriter correction fluid. It had gained her a fortune by the mid-1970s, which she finally bequeathed to her son and to charitable institutions she established to support women in arts and business.
Four of her children, Jonathan, Jessica, Jason, and Christian are surviving the death of their father.