You will not be blamed if you don’t know who Thomas James Burris is. This is not only because not many people know him but also because he is neither a regular celebrity nor is he someone who has come to the limelight in recent years.

Who is Thomas James Burris? Biography

Burris was a real estate surveyor who got famous after he married the late American singer Karen Carpenter. This marriage was believed by many to be the undoing of the beautiful singer who was described as simply magical.

Since he was not a public figure or a celebrity, there was close to nothing known about his biography, except for the fact that Thomas James Burris was already married and divorced before he met Karen Carpenter.

Carpenter on her part, was a singer who was born on March 2, 1950, in New Haven, Connecticut. It was here that she was raised before her family decided to move to Downey, California when she was 13.

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The singer who would grow up to be named by RollingStone as one of its 100 best singers of all time, studied drums in high school. This made her excel both as a drummer and as a singer. Together with her brother, Richard Carpenter, Karen formed The Carpenters band in 1969. In less than 15 years of its existence, the band which was into soft rock and pop music produced ten highly acclaimed albums, and they also made appearances in some TV shows.

Thomas James Burris
Karen, Richard Carpenter, and their parents (Image Source)

As a result of sedative and hypnotic medication which got Richard Carpenter addicted, Karen went on to produce a solo album in 1979, while her brother was recovering from his addiction.

As a result of her musical career that would always see her travelling, Karen Carpenter had revealed that she may not get married in her life as long as she continued singing. Nevertheless, she still dated a number of men including actor and former professional boxer Tony Danza and actors Thomas Mark Harmon and Steve Martin. Surprisingly, it was a real-estate developer by name Thomas James Burris whom she met at a dinner at chic Ma Maison restaurant that she would end up with.

The two met in 1980 and within a couple of months, they were already man and wife. At the time, Tom Burris as he was known, was 40 years old and had not only suffered from a previous divorce but also had a child who was 18 years old at the time.

As it will turn out, the marriage to Thomas James Burris would be a terrible mistake for the singer in every single way possible. Firstly, while Karen desperately wanted to have children of her own, Burris was no longer capable of that because he had undergone a vasectomy. Also, even though he claimed that he had never heard of the Carpenters before meeting the singer, many people had come to believe that it was only for her money that Tom married her. This is because after they got married, he delved into a spree of spending her money including loans that were placed at close to $50 thousand on a single occasion. Because of how much he spent her money, Karen was said to have been reduced to only her assets.

In addition, some sources described Burris as being very abusive towards Karen, resulting in depression and sadness for her.

By 1981, Karen was ready to leave the marriage and she filed for a divorce. She was already battling emotional problems as well as health challenges including the eating disorder, Anorexia. On 4th Feb 1983, Karen passed away in Downey California, leaving a lot of her fans accusing Burris of not doing enough to save his wife when she was suffering from the eating disorder that later led to her death. Shortly before her divorce, she changed her will and left all she owned to her parents and brother.

Where is he now?

Since the death of Karen Carpenter, there has hardly been anything heard of James Burris. The last that was heard of him was in an interview in which he stated that while Karen was having problems with her health and career, he was also having problems with his own work. He also insisted that they both got along very well and were also very caring towards each other until they started drifting apart.

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