Operatic Tenor Is Brain Damaged – New York Times


Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Jerry Hadley as Jay Gatsby and Dawn Upshaw as Daisy Buchanan in the Metropolitan Opera production of “The Great Gatsby” in 2002.

July 11, 2007
Operatic Tenor Is Brain Damaged

Jerry Hadley, a major American operatic tenor whose career had waned in recent years, apparently shot himself in the head with an air rifle at his home in upstate New York early Tuesday morning and was seriously injured, the police have said.

Mr. Hadley, 55, suffered brain damage and is on life support, State Police Sgt. Gerry Salmon said today. Mr. Hadley was wounded inside his house in Clinton Corners, near Poughkeepsie, Sergeant Salmon said, adding that the case was being investigated as an attempted suicide.

Mr. Hadley was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, Sergeant Salmon said. “The CAT scan and other X-rays they took at the time show some pretty severe brain injury,” the sergeant added. “They do not expect him to recover.”

Mr. Hadley appeared to be having difficulties in the last few years. In May 2006, he was arrested on drunken-driving charges while sitting in a parked car on Riverside Drive in Manhattan, but prosecutors later dropped the case.

In recent months, he had been talking about reviving his career with a move into character roles, according to Neil Funkhouser, an artists’ manager.

“He always seemed to me to be one of the most upbeat, positive people that I knew,” Mr. Funkhouser said. “This comes as a total shock to me. There was nothing that would indicate to me that something like this would happen.”

Others, however, said Mr. Hadley seemed to be in distress, including financial problems, according to the police.

“I know he’s been in really bad trouble,” said the composer John Harbison. “He’s been very depressed.”  

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