CUDDLE UP WITH CLAUDINE
During her short career as a somewhat unlikely "it" girl during the sixties and seventies, Claudine Longet will
always be remembered as the wife of singer Andy Williams, the chanteuse behind an alarming number of appalling pop albums
and the girl who got away with murder.
Longet was a French showgirl when she made her first big career move by marrying mega-popular American singer Andy Williams
in 1961. It was through his auspices, no doubt, that the clearly talent-challenged Longet was signed to A&M records in
1967. Longet recorded seven albums for A&M, mainly collections of light pop hits of the day, taken to bizarre extremes
by the singer's utterly lithargic delivery and absurd French accent/speech impediment. Imagine a "Precious Moments"
statuette with the sniffles singing "We've Only Just Begun" and you've got some notion of the Claudine Longet "vibe."
In addition to scoring her a prominent role in Peter Sellers' 1968 film, "The Party" (a slasher film featuring
Longet's gristly dismemberment of the Harry Mancini song, "Nothing to Lose,") Williams foisted his attractive but
atonal young wife on American audiences every year on his highly rated Christmas specials.
The pair divorced in 1975, when Longet moved to Aspen Colorado with dashing Olympic skier Spider Sabich.
Handsome and magnetic, Sabich had long maintained a reputation as a ladies' man - a reputation which followed him into
his relationship with Longet. When the Aspen rumor mill placed him in bed with some of his rich and attractive ski students,
Longet reacted vehemently. Her explosive fits of violent anger at her lover quickly became the stuff of local legend, and
it was no surprise to Sabich's friends when the skier made known his intentions of moving out of Longet's home and breaking
off their affair.
He may have been trying to leave the night of March 21, 1976 when Longet shot and killed Sabich while he showered.
The evening's events are unclear. Longet maintained that she had taken the gun into the bathroom to ask Sabich how the
safety worked when the gun went off accidentally. In a surreal turn of events, the court believed her. She was convicted of
reckless manslaughter and sentenced to 30 days confinement in a back room in the courthouse, which had been especially decorated
for her brief stay. Before serving her sentence, Longet was allowed a one-month, Mexican vaction with her defense attorney,
who divorced his wife to marry Longet upon their return to Colorado.
Most saw Longet's four-day trial and easy sentence as the jokes they were. Saturday Night Live even ran a segment entitled
"The Claudine Longet Invitational," which featured footage of a skier tumbling downhill to the sound gunfire and
reporter Chevy Chase announcing, "Uh-oh! He seems to have been accidentally shot by Claudine Longet! Yes.. and I'm afraid
Helmut Kindle is out of this race!"
She has lived in well-deserved obscurity in Aspen since the trial.
In an odd side note, The Rolling Stones have maintained a strange, unexplained fascination with Claudine Longet's 1976 killing
of Spider Sabich.
In 1976, the year of Longet's trial, Rolling Stones records purchased a billboard along the sunset strip. The board depicted
a bound woman, who appeared to have been beaten. The headline above her read, "I'm Black and Blue from the Rolling Stones
and loving it!" The model was seated on a box emblazoned with Claudine Longet's photograph.
In 1982, the band released a promotional single called "Hey Claudine:"
"Oh, Claudine, now only Spider knows for sure, but he ain't talkin' about it any more, is he, Claudine?
"There's blood in the chalet, and blood in the snow, she washed her hands of the whole damn show, the best thing
you could do, Claudine
'Shot him once right through the head, shot him twice right through the chest, the judge ruled it was an accident, Claudine
"Accidents will happen, in the best homes, and Claudine's back in jail again, Claudine's back in jail again, Claudine's
back in jail again, Claudine"