TINY TIM died a lonely and tortured man, insiders have revealed to STAR.
    They say the wacky singer-despite his naive, flower-child image-had a dark side he desperately tried to keep secret.
    "He lived a very sad life," says an insider. He was a mixture of weird behavior and confused sexuality.
    "It destroyed his first two marriages-and left him all but friendless at the end."
    The end came Nov.30 when Tiny Tim collapsed on stage in Minneapolis while performing his trademark song, Tiptoe Through The Tulips. He wes 66.
    New York Post celebrity columnist Cindy Adams, a onetime friend who tried for years to help Tiny, says: "If you can believe it, his real-life self was even freakier than his on-stage persona."
    "He was, even in his younger days, someone with all the makings of what you could call a dirty old man. Loved young girls. Loved the X-rated.
    "Once, on a really quiet, private night, he said, 'If I hadn't become a singer, I'd have become a preacher or a porno star.'"
    At the height of his fame-when 40 million viewers watched his 1969 wedding on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show-Tiny Tim dined with Marlon Brando, partied with Brigitte Bardot, befriende Liz Taylor and Warren Beatty, and recorded with Cher.
    But he was a troubled soul who wished he'd been born a woman; he paraded around in baggy women's underwear; he never kissed a woman until he was in his 30's-and then felt he'd committed a sin; he was so obsessed with cleanliness that he showered every time he went to the bathroom, and wore adult diapers.
    "He couldn't escape his obsessive-compulsive behavior," a source tells STAR. "In the end he was so drained, there was nothing left of him."
    Born Herbert Buckingham Khaury, a Lebanese-American, Tiny Tim had a lonely childhood. "It's hard when you look so abnormal to the world," he would say years later. He was in his late 30s when he fell in love for the first time and married his 17-year-old "Miss Vicki" on network TV.
    What began as a Tonight Show publicity stunt ended up as a nightmare, Victoria Lombardi told STAR in an exclusive interview last year.
    "Tiny insisted we remain virgins until after we were married. He said he wanted to stay 'pure.'
    "He admitted later that even though he'd never slept with a woman, he'd had sex with men ... He [also] expressed his desire to be a woman more than once.
    "Nothing happened between us sexually for six months.
    "Throughout the time we were together, we had sex just enough to have had a daughter."
    Vicki said their short-lived marriage-they split up within three years and divorced in 1977-was marred by Tiny's gambling on horses and his declaration that he wanted nothing to do with his daughter Tulip "because she was a girl."
    Tulip later had her own troubles, giving birth to a daughter, Charisse, at just 16, and living penni- less in a New Jersey tenement. She's since dropped out of sight.
    Tiny Tim's reality was always at odds with his dream life, says producer and former colleague Bucks Burnett.
    "He wanted the big-band show-business career, a room-service lifestyle with all the trimmings and, most important, pure love with the Eternal Princess," says Burnett.
    But he ended up with a life mostly spent alone in tawdry hotel rooms, trying to make a comeback in small clubs."
    "Two of his favorite topics of conversation," says Burnett, "were UFOs and Depends adult diapers. Tiny believed that the Earth will be invaded by space creatures in the early 2000s." Tiny told him he wore adult diapers, not because he had a problem, but because "they keep me clean every day. I prefer the extra-absorbency brand, not regular.'"
    After a second marriage that was even shorter than the first one, Tiny lived alone for years in a $750-a-month hotel room in Iowa.
    His diet consisted of raw potatoes, beer and jars of tomato sauce, and he ballooned to 250 pounds.
    Last year, he married Sue Gardner of Minnesota.
    He had his first heart attack on stage in September, but he ignored doctors' warnings and kept performing.
    On Nov. 30, wife Sue was with him when he collapsed at a Women's Club of Minneapolis gala.
    He was pronounced dead an hour later.
    "I think the last thing he heard was applause, his wife says.
    "The last thing he felt was my arms around him," she adds.

December 17, 1996
Source: STAR
Reproduced according to "Fair Use"

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