Art Garfunkel (born November 5, 1941) is a
Grammy-award winning Jewish singer, a poet, and a Golden Globe
nominated actor. Art Garfunkel was also half of the folk duo Simon &
Art Garfunkel, which split in 1970, at the height of their
ART GARFUNKEL LIVE IN CENTRAL PARK
Highlights of his solo music career include a top 10 hit, three top
20 hits, six top 40 hits, 14 Adult Contemporary top 30 singles, five
Adult Contemporary number ones, two UK number ones and a People's
Choice Award. Through his solo and collaborative work, Art Garfunkel
has earned six Grammys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 1990, Art Garfunkel and former musical partner Paul Simon were
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Early life and career
Art Garfunkel was born in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, the
son of housewife Rose and traveling salesman Jacob "Jack" Art
Garfunkel on November 5, 1941. Art has two siblings; the older one
named Jules and the younger one named Jerome, who was an actor in
his earlier years in Dayton, Ohio, before becoming a travelling
menswear salesman. Art Garfunkel is
Jewish. His paternal
grandparents emigrated from Iași in Romania. His cousin on his
mother's side is Lou Pearlman, founder of 'N Sync and the
According to the Across America DVD, his love for singing "came in
the first grade. When we were lined up in size order, and after
everyone else had left, I'd stay behind and enjoy the echo sound of
the stairwell tiles and sing 'Unchained Melody' and 'You'll Never
Walk Alone', learning to love this goose-bumps song from the tender
age of five." Later, Garfunkel's father bought him a wire recorder
and from then on, Art Garfunkel spent his afternoons singing,
recording and playing it back, so Art Garfunkel could listen for
flaws and learn how to improve.
At his bar mitzvah in 1954, Art Garfunkel performed as a cantor
performing over four hours of his repertoire to his family. As a
young teen, Art Garfunkel was struck with a lung infection, leading
to a love for basketball. Art Garfunkel explained in a 1998
Interview: "In the summer of ’55, I had a lung infection. I couldn’t
run around, but I love basketball and there was a hoop nearby. Much
of the summer I spent methodically hitting 96, 98 foul shots out of
100. Then 102! I never played on a team after Junior High School.
Just 3 against 3, half court pick up games in the schoolyard."
Art Garfunkel met his future singing partner Paul Simon in the sixth
grade at PS 164, when they were both cast in the elementary school
graduation play, Alice In Wonderland. It has been said by Art
Garfunkel that Simon first became interested in singing after
hearing Art Garfunkel sing a rendition of Nat King Cole's "Too
Young" in a school talent show.
Between 1956 and 1962, the two had performed together as "Tom &
Jerry", occasionally performing at school dances. Their idols were
The Everly Brothers, whom they imitated in their use of close
two-part vocal harmony. In 1957, Simon and Garfunkel recorded the
song "Hey, Schoolgirl" under the name Tom & Jerry, given to them by
their label Big Records. The single reached number forty-nine on the
pop charts. Art Garfunkel ("Tom Graph") chose his nickname because
Art Garfunkel liked to track, or "graph" hits, on the pop
charts. Art Garfunkel also released some singles as a solo
artist under the name Artie Garr, a shortened version of his name.
In interviews, Art Garfunkel has noted himself how these early
singles distinguished him as a folk-styled crooner,
with songs like "Beat Love" and "Dream Alone" (both released 1959).
After graduating from Forest Hills High School alongside Simon, Art
Garfunkel studied at Columbia College, Columbia University in
Manhattan in the early 1960s, where Art Garfunkel was a brother in
the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. Art Garfunkel was a team member
in tennis, skiing, fencing, and bowling at the college. Art
Garfunkel was also a member of the all-male a cappella group on
campus, the Columbia Kingsmen. After initially majoring in
architecture, Art Garfunkel earned a B.A. in art history in 1962
or 1965, followed by a M.A. in mathematics from Columbia in
1967. Art Garfunkel also completed coursework toward a doctorate
in mathematics education at Teachers College, Columbia University
during the peak of Simon and Garfunkel's commercial success.
In 1963, Art Garfunkel and Simon (who graduated from Queens College
before dropping out of Brooklyn Law School) reformed their duo under
their own names as "Simon and Garfunkel". They released their first
album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. on Columbia Records in October
1964. It was not a critical success, and the duo subsequently split
again. The next year, producer Tom Wilson lifted the song "The
Sounds of Silence" from the record, dubbed an electric backing onto
it, and released it as a single that went to #1 on the Billboard
Simon had gone to England in 1965 after the initial failure of
Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., pursuing a solo career. But Art Garfunkel
returned to the US to reunite with Art Garfunkel after "The Sounds
of Silence" had started to enjoy commercial success, and went on to
become one of the most popular acts of the 1960s. Together they
recorded four more influential albums, Sounds of Silence; Parsley,
Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; Bookends; and the hugely successful Bridge
over Troubled Water. Simon and Garfunkel also contributed
extensively to the soundtrack of the 1967 Mike Nichols film The
Graduate (starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft). While writing
"Mrs. Robinson", Simon originally toyed with the title "Mrs.
Roosevelt." When Art Garfunkel reported this indecision over the
song's name to the director, Nichols replied, "Don't be ridiculous!
We're making a movie here! It's Mrs. Robinson!" Simon and
Garfunkel returned to England in the Fall of 1968 and did a concert
appearance at Kraft Hall which was broadcast on the BBC, and also
featured Art's solo performance of "For Emily, Whenever I May Find
Her", which received a standing ovation.
While Art Garfunkel was not a songwriter per se, Art Garfunkel did
write the poem "Canticle" as a re-write of Simon's "Side of A Hill"
from his debut album, for "Scarborough Fair/Canticle". Art
Garfunkel also worked as the vocal arranger for the duo, working out
who the songs would be sung by and how each song was produced. Art
Garfunkel is also credited as having written the arrangement on "The
Boxer", and creating the Audio montage, "Voices Of The Old People"
on "Bookends". Citing personal differences and divergence in career
interests, they split following the release of their most critically
acclaimed album, Bridge over Troubled Water, in 1970.
Both Simon and Garfunkel pursued solo projects after the duo
released their popular album Bridge over Troubled Water.
Occasionally they would reunite, as in 1975 for their Top Ten single
"My Little Town", which Simon originally wrote for Art Garfunkel,
claiming Garfunkel's solo output was lacking "bite." The song was
included on their respective solo albums; Paul Simon's Still Crazy
After All These Years, and Garfunkel's Breakaway. Contrary to
popular belief, the song is not at all autobiographical of Simon's
early life in New York City, but of Garfunkel's childhood in
Queens. In 1981, they got together again for the famous concert
in Central Park, followed by a world tour and an aborted reunion
album Think Too Much, which was eventually released (without Art
Garfunkel) as Hearts and Bones.
Together, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in
In 2003, the two reunited again when they received a Grammy Lifetime
Achievement Award. This reunion led to a US tour—the acclaimed "Old
Friends" concert series—followed by a 2004 international encore,
which culminated in a free concert at the Colosseum in Rome. That
final concert drew 600,000 people.
1970–75: Hiatus and first album
During a three-year hiatus after Simon & Garfunkel's break-up, Art
Garfunkel starred in two Mike Nichols films, Catch-22 (1970) and
Carnal Knowledge (1971). Art Garfunkel also spent late 1971 to early
1972 working as a mathematics teacher at the Litchfield Private
School in Connecticut (by request of his fiancée Linda Marie
However, in late 1972, with Simon & Art Garfunkel having released
their Greatest Hits album and briefly reunited to perform a benefit
concert for presidential candidate George McGovern, Art Garfunkel
felt ready to return to his musical career. His first album was
1973's Angel Clare, which contained "All I Know" along with "I Shall
Sing" and "Travelling Boy" as singles. The album was received with
mixed reviews, reaching no.5 in the U.S. In 1974, Art Garfunkel
released the hit record, "Second Avenue".
On his next album, 1975 Breakaway, Art Garfunkel briefly reunited
with Paul Simon for the 1975 hit "My Little Town". The album also
included the singles "Breakaway" (B-Side: "Disney Girls") and "I
Only Have Eyes For You" (a 1934 song written by Harry Warren),
which is noted as being Garfunkel's first UK Number One.
1976–1979: Diversity and disaster
In 1976, Art Garfunkel recorded background and duet vocals for
several artists, including Stephen Bishop's Careless album, James
Taylor's In The Pocket album and J.D. Souther's Black Rose album.
Also, beginning in December 1976, right through until September
1977, Art Garfunkel worked on his next album.
Garfunkel's next release was the 1978 album, Watermark (US #19, UK
#26), which upon initial release, failed to make an impression on
the public. Its main single, "Crying In My Sleep" ("Mr. Shuck 'N'
Jive") (UK #25) failed to reach the US Top 40, but after a two-month
hiatus where it was taken off the market, it was re-released in
January 1978, with Garfunkel's cover of Sam Cooke's "(What a)
Wonderful World" (B-Side: "Wooden Planes"), which reached #1 on the
Adult Contemporary chart and #17 pop, as the new single. Paul Simon
and mutual friend James Taylor had contributed backing vocals to the
song, making the song a huge hit on the US A.C. charts.
Garfunkel's last release of the 1970s was the 1979 album, Fate For
Breakfast (US #67, UK #2), was his first US flop album. the album
first single, "In A Little While (I'll Be On My Way)" (B-Side: "And
I Know") (US AC #12) failed to break the top forty, as did his
second single, "Since I Don't Have You" (B-Side: "When Someone
Doesn't Want You") (US #53, US AC #5, UK #38). But in the UK the
album was a huge success, scoring a number one hit with "Bright
Eyes" (B-Side: "Sail on a Rainbow") (US AC #29, UK #1) (a song
written by Mike Batt). A version of "Bright Eyes" also appeared in
the movie (based on the famous novel) Watership Down. However,
tragedy struck at this time when his longtime girlfriend, Laurie
Bird, committed suicide in June 1979, at their Manhattan apartment,
just three months after the album's release in March. Art Garfunkel
later admitted that the incident left him in a deep depression for
most of the 1980s, hence the lack of musical output during the
majority of the decade.
1980–95: Depression and disappearance
Garfunkel's next album was a low point in his career. The 1981
album, Scissors Cut (US #113, UK #51) (dedicated to Laurie Bird),
contained three singles, "A Heart in New York" (B-Side: "Is This
Love") (US #66, US AC #10), "Scissors Cut" and "Hang On In", with
the latter two failing to chart.
Following disappointing sales of Scissors Cut, Art Garfunkel
reunited with Simon for The Concert in Central Park and a world
tour. They had disagreements during the tour. In 1984 Stereo Review
Magazine reported that Simon mixed out Garfunkel's voice from a new
album, initially slated to be a Simon and Garfunkel studio reunion,
but ultimately released as a Simon solo album (Hearts and Bones). In
1986, Art Garfunkel played the part of the butcher on the Mike Batt
concept album The Hunting Of The Snark. Art Garfunkel again left the
music scene during which time his father died, leading further into
depression. But in the fall of 1985 Art Garfunkel met his future
wife, Kathryn (Kim) Cermack. Garfunkel's retirement lasted a full
seven years, until his 1988 album, Lefty (US, #134), which produced
three singles, "So Much in Love" (US #76 AC #11), "When A Man Loves
A Woman," and "This Is The Moment."
Art Garfunkel released his first compilation album in 1984, The Art
Garfunkel Album (UK #12), never released in the US, which
contained the minor hit "Sometimes When I'm Dreaming" (UK #77, US AC
#25). This was followed by 1988 Art Garfunkel and 1993 Up 'til Now,
neither of which received significant critical or commercial
His live 1996 concert Across America (UK #35), recorded at the
registry hall on Ellis Island features musical guests James Taylor,
Garfunkel's wife, Kim, and his son James.
Art Garfunkel performed the theme song for the 1991 television
series, Brooklyn Bridge, and "The Ballad of Buster Baxter" for a
1998 episode of the children's educational television series Arthur,
where Art Garfunkel was depicted as a singing/narrator moose.
Garfunkel's performance of Monty Python member Eric Idle's "Always
Look on the Bright Side of Life" was used in the end credits of the
1997 film As Good as It Gets.
In 2003, Art Garfunkel made his debut as a songwriter on his
Everything Waits to Be Noticed album. Teaming up with
singer-songwriters Maia Sharp and Buddy Mondlock, the album
contained several songs which were originally poems written by Art
Garfunkel. The album is recognized as his first effort at
songwriting since his teenage years with Tom & Jerry.
In 2003, Simon and Garfunkel reunited again for a successful world
tour that extended into 2004. In 2005, his song "Sometimes When
I'm Dreaming" from The Art Garfunkel Album (1984) (written by Mike
Batt) was re-recorded by ex-ABBA singer Agnetha Fältskog on her
album My Colouring Book.
In 2006, Art Garfunkel signed with Rhino Records (revived Atco
Records), and his first Rhino/Atco album Some Enchanted Evening was
released in America on January 30, 2007. The album was a
dedicated celebration of pop standards of Garfunkel's childhood. In
late February 2007 during a German television interview to promote
the new album, Art Garfunkel expressed interest in reuniting with
Paul Simon on a new Simon and Garfunkel album.
2006–12: Recent events
In 2009, Art Garfunkel appeared as himself on the HBO television
show Flight of the Conchords episode entitled "Prime Minister."
Art Garfunkel continued to tour in 2009 with four musicians and his
On February 13, 2009, Simon and his band re-opened New York's
legendary Beacon Theatre, which had been closed for seven months for
a renovation. As an encore, Simon brought out "my old friend," Art
Garfunkel. They sang three songs: "Sound of Silence", "The Boxer",
and "Old Friends".
On April 2, 2009, the duo announced a tour of Australia, New Zealand
and Japan for June/July 2009. On October 29–30, they
participated together in the 25th anniversary of Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden. Other artists
on the bill included Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band; U2;
Metallica; Aretha Franklin; Stevie Wonder, and Crosby, Stills &
In March 2010, Simon & Art Garfunkel announced a 13-date spring
tour, to kick off in April with a performance at the New Orleans
Jazz & Heritage Festival. Most performances were scheduled for
Canada, with four shows in the upper Midwest of the US. According to
a press release, the set list would focus on their classic catalog,
as well as songs from each of their solo careers. On June 17,
2010, Simon & Art Garfunkel canceled the tour, earlier rescheduled
for July 2010, now postponed indefinitely as Art Garfunkel continues
to recover from a vocal cord paresis.
In November 2010, Art Garfunkel said that, having quit smoking two
and a half months before, Art Garfunkel was recovering from paresis,
and would be touring in 2011.
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Garfunkel's voice has been noted as changing over the past four
decades, but virtually unnoticeably until his late fifties, when his
voice began to lower after years of smoking. Art Garfunkel has been
noted as being a natural voiced tenor who can lower his voice to a
G2 on the keyboard (baritone range) and, as heard on the first
chorus of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as high as Ab4, and up to an
Eb5 on his 1973 rendition of "Old Man" (though this is falsetto).
Art Garfunkel has suggested his next album will have songs that are
more vocal based.
Art Garfunkel pursued an acting career in the early 1970s, appearing
in two Mike Nichols films: Catch-22 (1970), in which Art Garfunkel
played the 19-year old naive Lieutenant Nately, and Carnal Knowledge
(1971), in which Art Garfunkel played the idealistic Sandy. His role
as Sandy won him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor
Art Garfunkel later appeared in Nicolas Roeg's Bad Timing (1980) as
Alex Linden, an American psychiatrist who serves as the film's main
antagonist. The film received the Toronto Film Festival's highest
honour, the People's Choice Award, in 1980 and the London Film
Critics Circle Award for Best Director.
Art Garfunkel appeared in Good to Go (1986) directed by Blain Novak,
starring as a Washington, D.C. journalist who struggles to clear his
name after being framed for rape and murder. Art Garfunkel then
appeared in the medical crime drama Boxing Helena (1993), directed
by Jennifer Lynch, as Dr. Lawrence Augustine.
Garfunkel's most recent film is The Rebound (2010), directed by Bart
Freundlich, playing Harry Finklestein, the slightly senile and
comedic relieving father of the film's main character, played by
Art Garfunkel has said Art Garfunkel turned down numerous film
offers in the 1970s. Art Garfunkel reportedly turned down the role
of Billy Pilgrim in the adaption of Kurt Vonnegut's
Slaughterhouse-Five and the role of Tom Hagen in The Godfather in
the same year (1972). According to the response of this matter
recently issued on his official website, Art Garfunkel has not ever
turned down the role of Tom Hagen in The Godfather.
Art Garfunkel, an avid reader and bibliophile, has admitted that the
Art Garfunkel household was not a literary family, but it was not
until his entrance to Columbia College in 1959, that Art Garfunkel
began to "read a million books and became a reader". It was through
this Art Garfunkel began an interest in poetry.
Garfunkel's poetic career began in 1981, while on the Simon & Art
Garfunkel 1981-1982 tour in Switzerland, Art Garfunkel was riding a
motorcycle and began writing a poem describing the countryside. In
1989, Still Water, Garfunkel's collection of prose poetry was
released to acclaim. Topics included his depression
over the loss of his father; Laurie Bird, his companion who
committed suicide; the friendship of Paul Simon; and the joy of
returning to music.
Art Garfunkel reportedly has plans to release a second book in the
Art Garfunkel married Linda Marie Grossman (b. 1944), an architect
 in 1972; they divorced in 1975. Art Garfunkel has claimed that
the marriage was turbulent and ended bitterly. Art Garfunkel has
never spoken to her since and claims Art Garfunkel never loved
Art Garfunkel was also romantically involved with actress and
photographer Laurie Bird from March 1974 (when Art Garfunkel was 32
and she was 20) until her suicide in 1979. According to a 1986
interview, Art said about his relationship with Laurie Bird "I asked
myself constantly why I didn't marry her, because surely she was the
apple of my eye. She was everything I was looking for in a woman.
But I was very hurt by my first marriage, so as far as marriage to
Laurie was concerned, I was extra scared. I was heartbroken. It laid
me low. I used to get very sad when the sun went down. The nights
were very lonely for me."
Art Garfunkel had a brief affair with actress Penny Marshall in the
mid 1980s and credits her with helping him through his depression.
Their friendship stayed strong even after the relationship's end.
Art Garfunkel would later say of Marshall, "Everything changed.
Penny is a sweet human being who can bring anybody down to earth. We
had a lot of laughs, great sex and a ton of party nights".
In fall of 1985, Art Garfunkel met former model Kathryn (Kim) Cermak
(born May 25th, 1958) while shooting Good To Go. They married on 18
September 1988. The two have been married for over twenty years.
The two have two children, James, born 15 December 1990, and Beau
Daniel, born 5 October 2005 via a surrogate mother.
Art Garfunkel is an avid reader and bibliophile; his website
contains a year-by-year listing of every book Art Garfunkel has read
since 1968. Currently the list contains more than 1,000 books.
Art Garfunkel has also read the entire Random House Dictionary.
Art Garfunkel is a huge fan of the philosopher Jean-Jacques
Rousseau, having twice read his book Confessions (according to his
library, the book was the first and thousandth book he'd read).
Art Garfunkel has undertaken several cross-continental walks in his
lifetime, writing poetry along the way. In the early 1980s, Art
Garfunkel walked across Japan in a matter of weeks. From 1983 to
1997, Art Garfunkel walked across America, taking 40 excursions
to complete the route from New York City to the Pacific coast of
Washington. In May 1998, Art Garfunkel began an incremented walk
His all-time favorite pop song is The Beatles' "Here, There and
Everywhere" and his all-time favorite album is Rumours by Fleetwood
Mac. When asked about his musical preferences, Art Garfunkel
answered, "I have a very sure-footed sense of what I like, and
exactly how much I like it. Give me two listenings of a song, and I
can tell you exactly how it sits with me, and...I know my musical
taste. I know my ears, I know what I respond to."
Art Garfunkel has been arrested twice for the possession of
cannabis: once in early 2004 and again in August 2005.
Art Garfunkel is the brother of Jerome Art Garfunkel, the former
member of the American (ANSI) and International (ISO) Committees who
wrote the specification for the COBOL programming language. His
older brother Jules B. Art Garfunkel was a United States Navy
Veteran and financial analyst who died on September 17, 2006 in
Art Garfunkel is 6'0 (1.83 m), which is a large contrast to Paul
Simon's 5'3 (1.60 m).
Art Garfunkel is left-handed and is a multi-instrumentalist: Art
Garfunkel plays guitar, piano, and violin.
1972 Golden Globe, Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture, for
1969 Grammy Award, Record of the Year, for "Mrs. Robinson" (with
1969 Grammy Award, Best Contemporary Pop Performance, for "Mrs.
Robinson" (with Paul Simon)
1970 Grammy Award, Best Pop Album, for Bridge Over Troubled Water
1970 Grammy Award, Best Single Record, for "Bridge Over Troubled
1970 Grammy Award, Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), for
Bridge Over Troubled Water
1977 Britannia Award, Best International Pop LP and Single, 1952–77,
for "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
1998 Grammy Award, Best Children's Album, for Songs From A Parent To
Work on Broadway
Rock 'N Roll! The First 5,000 Years (1982) - revue - featured singer
for Mrs. Robinson
Mike Nichols and Elaine May: Together Again on Broadway (1992) -
concert - performer
The Graduate (2002) - play - featured songwriter
Angel Clare (1973)
Fate For Breakfast (1979)
Scissors Cut (1981)
The Animals' Christmas (with Amy Grant) (1986)
Up 'til Now (1993)
Songs from a Parent to a Child (1997)
Everything Waits to Be Noticed (2002)
Some Enchanted Evening (2007)
1970 Catch-22 Lieutenant Edward J. Nately III Debut Screen Role
1971 Carnal Knowledge Dr. Sandy Kaufman Nomination for Golden Globe
Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1980 Bad Timing Dr. Alex Linden Winner of the 1980 People's Choice
1986 Good To Go S.D. Blass Out Of Print
1993 Boxing Helena Dr. Lawrence Augustine
1998 54 Himself Cameo
2000 Longshot Himself Cameo
2010 The Rebound Harry Finklestein Most Recent Performance
Art Garfunkel (August 1989).
Still Water: Prose Poems. Dutton and Dial.
Mitchell S. Cohen (1977).
Simon & Garfunkel: A Biography in Words & Pictures. Sire
Patrick Humphries (August
1983). Bookends: The Simon and Garfunkel Story.
Proteus. ISBN 978-0-86276-063-2.
John Svenson (November 15,
1984). Simon and Garfunkel: A Musical Autobiography.
W.H.Allen. ISBN 978-0-491-03490-6.
(1984). Simon and Garfunkel.
Hippocrene Books. ISBN 978-0-88254-729-9.
Joseph Morella; Patricia
Barey (October 1991). Simon and Garfunkel: Old Friends :
A Dual Biography (1st ed.). Carol Publishing
Corporation. ISBN 978-1-55972-089-2.
Victoria Kingston (May
1997). Simon & Garfunkel: The Definitive Biography.
Pete Fornatale (October 30,
2007). Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends (1st ed.). Rodale
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