Saturday, July 30, 2011


Mary "Maureen" Cox was born August 4th 1946, the only daughter of a Liverpudlian shipworker and his wife. She left Catholic convent school at age 14 to work as a beautician, going by the name Maureen and, to her friends, Mo. As a teen in Liverpool, it was common to hang about the Cavern Club, as she was doing at age 15 when she saw the Beatles perform. She, along with queues of other fans, grew a crush on the drummer, Ringo Starr (who was 6 years her senior). But unlike other fans, she began to date him. She gained new, jealous enemies, many of whom threatened her at work, and one even scratched her face. She had to quit her job, but didn't see much of Ringo in the next months as he and the Beatles traveled. Once he fell ill with tonsillitis, though, they became close again because of her frequent visits. Mo found she was pregnant in January 1965, and they married in February. Up to this point, and well after, too, Maureen would refuse to give interviews by herself, despite the novelty and fame that came with becoming the second Beatle wife. Mo's best friends became the other Beatle girls: Pattie Boyd (Harrison), Cynthia Lennon, and Jane Asher (though less so). She was different than the other girls; she was a Beatles fan first, younger than the others, and ever so much more Liverpudlian, using phrases like "bloody hell!" "sodden hellfire!" and "It's breakin' me brain." Her life revolved around family; after Zak was born in 1965, she and Ringo had two more children, Jason in 1967 and Lee in 1970. She always had a meal ready for Ringo (or as she called him, "Ritchie") when he came home from recording, and answered his fan mail. In 1968, as a gift to Maureen for her 22nd birthday, Ringo had Frank Sinatra record a personalized version of "The Lady is a Tramp", "Maureen is a Champ". Unfortunately, their good times were not to last forever: with the breakup of the Beatles in 1970 came the breaking up of their marriage. Ringo's infidelities and drug use shot up, and a conflicted Maureen began an affair with George Harrison (to Pattie's absolute horror). George even confronted Ringo, saying "You know, Ringo, I'm in love with your wife," to which Ringo replied, "Better you than someone we don't know." They officially divorced in 1975, and Mo reacted by unsuccessfully attempting suicide via a motorcycle crash (though she liked how the reconstructive surgery changed her face). She wasn't down for long; by 1976 she was living with new love and Hard Rock Cafe founder Isaac Tigrett. After her long legal battle with Ringo during their divorce, one of Mo's catchphrases became "Just give me furs, jewels, and property, thank you." Isaac often introduced her as his "most authentic piece of rock and roll memorabilia." She remained on good terms with all of her friends from the Beatles days, and was even with Cynthia Lennon when they heard the sad news of John Lennon's death in 1980. In 1987, Maureen and Isaac had a daughter, Augusta. Maureen and Isaac married in 1989, after being together 13 years. Maureen passed away at home in 1994 after battling leukemia, surrounded by her husband, ex-husband, and children. Paul McCartney's "Little Willow" is dedicated to her memory.

Sunny Heights, Mo and Ringo's first home

(Photos: scans from 16 Magazine, Beatles Anthology, The Beatles: 50 Fabulous Years, John Lennon: Life In Pictures, The Beatles Illustrated Biography, Miss O'Dell. All others from Maureen Starr Tribute.)


Chrissie said...

Lovely post!! I've never seen some of these pictures before. Mo was soo beautiful and loving. I just can't get enough of her. Thanks for the post!!

naivebones said...

lovely post as usual! situations were so hard for women in ths 60s, really nice :)

Leticia said...

favorite ringo wife for me! They made such a great couple. loved all the images, girl. great collection. peace

Jaggerfan1 said...

I've heard of her. She was married to Ringo Starr from The Beatles. I think she is the mother of Zak Starkey from The Who.