Maureen Cox Starkey

Born: August 4, 1946 in Liverpool

Sadly, died December 30, 1994 of Leukemia despite a bone marrow transplant from her son Zak

Mary Cox was born August 4, 1946 in Liverpool, England. She was a hairdresser by the time she was 16 Maureen Starryears old, and, like many teenagers in Liverpool, was interested in the new Merseybeat sound. She was particularly interested in one band, The Beatles, who performed regularly at the Cavern Club (which Cox frequented).

At the time, The Beatles recently had a new new drummer, Richard Starkey, (Ringo Starr), from rival group Rory Storm & The Hurricanes (see also Iris Caldwell, Rory's sister). One day the hairdresser spotted Ringo on the street and chased after him. She was able to get StarrŐs autograph; he wrote his license number on the paper as well.

Paul McCartney, however, was the first Beatle Cox kissed. Her friend made a bet saying that she couldnŐt kiss Paul, but Maureen was determined to win. Fighting her way backstage, Cox went right up to McCartney and kissed him (while her friend burst into tears, thinking that Cox wasn't up to the dare). Meanwhile, Cox waited for Starr to come out, for she still liked him best. She went up and kissed him as well.

It was still three weeks later until Ringo took any notice of her. Once he did, they went out regularly together, often with a friend of Cox. This friend was in the way, but Cox didnŐt want to offend her by telling her she couldnŐt come along. Although Cox was dating Starr, she would still go to Cavern performances to watch the Beatles. It was getting more and more dangerous for her to go. As Cox recalled in 1967:

(The girls) used to hang around the Cavern all day long, just on the off chance of seeing them. TheyŐd come out of the lunchtime session and just stand outside all afternoon, queuing up for the evening. Ritchie and I once went past at midnight and they were already queuing up for the next day....The object was to get as near the front row as possible, so that they could see the Beatles, and be seen. I never joined the queue till about two or three hours before the Cavern opened. It frightened me. There would be fights and rows among the girls. When the doors opened the first ones would tear in, knocking each other over. TheyŐd keep their rollers in and jeans on for the first groups. Then when it got near the time for the Beatles to come on, if there was a gang of four say, they would go off in turns to the lavatory with their little cases to get changed and made up. So when the Beatles came on theyŐd look smashing, as if theyŐd just arrived...They were obviously dying to be noticed and get to know one of them. But no, it was really just everything about being there. It was terrible, the mad screams when they came on...."

Cox's life was at stake once some of the fans figured out that she was dating Ringo. She was almost killed once and regularly beaten up by the girls. But their relationship would end for some time, since The Beatles were about to become famous. Cox visited Starr when his tonsils were taken out, and their relationship began again.

At this point, Cox wasn't well known in the press. That was until she went on holiday with Starr, Paul McCartney, and his girlfriend, Jane Asher. Cox, afraid her parents would object, went on this holiday without her parents knowing. When her name was all over the British tabloids, they knew where she was. Maureen's father, Joe Cox, 1964:

"It really did not surprise my wife or myself when we learned she was half way across the world. In any case it wouldn't have made any difference. I would have given her permission anyway. Maureen is a sensible girl and well able to take care of herself."

Although not well-liked by the fans, Cox answered many of Starr's mail from his female admirers. Parents would write back thanking her for being so nice to their daughters.


The 18-year-old Cox married Ringo Starr on February 11, 1965. Their first child, Zak, was born on September 13, 1965 (followed by Jason on August 19, 1967 and Lee on November 17, 1970 ).During this time, Cox was still a part of RingoŐs life, even though their marriage was strained. She sang backup vocals on ŇThe Continuing Story Of Bungalow BillÓ and also was the only Beatle wife in attendance at the rooftop concert in 1969.

 

When the Beatles broke up in 1970, so did the Starkey marriage. RingoŐs infidelities were increasing even more, his alcoholism becoming more of a problem. To make matters worse, when the Starrs were visiting George and Pattie Harrison, George said how much he loved Maureen. Rumors have persisted that this fateful evening led to the breakup of the Harrisons' and Starrs' marriages.

With all of the marriage problems the couple faced, Maureen Starkey didnŐt want a divorce. Her husband, however, persisted that they should be divorced. Maureen unwillingly accepted. On July 17, 1975, the divorce was finalized on the grounds of RingoŐs affair with an American model, Nancy Andrews.

 


In the 1980's, Maureen became involved with Isaac Tigrett. Tigrett owned the Hard Rock Cafe chain and is now the current owner of the House Of Blues. In 1987, Maureen gave birth to their daughter, Augusta, and also welcomed her first grandchild from son Zak.

 

On May 27, 1989, Maureen and Tigrett were married, deciding to split their time between Los Angeles and Boston. The new Mrs. Tigrett said at the time she had to grow up after her divorce from Starr, but stated that she was at peace with herself. It seemed everything would be fine for Tigrett, but it turned out not to be.

At the opening of the House Of Blues in Los Angeles, California, Tigrett suddenly passed out. What started as a prognosis of being an anemic turned into one of a form of leukemia known as mylodysplasia. She was quickly moved in October of 1994 to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. They did all they could, but it was a losing battle for her life. Her son, Zak, tried to help out by being the donor for a bone-marrow transplant, white blood-cells and blood platelets. But Tigrett had a serious fungal infection that could not be cured. On December 30, 1994, Tigrett died at the young age of 47. Her husband, Zak, Jason, Lee, her mother and her ex-husband were surrounding her as she quietly died. Dan Akyroyd, AugustaŐs godfather, was quoted as saying shortly after her death,

How she met Ringo: She was a Cavern regular and had gone out with Johnny Guitar from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, when Ringo was the drummer for that group. She kissed Paul and Ringo on a dare one night after their show, which Ringo doesn't recall, but he asked her to dance at the Cavern one night.

The two shared one common interest in particular: hairdressing. Ringo dreamed of opening a salon and, when the two met, Maureen was working in one.

Marriage:

February 11, 1965 at Caxton Hall, Westminster. They had been out of contact for some time while she stayed in Liverpool. They were re-acquainted when Ringo had his tonsils removed.

Attendees at the wedding included: Brian Epstein (best man), parents of the bride and groom, John and Cynthia Lennon, and George Harrison

What the Beatles were doing that night: This was during a break between their Christmas Show of 1964, which ended in January, and the recording of the Help!

 soundtrack beginning four days later.

Basically, Maureen was a Beatles fan who was lucky enough to meet and become involved with a Beatle early in their career.

To many, this seemed like a wonderful marriage until one night when, during a gathering of Ringo, Maureen, and Pattie and George Harrison, George announced he was in love with Maureen! It was rumored that Maureen and George had a brief affair.

Divorce: July 17, 1975 (Ringo admitted adultery with American actress Nancy Andrews)

Later marriages: Isaac Tigrett (millionaire of Hard Rock Cafe fame) on May 27, 1989

Children: Zak on September 13, 1965, Jason on August 19, 1967, and Lee on November 17, 1970, Augusta b 1987

Interesting Facts

That's Maureen cheering at the end of Get Back (and when Paul says, "Thanks, Mo.", he's referring to her).