Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bios of the living

After The Whole Town's Talking, TCM will be showing The Singing Nun, at noon ET on January 25. The movie was made when the woman who was "The Singing Nun" was in the prime of her life, and so couldn't tell what Paul Harvey would refer to as... the rest of the story.

Unfortunately, it's a pretty sad story. Jeanine Deckers, who had entered the sisterhood as Sister Luc-Gabrielle, eventually became disillusioned with Catholic teaching and quit the convent. She tried to continue her singing career, including a song in praise of the contraceptive pill(!), but she never again reached the heights she had with the song "Dominique".

Still, she tried to do good things in life, opening a school for special needs children. Unfortunately for her, though, the Belgian tax authorities came after her, insisting that the royalties for the song "Dominique" belonged to her, meaning that she was supposed to have paid a ridiculous sum in taxes on them. Deckers claimed that she had donated the money to her old convent, which would have obviated any tax liability. Big Government wouldn't have any part of it, and continued to hound her for back taxes. Deckers, seeing no way out from under the tax liability, comitted suicide with the partner in founding her school in 1985.

Something tells me that MGM wouldn't have covered that part of the story even if it had been known at the time The Singing Nun was released. Still, it shows the dangers of making a movie about the life of somebody who is not only alive, but still quite active.

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