Who is Art Garfunkel?
Arthur Ira ‘Art’ Garfunkel is an American singer, poet, and actor. The multi-faceted personality is a teacher of mathematics as well. He is best known for partnering with Paul Simon to form the folk rock duo ‘Simon & Garfunkel’. They garnered a lot of fame in the 1960s and 1970s with albums like ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and ‘The Sound of Silence’. The duo’s most successful work is the former, which was a huge success commercially and critically. It won the Grammy Award for ‘Record of the Year’ and was also mentioned in Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’. As a solo artist, his successful works include ‘Angel Clare’ which reached the fifth position on the US Billboard 200 and ‘Watermark’, which reached the nineteenth position on the US Billboard 200. As an actor, he made his debut in the black comedy war film ‘Catch-22’. It was based on a novel by Joseph Keller. He has also appeared in TV films, such as ‘Acts of Love and Other Comedies’ and ‘Mother Goose: Rock 'n' Rhyme’. In his career so far, he has won eight Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. As an actor, he has been nominated for the Golden Globe Award for his supporting role in the comedy drama film ‘Carnal Knowledge’.
Childhood & Early Life
Arthur Garfunkel was born in Forest Hills, New York on 5th November 1941. His parents were Rose and Jack Garfunkel. He has two brothers.
He developed a strong interest in music at an early age. Therefore, his father brought him a wire recorder. From around the age of four, he would spend hours with the gadget, singing, listening as well as fine-tuning his voice.
He studied at Forest Hills Junior Elementary School, where he continued to sing. It was there that he met his future partner Paul Simon. In the sixth grade, they took part in a production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
The duo eventually began performing together in school talent shows. They used to practice together for fours as well. After he graduated from Forest Hills High School, he studied at the Columbia University, where he majored in architecture.
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In 1963, Art Garfunkel and Simon reunited and formed the duo ‘Simon & Garfunkel.’ The following year, they released their debut album ‘Wednesday Morning, 3 AM’. Since it didn’t do well commercially, the duo decided to go their separate ways.
In 1965, producer Tom Wilson created a remix of their song ‘The Sound of Silence’ which topped the Billboard chart. Therefore, the duo decided to reunite and perform together again.
In 1966, they released their next album ‘Sounds of Silence’. It was a success and reached the 21st position on the US Billboard 200. They next produced the soundtrack for the 1967 romantic comedy drama film ‘The Graduate’. It was based on a novel of the same name by Charles Webb. The film was a huge success commercially and critically, and also earned several Oscar nominations, winning one for Best Director.
Their next album was ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme’. It reached the 4th position on the US Billboard 200. It was praised by the critics. Their 1968 album ‘Bookends,’ which reached the 1st position on the US Billboard 200, was met positively by the critics.
The most successful work in their career together was their next album ‘Bridge over Troubled Water,’ released in 1970. It reached the 1st position on the US Billboard 200, and also topped the charts in several other countries. It won two Grammy Awards, including the one for ‘Record of the Year’.
Though the duo reached the peak of their fame with ‘Bridge over Troubled Water,’ they decided to split because of personal differences. In 1973, Art Garfunkel finally released his first solo album ‘Angel Clare’. It reached the fifth position on the US Billboard 200.
His next albums were ‘Breakaway’ and ‘Watermark’ released in 1975 and 1977 respectively. He continued his solo career with albums, such as ‘Scissors Cut’ (1981), ‘Lefty’ (1988), ‘Letters from a Parent to a Child’ (1997), and ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ (2007).
He reunited with Simon in 2003 and went on a successful world tour. Garfunkel and Simon also shared the stage to accept the ‘Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award’. They played ‘Sounds of Silence’ on the live show.
In the ensuing years, Garfunkel embarked on several other tours. Though he started experiencing some problems in his vocal chords in 2010, he has continued to perform.
Art Garfunkel made his acting debut with a role in the 1970 black comedy war film ‘Catch-22’. It was adapted from the novel of the same name by Joseph Heller. The film was an average success commercially.
In 1971, he played a supporting role in the comedy drama film ‘Carnal Knowledge’. Garfunkel was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his performance in the category of ‘Best Supporting Actor’.
He appeared in two TV films, ‘Acts of Love and Other Comedies’ and ‘Mother Goose: Rock 'n' Rhyme’. In 1993, he had a supporting role in the film ‘Boxing Helena’.
He has played guest roles in several films and TV series. In 2009, he had a supporting role in the comedy drama film ‘The Rebound’. He was last seen in a 2011 documentary film named ‘Beatles Stories’.
Art Garfunkel, as a part of the duo ‘Simon & Garfunkel,’ released the album ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ which can be regarded as the most successful work of his career. The album reached the 1st position on the US Billboard 200 and also topped the charts in several other countries, such as Canada, Spain and the UK. It earned critical acclaim and also won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.
As a solo artist, one of Garfunkel’s successful works is his third studio album ‘Watermark’. It reached the 19th position on the US Billboard 200, and also entered the charts in Canada, New Zealand, Norway and the UK. It included tracks, such as ‘Saturday Still’, ‘She Moved through the Fair’ and ‘Paper Chase’.
In October 1972, Art Garfunkel married Linda Marie Grossman, an architect. However, they divorced shortly after. Later, he stared dating actress and photographer Laurie Bird. The relationship ended tragically when she committed suicide in 1979. He also dated actress Penny Marshall for a while.
In 1988, he got married for the second time to Kathryn Cermack, a former model. They have two children, James Garfunkel and Beau Daniel Garfunkel.