Herbert Khaury (Tiny Tim) Biography

Tiny Tim BiographyClaim to Fame: Singer and ukulele player
DOB: April 12, 1932
Date of Death: November 30, 1996
Diabetes Type: Unknown

Known for his offbeat appearance, peculiar singing voice and overall weird sense of humor, Herbert Khaury was an eccentric who achieved fame as a singer-songwriter, guitarist, comedian, and ukulele player. Though recognized by his stage name, “Tiny Tim,” Khaury often used a variety of stage names to go along with the unique personalities he portrayed through his music.

Born in 1932 to a Lebanese father and a Jewish mother, Tiny Tim grew up in Washington Heights, Manhattan, New York City. Tim was the only child of Butros Khaury and Tillie Staff-Khaury and often struggled academically and socially. Often bullied and a loner, Tim found pleasure in music, particularly American popular music from 1890’s to the 1930’s, and wanted to become a musician. He began studying guitar and ukulele, and, believing himself capable of achieving his dream, he dropped out of high school.

His earliest performances took place in small, bar scenes and were often met with heckles and jeers. However, in the early 1950’s, while playing at the lesbian bar, Page 3, in Greenwich Village, under the name Larry Love the Singing Canary, the reception of the crowd was laughter and cheers, thus introducing Tim to the audience he would perform for – those outside of the mainstream culture.  By the early 1960’s, Tim had gained such a large fan base in Greenwich Village, and such recognition in that area, that he began pulling in the job offers and, where he was meant to do only a song, would take over the venue.

As his popularity grew, so did his desire to experiment with his music.  Tim began incorporating elements of popular songs into parodied renditions, a technique that proved a hit and changed the course of his career.  In 1968, Tim appeared in You Are What You Eat, a semi-documentary film chronicling the emergence of American counter-cultures and the developing hippie scene taking over the country. The film brought Tim to the attention of comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin and the duo arranged for Tim to appear on their show, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, resulting in success and a regular spot on television for the quirky performer.

Following his bit on Laugh In, Tim became a highly talked about and sought after oddity. Overwhelmed with invitations to appear on shows like Jackie Gleason, Johnny Carson, and Ed Sullivan, Tiny Tim also received an invitation for a record deal with Reprise Records.  Toward the end of 1968, Tim released his first and second albums, God Bless Tiny Tim and Tiny Tim’s Second Album. Tim’s best known single from the first album was “ Tip-Toe Through the Tulips,” selling more than 200,000 copies.

In 1969, Tim released his third album, For My Little Friends, and married 17-year-old Victoria Budinger on the Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. Despite the public attention and the couple’s daughter, Tulip, the pair lived mostly apart and divorced in 1974.  Shortly after the divorce, Tim’s fame began to fade and, regardless of his best attempts, he quickly found himself performing small venues and cutting records with no-name labels. Tim received a hiccup of fame again in the 90’s but, in 1996, while performing, he went into cardiac arrest and, after a period of unconsciousness, died. He was 64 when he died.

Find more musicians with diabetes.

Last Modified Date: November 28, 2012

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by Lindsey Guerin
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