The global Beatles fan community is mourning the loss of Pauline Sutcliffe, the younger sister of the group's first bassist, the late-Stuart Sutcliffe. Although Pauline died on October 13th at age 75, the news has only just been spread around "Beatledom." Pauline was 18 when her brother died at age 21 on April 10th, 1962 from a cerebral hemorrhage.
Although Pauline was a tireless champion of her older brother's artwork, both in print and in exhibits all over the world, it was her books on him and the Beatles that garnered the most attention — for both good and bad. Over the years she was a frequent presence on the Beatles fan convention circuit.
In 2002, Pauline Sutcliffe published her second book on her brother, titled The Beatles' Shadow: Stuart Sutcliffe & His Lonely Hearts Club, in which she accused John Lennon of brutally attacking Sutcliffe in a jealous rage, which led to his death. Over the past two decades, Pauline has also asserted she believed her brother and Lennon were actually lovers.
While researching 2009's John Lennon: The Life, renowned Beatles author Phillip Norman dispelled the ugly rumor that Lennon caused the brain injury that led to Sutcliffe's death. The Sutcliffe family had been close with Norman after they provided important source material for his groundbreaking 1981 book, Shout!: The Beatles In Their Generation.
In recent years Norman had been frozen out by the Sutcliffe family for digging for the truth about the alleged Lennon attack: ["I had a lot of cooperation from Sutcliffe's mother and his sister, Pauline. We were friends for a long, long time. And it seemed to be quite late in the day that Pauline advanced this story that John had attacked Stuart. Stuart was nearly out of the Beatles by that time. And that could have been the cause of the hemorrhage that killed Stuart. She said that the only witness was (Paul) McCartney — and that was something else I asked him, when I did the John book. You would not forget seeing John launch a murderous attack on Stuart Sutcliffe. And Paul said he had no memories; nothing stands out remotely like that incident. And I did have to write that in the John Lennon book and Pauline took that very amiss."] SOUNDCUE (:40 OC: . . . that very amiss)
Norman went on to describe the need to get to the bottom of the story: ["(She) just was sort of obviously furious and would not cooperate and would not continue to talk to me about John's relationship with Stuart, would not give me any permission to use anything of Stuart's in the book. In all conscience, I couldn't ignore what McCartney said about it, because he was instanced as the only supposed witness of that incident. She said Stuart had told their mother and told Pauline about it. But there again, I mean Astrid (Kirchherr), as well, to whom he was engaged at the time, said it couldn't have happened because Stuart would've told her — and he never did."] SOUNDCUE (:32 OC: . . he never did)