Tiny Tim Dies
Toward the end of his life, Tiny Tim became a fixture at "Spooky World", an annual Halloween-themed exposition in Massachusetts, just outside Boston.
He also appeared in tongue-in-cheek television commercials for area merchants. He befriended a young musician and neighbor, Conductor Jack Norton, acted as his mentor, and taught Norton how to play the ukulele.
In September 1996, he suffered a heart attack just as he began singing at a ukulele festival at the Montague Grange Hall (often confused in accounts of the incident with the nearby Montague Bookmill, at which he had recorded a video interview earlier that same day) in Montague, Massachusetts and was hospitalized at the nearby Franklin County Medical Center in Greenfield for approximately three weeks before being discharged with strong admonitions to no longer perform due to his frail health and the difficulty of proper dietary needs for his diabetic and heart conditions. He continued to play concerts despite the warnings that, due to the fragile state of his heart, he could die at any moment. While playing at a Gala Benefit at The Woman's Club of Minneapolis on November 30, 1996, he suffered another heart attack on stage singing the song that started and ended it all, "Tiptoe Through The Tulips". He was led out by his third wife, Susan Marie Gardner ("Miss Sue", whom he had married on August 18, 1995) who asked if he was okay. He responded, "No, I'm not."
He collapsed shortly thereafter and was rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died after doctors tried to resuscitate him for an hour and fifteen minutes. He is interred in the mausoleum of Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.
In 2000, the Rhino Handmade label released the posthumous Tiny Tim Live at the Royal Albert Hall. This recording had been made in 1968 at the height of Tiny Tim's fame, but Reprise Records never released it. It sat on the shelf until its limited internet release some 32 years later. The limited-numbered CD sold out and was reissued on Rhino's regular label. It is now available in record stores and through many online retailers. In 2009, the Collector's Choice label released "I've Never Seen A Straight Banana", recorded in 1976 by Richard Barone at age 16. The album is a collection of rare recordings of some of Tiny Tim's favorite songs from 1878 through the 1930s, along with some of his own compositions.
Herbert Khaury (April 12, 1932 – November 30, 1996), better known by the stage name Tiny Tim, was an American singer, ukulele player, and musical archivist. He was most famous for his rendition of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" sung in a distinctive high falsetto/vibrato voice (though his normal singing voice was in a standard male range). He was generally regarded as a novelty act, though his records indicate his wide knowledge of American songs. He had no official middle name, though some web sites report it to be "Butros", his father's first name, while during his televised wedding his middle name was given as "Buckingham". His headstone reads "Khaury/Herbert B/Tiny Tim/1932-1996".