"I Fell in Love with the Actress" -
from the Neil Young song "A Man Needs A Maid" (Harvest)
Neil Young News
Actress Carrie Snodgress, whose 40-year career included an Oscar nomination for "Diary of a Mad Housewife", died on April 1, 2004 at the age of 57.
Snodgress was hospitalized at the University of California Medical Center in Los Angeles, awaiting a liver transplant when she died of heart failure. Her son, Zeke, fathered by Neil Young, was at her side. There was a private family funeral.
Snodgress was perhaps best-known for her role as a frustrated homemaker caught between a domineering husband and a self-absorbed lover in 1970's "Diary of a Mad Housewife." She was nominated for an Academy Award and won two Golden Globe awards for best leading actress and new star of the year.
Despite critical acclaim for her role in "Housewife," Snodgress turned her back on Hollywood in 1971 to live with boyfriend Neil Young on his northern California ranch and care for their son, Zeke, who was born with cerebral palsy.
Neil Young recorded several songs which reference Snodgress. The most well song is "A Man Needs A Maid" from the album "Harvest" containing the lines:
Young caught a large amount of flak at the time as women's rights proponents labeled the song as "sexist". History has clarified Neil's intentions and Carrie herself has disabused the notion that the "Maid" song is inherently sexist.
At the time Young wrote "A Man Needs A Maid", he was recovering from a back injury and was bedridden. Carrie became a "nurse" to Neil. In Jimmy McDonough's "Shakey" biography, Snodgress said: "I fell in love with Neil's pain".
Young's 1974 album "On The Beach" featured the song "Motion Pictures" which was dedicated on the liner notes as "For Carrie".
Lyrics of "Motion Pictures" clearly reference Carrie and Young's love for her:
Carrie Snodgress also appeared in Neil Young's film "Journey Through the Past" in which he acted, directed, and scored.
Another lyrical reference to Carrie is the song "New Mama" on the album Tonight's The Night. "New Mama" is the most optimistic song on the downer album and Young wrote the song for Snodgress who had just given birth to their son Zeke. In a 1983 article, Snodgress said:
Snodgress still looks back wistfully to her life with the enigmatic Neil Young. "It was like heaven on that ranch," she says with a smile. "I don't know why we broke up. We never fought."
In 1979, her ex-boyfriend, songwriter Jack Nitzsche , was charged with threatening to kill her after he barged into her home and beat her with a handgun. He pleaded guilty to threatening her and was fined and placed on three years' probation.
Picking up her career after a long absence wasn't easy, Snodgress later said. In a 1986 Los Angeles Times interview, Snodgress said she had no regrets about temporarily walking away from her career.
"I was never really a career woman, you see," she said. "My life always came first. When I got nominated for 'Diary of a Mad Housewife,' I didn't think, 'Aah, now I'll get more money.' My dream had always just been to do my works well, fall in love and build a life for myself."
For more on Jack Nitzsche (Neil's arranger on "Harvest") and Neil Young see Carrie Snodgrass interview.
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