Dennis Carl Wilson the co-founder of the Beach Boys and an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He is best known as the band’s drummer and the middle brother of Brian and Carl Wilson. But did you know that one of the US Presidents helped him to his burial?
Dennis Wilson, the late Beach Boys drummer. The Coast Guard allowed him to be buried at sea thanks to President Ronald Reagan’s intervention.
How Did Ronald Reagan Get to Know the Beach Boys?
During their White House tenure, Ronald and Nancy Reagan declared themselves Beach Boys fans, with the president dubbing the group America’s Band. From 1980 to 1982, the Beach Boys would perform on the National Mall on July 4th, an event that was halted in 1983 by Secretary of the Interior James Watt, who believed rock bands shouldn’t perform on Independence Day. However, Nancy Reagan defended the Beach Boys, and the group returned to the National Mall in 1984, performing in front of 750,000 people. (Source: Rolling Stone)
What was the Reason Behind Dennis Wilson’s Death?
Dennis drowned at Marina Del Rey on December 28, three weeks after his 39th birthday, after drinking all day and diving in the afternoon to recover his ex-belongings, his wife, which he had tossed overboard from their yacht three years earlier during their divorce. According to forensic pathologist Michael Hunter, Dennis had a shallow-water blackout just before his death. (Source: Rolling Stone)
Dennis Wilson’s Burial and President Reagan’s Request for the Coast Guard
President Ronald Reagan was in California for the holidays, taping his customary New Year’s Eve radio address. The president urged that we do whatever was possible for the family, Craig Fuller, assistant for cabinet affairs, wrote to a constituent after learning of Wilson’s tragedy.
When Wilson’s wife and mother requested that he be buried, a plan was put in motion immediately. The assignment was completed in one week by his cabinet affairs team. According to an internal memo, the Coast Guard was first approached for discreet fact-finding. The Department of Transportation then formally requested that the burial be carried out by top 11th Coast Guard District officers in Long Beach, California.
The president and Mrs. Reagan asked us to assist the family in reaching their goal as soon as possible.Craig Fuller, Cabinet Affairs Assistant
The following Wednesday afternoon, the Pacific was calm with good visibility. Wilson’s family was picked up by Point Judith’s 17-person crew at Marina del Rey, where he had been diving from a boat slip the previous week. Three of his children were on board, as well as his wife of five months, Shawn Love, and his younger brother, Carl Wilson. The ship sailed for 45 minutes before reaching international waters 600 feet deep, the minimum depth required by US federal law for full-body burials.
All I could see was my father’s body vanishing into the water.Scott Wilson, Dennis Wilson’s Son
(Source: The Guardian)