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‘Mama’ Cass Elliot’ daughter has opened up about the rumours surrounding her mother’s death, describing it as “painful”.
The Mamas & The Papas singer died on July 29, 1974 in Mayfair, London. She passed away in her sleep aged 32, where autopsy results showed she had no drugs in her system.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Elliot’s daughter, Owen Elliot-Kugell opened up about the impact of her mother’s death. Elliot-Kugell is set to release her memoir My Mama, Cass in 2024.
In particular, Elliot-Kugell spoke out about a particularly unusual rumour that surrounded Elliot’s death – that Mama Cass died after choking on a ham sandwich. “I can’t believe we’re still talking about the sandwich after all these years,” Elliot-Kugell said.
“I started running my mom’s estate when I was 18. One of the first things I remember thinking is, ‘We’ve got to stop that ham sandwich rumor thing,’ because it was so painful. It wasn’t enough that we had lost her, to then be [made into] a joke. I’d say probably 50 percent of the people don’t believe it now. The other 50 percent probably still do.”
Elliot-Kugell, who was just seven when her mother passed away, also recalled being given the news by her grandmother. “I have a very, very clear memory of her telling me that my mom died,” she said. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh, well, they’re not right. They’re wrong. She’s just traveling. She’ll come back. She always does.’
“She puts my seat belt on and kisses me and says, ‘Look in the window,’” she continued. “I’m going to go to the airport terminal, and I’m going to wave. Go wave! Go wave!’ That’s the last time I saw her.”
Mama Cass has seen a resurgence in her music lately thanks to TikTok; her song ‘Make Your Own Kind Of Music’ has been used over 110,000 times. She was also in the group The Mamas & The Papas, whose hit ‘California Dreamin” has been used over 109,000 times.