John A. Quayle
blueoval at SGI.NET
Thu Dec 30 15:30:55 MST 1999
Ex-Beatle Harrison Stable After
December 30, 1999 8:28 am EST
By Kate Kelland
HENLEY-ON-THAMES, England (Reuters) - An intruder armed with a knife
stabbed former Beatle George Harrison in the chest in a pre-dawn attack at
his home near London Thursday, a police spokesman said.
The spokesman said Harrison, 56, was in stable condition in hospital
after fighting off the intruder at his closely guarded home in
Henley-on-Thames, west of London. His wife, Olivia, was also wounded in the
"Mr. Harrison was admitted to hospital at 5 a.m. this morning. He is now
stable. He had a single stab wound to the chest. His wife was with him. She
suffered minor head injuries and was not admitted," a spokesman for nearby
Royal Berkshire Hospital told a news conference.
Harrison, who police initially said had been stabbed four times, was in
considerable pain but did not need surgery.
Police spokesman Guy Bailey said the 33-year-old attacker had been
arrested on suspicion of attempted murder at the 100-room mansion where the
couple have lived for 20 years.
Neighbors described the building as "Fort Knox" because of the tight
security around it, including patrol dogs.
Bailey said a member of the Harrisons' staff reported the attack at 3:30
a.m. It was not clear if the assailant was an obsessed fan, like the man
who shot dead ex-Beatle John Lennon in New York in 1980, or a robber, he
said. But the attacker was from Liverpool, birthplace of all the pop
Lennon was shot dead outside his New York apartment building on December
8, 1980, by obsessed fan Mark Chapman.
"Taste in music is pretty far down the (list of) questions police
initially ask a suspected murderer," the spokesman told Reuters. "We are
keeping an open mind on the motive."
"The intruder has head injuries so there was a serious struggle put up by
Harrison and his wife," Bailey added. Media reports said Harrison, his wife
and staff overpowered the attacker and held him until police arrived.
"Harrison's the one you'd least expect something dramatic to happen to,"
said Beatles biographer Hunter Davies. "He's been a recluse in many ways in
the last few years. He's gone into spiritualism, spiritual things."
OTHER EX-BEATLES INFORMED OF ATTACK
Harrison, the Beatles' lead guitarist, lived for many years in the shadow
of Lennon and Paul McCartney and was rated a major musician in his own
right only after the "Fab Four" broke up.
During the group's reign, the youngest Beatle became devoted to oriental
mysticism and persuaded the other Beatles to travel to India to sit at the
feet of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
"George leads a very quiet life now," Sir George Martin, the former
Beatles' producer, said Thursday. "He's very down to earth. He likes
nothing more than doing his garden."
A spokesman for the Beatles record company Apple said McCartney, Lennon's
widow Yoko Ono and Beatles drummer Ringo Starr had all been advised of the
attack. "Everyone is deeply shocked but relieved and thankful that George
and Olivia are OK," Apple said in a statement.
Like the other Beatles, Harrison came from a working class family
in Liverpool in northwest England. He was born on February 25, 1943, the
youngest of three sons, and became interested in music in his teens.
He learnt to play the guitar and performed at a Liverpool club after
teaming up with Lennon and McCartney. Starting in 1962, a rapid succession
of hit singles made the Beatles the most famous rock and roll group in the
The wave of "Beatlemania" -- the hysterical screaming of their concert
audiences -- eventually led the four to give up touring in 1966 in order to
concentrate on recording.
In 1966, Harrison married model Patti Boyd. He immersed himself in
mystical philosophy, became a vegetarian and gradually withdrew from the
After the group broke up, Harrison scored remarkable success with
the single "My Sweet Lord" and a series of albums.
Patti left Harrison in 1974 for his long-time friend, guitarist Eric
Clapton. In 1978, Harrison married his present wife, Mexican-born Olivia
Arias, and their son Dhani is now 21.
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