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What ever happened to Toots DeVille? (Did Heroin kill her?)

8. August 2009

Willy DeVille died on August 6, 2009. He had contracted Hepatitis C and, beginning his treatment, doctors found he had pancreatic cancer. That was in June. R.I.P Willy DeVille.

Browsing his bio on Wikipedia, I stumbled upon a peculiar character, Toots DeVille, and decided to do a little research on her. It isn’t much I have yet found out, but I am going to to continue on this article. So far, I have in particular brought together images – I wanted to know what she looked like.

EDIT: Please be sure to read the comments too, as the opinions about Toots seem to be rather controversial.
EDIT: Also keep in mind that some people who comment here have their own agenda, and each their own perception of how things are and were. I have now closed the comments (stopping at a whopping 441) as I grew irritated by the number of people who claimed to have ‚insider stories‘, but mainly used this blog post as a means to come to terms with some stories in their own lives. As neither Toots nor Willy can comment anymore on some of the claims that are being made, I do not want to encourage further speculation, seeing that this thread has meanwhile turned into a gossip mill, with the occasional nastygram from the past.
EDIT: Also:

  • Do not send me mails to ask that I open the comment section again. I won’t.
  • Do not send me mails to tell me that there are errors in what people wrote. This is exactly why I closed the comments – because people spread rumours, hear-say, and lies, and I have no means to find out what is true and what isn’t.
  • Don’t send me mails demanding that I delete any comments. While the comment section was open, it was open to everyone – I am not going to censor anything retroactively, I simply ask you to keep in mind that there is no guarantee that any of this is true.
  • Don’t send me insulting mails, because you think it’s outrageous that I don’t believe you – I don’t know you, and I cannot tell from an email address whether someone is telling lies or now. I am not publishing your comments, just like I am not publishing anybody else’s comments. It’s got nothing to do with you. Go start your own blog if you feel you need to have your say on what happened in Toot’s and Willy’s life. It’s free on www.wordpress.com.


Who was Toots DeVille?

Toots portrait„Willy DeVille was married in the late 1970s to Toots, with whom he had a son, Sean. Alex Halberstadt, Doc Pomus’s biographer, wrote about Toots, „Half French and half Pima Indian, Toots favored a pair of nose rings, snow-white kabuki make-up and a Ronettes-style beehive the color of tar. She’d once put out a lit Marlboro in a woman’s eye just for staring at Willy.“Halberstadt, Alex (2007) Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus. New York: De Capo Press. p. 214 (Wikipedia)

In a 1996 interview with a Sheila Rene, Willy was asked:

Have you seen Toots lately? She was one fascinating character.

Willy: Oh, I really don’t know. I haven’t seen her in over ten years. I ran off on her, I guess. She was fascinating, all right. She loved to fight and pull knives out. She used to get me into a lot of trouble.

I worried a lot about you during those years.

Willy: She did some serious damage to my career. (laughing) It took me ten years to get it back on track.

So little can be found out, it seems, about Toots DeVille! The first photograph of her I found in a forum where she is presented as Amy Winehouse’s paragon: „Before Amy Winehouse, there was Toots DeVille„:

toots deville

I used to road manage Mink DeVille in the late 70’s .This is Willy DeVille on the bench, „Toots“ and Chris the band manager.He found a wheelchair at the airport and was messing around. I think Toots & Amy came from the same mold.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: LarryR, March 21, 2009 12:28 AM

An article from a Dutch fan page states that her real first name was Susan (and the comments offer a variety of views on Susan’s last name, most likely Berle oder Berlinsky): „Willy […] was accompanied by his wife „Toots“ (Susan) who was dressed like one of the Ronettes with a beehive hair-do and tight dress. “ It also included a picture where the couple can be seen, with Susan ‚Toots‘ DeVille sporting her do:

Susan Toots DeVille and Willy DeVille

This one is from a NY Times Punk rock piece:

tootsdeville nyt

This one is taken from a lovely gallery dubbed „Pre-Junk ‚B‘-Girls“ by New York Junk, yet it doesn’t seem Toots was part of of the B-Girls:

toots b girls

The legend of her rather implacable character is either confirmed or reiterated in another blog post on The Belly of The Beast, which reminisces the Fast Lane Summer of 1980; the Fast Lane seems to have been a concert house:

The Fast Lane was a magical place and a magical time, inhabited by a denizen of characters with a capital C.

We had the janitor, Louie La Buff, great name, full-time drunk with a mutt named Dukey that was amazing and haggard all in one. There was a WW2 vet named Tim, with a fake ear, a prosthetic thing made of God knows what, that he lost in my car one night.

There was the fabulous wife of Willy Deville, Toots Deville, who would punch out female audience members for staring at her husband, and she never failed to ask me if I was “holding,” even though she knew I never did heroin. She also used to ask me if she could cut my hair, which was as scary a thought as could be. It was a cast of characters and clowns.

And in the comments, radiogirlpnr adds:

Dear God, I remember Toots – when I worked at WBCN in Boston, Willy came in for a chat, and Oedipus (whose show I produced) pulled me aside and warned me NOT – under any circumstances – to give even the slightest appearance of flirting with Willy.

DrumBob toots the same horn (sorry for the pun:)

The truth is, I knew Willie was using hard drugs back in the 70’s. He may have straightened up as the years went on. We hung out a few times after and before shows. I was at his apartment on the Lower East Side one night, and Toots said to me, „Do you have any drugs?“ I said, „I have a joint.“ She said, „NO, I mean DRUGS!“ She meant heroin.

More Trivia: The shoulder and panther tattoo on the Mink DeVille cover of Le Chat Bleu (1980/81) belong to Toots DeVille.


This scan of a magazine spread (couldn’t find out which mag) shows that Willy and Toots shared the tattoo:

willy deville and toots deville share tattoo

EDIT Please take the time to read the comments below – they’ve got many useful links!

443 Kommentare
  1. Lia permalink
    8. August 2009 10:31 am

    She’s dead now.I assume drug related?? I don’t really know how or when. But she was quite famous in her own way for a time in the late 70’s. She used to be in Creem magazine (with and without Willy) all the time and yeah, she really seemed like the coolest chick…so different from all the others at the time.

  2. 8. August 2009 10:44 am

    Thank you Lia. I need to get my hands on a few issues of Creem Mag in the late 70’s. There is next to nothing on her on the web. Odd.

  3. 8. August 2009 8:09 pm

    There was NOTHING cool about Toots. She was a white trash bitch who ruined Willy’s life and probably killed him due to getting him hooked on junk. I am very lucky she never pulled a knife on me since the attraction between Willy and I was never a secret. The worst she did to me was rip up a film proposal I gave him to do a music video of him (before MTV) but she did injure other women who were too interested in him. He was WAY too good for her.

  4. 9. August 2009 2:12 pm

    @Belina Rachmann: Now you’ve made me curious: Not only did you know both in person, but these days, you’re a divorce lawyer and divorce mediator who in the past was lucky that Willy DeVille’s first wife never pulled a knife on you since the attraction between you and her husband was never a secret? Did you follow up on this attraction? (Not my business anyway, but like I said, now that you’ve mentioned it, you’ve made me curious).

  5. 10. August 2009 7:35 am

    Nothing ever happened, that was he problem. For at least 10 years Willy was out of it on heroin. I would bet anything that Toots was the one who brought Heroin into Willy’s life and not the other way around. She was just the worst!! I worry about the child they had. What must his his life be like with a crazy mother like that.

  6. 10. August 2009 10:10 am

    Maybe Sean never saw much of his mother. Where did he grow up? There’s even less known about him than about her. He must be in his 30s now.

  7. 10. August 2009 11:14 pm

    The Fast Lane (mentioned above) was a nightclub in Asbury Park, New Jersey, not far from the Stone Pony. Previously called the Hotel California, it flourished in the late ’70s and early ’80s (there were a couple unsuccessful attempts to reopen it afterward). While the Pony tended to book local acts (like Southside Johnny and Cats on a Smooth Surface), the Fast Lane had a steady stream of national acts, mostly on weekends. Along with Mink DeVille, U2, Tom Petty and the Ramones also played early gigs there. Springsteen was a regular for awhile, guesting with bands like Beaver Brown, the Stray Cats, Robert Gordon, etc. Jon Bon Jovi’s early band, Atlantic City Expressway, was also a mainstay. It’s the first place I ever saw Springsteen, when he joined Gordon on stage there in 1979.

  8. 11. August 2009 12:06 am

    Thanks for filling me in!

  9. 11. August 2009 3:42 am

    Sorry you couldn’t get along with her Belinda. Toots was no monster. She deeply loved Willy and devoted herself to him. Drugs were certainly a big part of their life together but both Willy & Toots share the „blame“ if there is any to be shared.
    Not to dismiss his talents but Billy Borsey would NEVER have become the Willy DeVille without Toots there to guide and inspire him.
    I’m not going to get into the reasons they split up. None of your business.
    What’s important is that they were together for almost 20 years.
    After the split Toots had a few hard years (having had her reason for living torn away from her). She cleaned up her act in the 90’s.‘
    She was living in upstate New York working as a care provider for the elderly when she died of cancer in 2005 .
    Willy & Toots son Sean is in his late 30’s and was at Willy’s bedside when he died.

  10. 11. August 2009 9:13 am

    Without Toots, Billy Borsey would never have become Willy DeVille.
    I met Billy & Susan (Toots) in 1970. They already were married and their son Sean was only about one year old at the time. They were both young and had a deep, devoted love for each other. WIlly was a musician even then and his talents were obvious. It was Toots who formed the “look” that Willy adapted. By 1972, when every one was wearing the Lola Granola / Dan Fogelburp look. Toots was wearing tight dresses, stiletto heels, a nose ring, dying her hair black and wearing it in a bouffant. She dressed Willy in ruffled shirts, skinny pants and pompadour. When Mink DeVille was formed, Manfred, Louis & Richard would not be allowed on stage until Toots OK’d their outfits. Drugs, & I don’t mean weed, were a part of their life. It all went with the look. Some blame Toots for taking Willy down that path but that’s just not how it was. He sought drugs without her. Did she enable him? Of course, just as much as he enabled her. Toots devoted herself to Willy and his career. She was extremely protective of him and would take no crap from any woman who made advances to him. They were together for almost 20 years.
    Their reasons for breaking up would take 20 years to explain.
    After the split, she spent quite a few years as a lost soul, having what she had devoted her life to taken away from her. She cleaned up in the ’90’s. Toots was working in upstate New York as a care provider for the elderly when she died of cancer in 2005. During her last years she had reconciled with her past. She was one of the most memorable persons I ever met.

  11. Charlie Wilson permalink
    12. August 2009 6:03 am

    I spent a year or so working with Willy in 1979/80 as his guitar tech. Actually, the entire band tech. Toots was a strong woman, I was only 18, she kinda mothered me, took me under her wing, wanted to take me to France so I could meet a nice girl. She gave me an elephant hair bracelet, which I still carry to this day. I am saddened to hear that she died only a few years ago- I am surprised she lived that long- and Willy, too! I have a lot of memories from that time, and at that young age, a lot of things I learned about life from them I still carry with me now.

  12. 12. August 2009 7:53 am

    thank you for sharing your memories. I love how the picture of her is getting bigger and bigger, and less onedimensional with every view people add.

  13. ellen permalink
    12. August 2009 4:18 pm

    Toots’s real name was Susan Martincak. By the way, does anyone know what Toots and Willy’s son Sean looks like? I am deadcurious to see a picture of him.

  14. 12. August 2009 4:20 pm

    No idea – I found a Sean DeVille from Calgary, Alberta on Facebook, but didn’t dare to ask him.

    Edit: Asked him – no response yet, but Irina’s comment explains why:)

  15. irina permalink
    12. August 2009 4:57 pm

    His name is Sean Borsey, Toots‘ birth name was Susan Berlinsky

  16. amy hoyt permalink
    12. August 2009 7:05 pm

    I know her full name was Susan Berl( last name may be spelled wrong) and she also lived in Stamford Ct., they where together from very young, and I believe her son was not Willy’s but was raised as his.
    That’s about all I know.

  17. ellen permalink
    12. August 2009 7:05 pm

    So this means that Toots married again after the breakup with Willy with a certain Martincak and that she was Jewish (according to her last name Berlinsky) instead of half French/half Indian ?

  18. 12. August 2009 7:06 pm

    So we have three suggested surnames now:

    Susan Martincak
    Susan Berlinsky
    Susan Berl

  19. ellen permalink
    12. August 2009 7:26 pm

    Berle is short for Berlinksy. Her Father was Maurice Berlinksky (changed his name into Berle). You can find them on the Berlinksy familytree, Susans name is also there

  20. ellen permalink
    12. August 2009 7:26 pm

    excuse the wrong spelling, I meant BERLINSKY.

  21. amy permalink
    12. August 2009 11:14 pm

    I think Willy and Sue broke up for a while and he went with a girl at my High school in Stamford and they formed The Immaculate Conception, another of his early groups.They played all around the area. Then Toots came back to town and by then had Sean. Willy broke up the band and went back Toots and they went off to NYC together!

  22. tepi rosen permalink
    13. August 2009 3:06 am

    I spent much time with Willy and Toots and I am very sorry to hear they are both gone so young in their lives. Knowing them was a glorious and painful experience. I shall never forget our times together and hold the memories in my heart. I pray that their son is well and leads a long and happy life. Many blessings to him and loved ones remaining.
    Willy and Toots were remarkable people who did love one another greatly. May they both rest in peace.
    Tepi Rosen- a long ago punk from New York

  23. 13. August 2009 8:24 am

    Thank you, Tepi, for stopping by and sharing your memories.

  24. 13. August 2009 10:46 am

    Was going out with Sue before Willy..
    in Jersey .
    Sue and I went to the Atlanta Pop Fest together.

    She was Funny And Dangerous ..
    In a Bus Station in Macon Ga..She pulled A butcher Knife out her boot on some red neck who didn’t like my hair.
    Barely got out of there..
    Hooked up with her and Willy in New Orleans late 70’s early 80’s..

    became friends with Willy ..jammed in front of the
    A & P on Royal and St Peter in the fog one night ..great time..

    Later after they split..

    Willy and I would have fun ( sort of shaking fun) telling horror stories about our similar experiences with Sue..

    Luckily we were still alive to talk about it we felt.. Last time I saw willy we took some great Pix together gotta find em..

    He never got the fame he deserved in the states..
    Weird Love to hear more stories cu Z

  25. 13. August 2009 12:02 pm

    Hey Amzie, nice photo on your homepage! Let me know once you find the pics.

  26. Tshirt permalink
    13. August 2009 11:26 pm

    Used to know the girl who did Mink DeVille’s press in Britain, she said the only way to get Willy to do anything was to butter up Toots. She totally dominated the people charged with promoting Mink DeVille to the point of terrifying almost everyone at the record company.
    Toots was absolutely brutal with anyone she thought was either trying to get between Willy and her or not pushing his music hard enough, while all the time wanting to score smack.

  27. Spike permalink
    14. August 2009 1:32 am

    I played briefly in Billy and the Kids with Willy and met Susan Berle completely independently, in high school. She was a captivating person, I really liked her then, and I never saw any of the violence that people referenced, not that smack didn’t bring out the worst in people.

  28. sarahb718 permalink
    17. August 2009 12:37 am

    Note to „Dominick“:

    In his interview referenced above (1996 interview w/Sheila Rene) Willy was asked: „Have you seen Toots lately?“ Willy replies: „I really don’t know. I haven’t seen her in over ten years. I ran off on her, I guess.“ Does he say, „it’s none of your business“ or „it would take 20 years to explain?“ No. His message about sums it up.

  29. Pietro permalink
    18. August 2009 10:38 pm

    Here is the Berlinsky family tree mentioned above:


  30. Marleen Briers permalink
    21. August 2009 5:25 pm

    Berle, Maurice
    BERLE, Maurice Entered into eternal rest on the afternoon of February 5, 2005 Maurice Berle, retired vice president of Palm Beach Clothier, beloved husband of Helen Laufer Dwork Berle. Residence, Charleston, SC. Relatives and friends of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Berle are invited to attend the funeral service of the former at Beth Elohim Cemetery, Huguenin Ave., Tuesday, February 8, 2005 at one o’clock. Mr. Berle was born March 26, 1916 in Charleston, S.C., the son of Phillip and Bella Berlinsky. He was a member of Beth Elohim Temple and serviced in the U.S. Army during W.W.II. He is survived by his wife of Charleston, S.C; two step-daughters, Harriet D. Keith and her husband Daulton of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., and Susan D. Slotnick and her husband Howard of Armonk, NY; one grandson, Sean Borsey of New York City; son-in- law, William P. Borsey of New York City; three brothers, Herbert Berlinsky and his wife Jackie, Danny Berlinsky and his wife Ruth, Norman Berlinsky and his wife Eve, and one sister, Barbara Stine and her husband Gordan, all of Charleston, S.C.; numerous nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his daughter, Susan Martincak and sister Hattie B. Olasov. Memorials may be made to Beth Elohim Temple, 90 Hasell Street, Charleston, S.C., 29401. Arrangements by J. HENRY STUHR, INC., DOWNTOWN CHAPEL. A memorial message may be sent the family by visiting Stuhr’s website at http://www.jhenrystuhr.com. Visit our guestbook at http://www.charleston.net/deaths. Published in the Charleston Post & Courier on 2/7/2005.

    This can help maybe also ?

  31. Stephanie permalink
    27. August 2009 12:59 am

    So was Toot’s name Susan Berle or Susan Martincak (as the obituary indicates)? Did she remarry a man named Martincak later in life?

    This woman is really fascinating.

  32. Stephanie permalink
    27. August 2009 1:05 am

    The social security death index lists Susan Martincak’s information as follows:

    born 19 Feb 1950 in New York state

    died 12 Aug 2004


  33. amy permalink
    27. August 2009 5:32 am

    From what I know of her , her maiden name was Berle, (her father shortened it from Berlinsky from what I have read here),so she must have remarried after the divorce from Willy.

  34. ellenk permalink
    27. August 2009 12:27 pm

    Here you can see Toots live, after Willy has finished doing Spanish Stroll.

  35. ellenk permalink
    27. August 2009 12:29 pm

    something went wrong, here is the link.


  36. 29. August 2009 9:19 pm

    I remember travelling with Toots and Willy in 1977 (I think that was the year,the time of his Spanish Stroll mega hit)in a massive Rolls Royce to the Hammersmith Odeon, London. My boyfriend, David Grahame, had taken me to meet them at the Portobello Hotel. He had been great friends with Willy in New York and had played in a band with him. David always carried a photo of Sean in his wallet, that’s how close they were. After watching the gig at Hammersmith Odeon, we went to the Capitol Record Company reception at Mr.Chow’s in Knightsbridge. Willy was really cool and Toots a really colourful character. I liked them both. Sadly David died in 2002 and he talked about that time shortly before his death. May Wiily rest in peace and may God bless him.

  37. 30. August 2009 5:50 am

    Some photos of Toots and Willy in Paris in 1982 at this French blog:


  38. ellen permalink
    30. August 2009 6:14 pm

    Could someone please help me out on this; is Sean Borsey really Willy’s son or was he adopted? Been wondering about this for years.

  39. amy permalink
    31. August 2009 4:58 am

    From what I had heard around, Sean was her son and Willy adopted him after they got married. But I could be wrong, I lived in Stamford and Willy grew up near me so I heard different stories about the 2 of them once they became well known.

  40. Dan permalink
    31. August 2009 9:48 pm

    On the liner notes of Mink Deville’s first album it says: „Soul & Inspiration: Suzy Berle and Billy Borsey Jr.“

  41. amy permalink
    1. September 2009 4:09 am

    Willy Deville WAS Billy Borsey JR., that was his real name. His father was William Borsey SR.

  42. 18. September 2009 10:09 pm

    I would also like to know about DeVille’s second wife, Lisa Leggett. She committed suicide by hanging in 2001.

  43. ellen permalink
    20. September 2009 7:18 pm

    In this interview Willy tells about the suicide of Lisa and how he found her.

  44. you permalink
    21. September 2009 3:24 am

    Lisa was the love of his life and business manager. They met in california and married in 1984. She committd suicide in 2001 afte learning of his love affair with Nina

  45. You permalink
    21. September 2009 3:26 am

    Lias was the love of his life. THey met and married in 1984. She committed suicide after learning of his love affair with Nina

  46. amy permalink
    25. September 2009 3:52 am

    Does anyone have a picture of Lisa or Nina?

  47. maddie permalink
    25. September 2009 11:45 am

    In this is picture you can see Lisa, Willy’s second wife, on the left. The woman in the middle is Trudy Jost, a swiss lady who used to make Willy’s leather stage outfits.


  48. ellen permalink
    25. September 2009 12:22 pm

    If you browse through the pictures below you can see Willy with his third wife Nina Lagerwall.


  49. ellen permalink
    25. September 2009 1:38 pm

    by the way, here are some great pictures of a young Willy and Toots.


  50. WILLIE permalink
    25. September 2009 1:50 pm


    a beautiful WILLY

  51. WILLIE permalink
    25. September 2009 2:00 pm



  52. ellen permalink
    25. September 2009 2:11 pm

    Question for Amy(I assume you saw Toots in real life): do you happen to know what’s wrong with Toots’s upper lip? Did she have a hare-lip or is it just a wart ?


  53. amy permalink
    28. September 2009 4:57 am

    Seeing her with Willy back in the eary 70’s there was nothing wrong with her upper lip. I can only guess that she may have had piercings, she was very ahead of her time and had a nose piercing way back then, which very odd at that time.

  54. SpanishStroll permalink
    6. Oktober 2009 8:23 am

    Willy must have been thinking about Toots when he sang these words (from „Spanish Stroll“):

    Sister Sue, tell me baby what’re we gonna do?
    She said, „Take the candles and then you burn them out,
    Make a paper boat, light it, and send it out.“

    Toots (Susan Berle) flamed brightly like a candle burning out, and the image of the burning paper boat momentarily defying the water also seems to suit her.

  55. ellen permalink
    25. Oktober 2009 9:00 pm

    A picture of Sean (on the right). Not Willy’s biological son though. Toots was pregnant and Willy married her.


  56. Gail permalink
    26. Oktober 2009 10:01 pm


  57. 26. Oktober 2009 10:11 pm

    @gail, capslock day is over.

  58. maddie permalink
    27. Oktober 2009 9:02 am

    Dear Gail,

    Thank you so much for posting these facts.
    It’s very nice to hear something about Willy’s background from an insider ( with or without capslocks).
    Thanks again.

  59. DottyDuck permalink
    29. Oktober 2009 10:53 pm

    Very nice video. In the beginning and at the end you can see Lisa, willy’s second wife. very nice interview from 1996. I don know how to link, but go to http://www.youtube.com, willy de ville -TV interview 1996 Utrecht,NL

  60. WILLIE permalink
    30. Oktober 2009 7:05 pm

    Dotty Duck, I think you mean this one

  61. mia permalink
    2. November 2009 12:30 pm


    Found this in the net…so think susan toots deville was buried here…

    I love the website…

    Especially all news about toots…


  62. amy permalink
    3. November 2009 3:33 am

    Question for Gail,
    I found your story about the Borseys interesting. I was friendly with Eddie O’Hara JR. back in the day. Were he and Willy related? I got lost in your story with all the Eddies and O’Hara’s and O’Briens. I also know Marlene O’Brian , she called Willy her uncle.

  63. Spanish Stroll permalink
    6. November 2009 12:46 am

    I thought Gail’s note was fascinating, but yes, it’s hard to tell the people apart. Here’s what I understand from her note (correct me if I’m wrong, Gail):

    Willy DeVille’s mother was named Marian. She had an ongoing affair with someone named Eddie O’Hara, who was a drunkard. Her first marriage was to Eddie O’Brian Sr. Marian and Eddie O’Brian Sr. had two children, Eddie Jr. and Michael. Later Marian divorced Eddie O’Brian Sr. and married Willy DeVille’s father, Bill Borsey, a wonderful man, and they had two children together, Bill Jr. (Willy DeVille) and Mary Ellen.

    Later, Marian lived with Gail’s father (he is not named) and they moved from Stamford, Connecticut to Florida. Mary Ellen, Willy DeVille’s sister (“a user just like her mother,” “I don’t have many nice things to say about her so it’s better I say nothing”), sometimes came to visit from another country (Australia, according to Willy DeVille obituaries). Marian often abandoned Gail’s father in Florida to visit Mary Ellen, her daughter in Australia.

    Michael, Willy DeVille’s half brother, was killed in a car accident.

    Eddie Jr., Willy DeVille’s other half brother, married Bev at age 17 because she was pregnant. Gail was in love with Eddie Jr. and when Marian found out about it, she went to Gail’s home and demanded that she, Gail, stop seeing Eddie Jr. Although their baby miscarried, Eddie Jr. and Bev remained married and had four children together. The oldest child was named Lisa; the youngest was named Michael. Willy DeVille told Gail that Eddie Jr.’s youngest son, Michael, was not Eddie Jr.’s child, but was the child of a jewelry salesman. Gail insinuates that Marian, the boy’s grandmother (Willy DeVille’s mother), never sent her grandchild a birthday card because she knew his real parentage. Eddie Jr. and Bev eventually got divorced.

    Gail has nothing good to say about Marian, Willy DeVille’s mother: “Marian was a player of one side against the other; she always felt she’d live to be 100 years old because most of the family did on her side did.” “(Willy DeVille) didn’t have much of a home life. I mean, most mom’s would not want their kids to live in Greenwich Village at age 14.” “She was two-faced and a total hypocrite.”

    Gail said about Sean, “I don’t know anything about his son Sean. I believe if he was (Willy DeVille’s) child Marian would have mentioned that.”

    Gail said about Willy DeVille, “What a lot of people don’t know is Billy nearly burned down Marian and Dad’s home. He was on drugs and had some kind of an alter set up in his bedroom and it nearly caught the entire house on fire.”

  64. amy permalink
    6. November 2009 4:07 am

    I have since also figured out the story and realized that the Marlene I know/ knew was Willys half brother Micheal’s daughter, she also has a brother Kevin , after their father died, Willy became a part of their lives , since he was their half uncle!
    I wish Gail would respond again!

  65. mia permalink
    6. November 2009 4:02 pm

    Hello again…

    does anyone know more about Susan „toots“ deville-borsey-berle-martincak´s life???

    I became all faszinated and curious about her…

    thx mia

  66. maddie permalink
    6. November 2009 5:20 pm

    It’s about time a devoted filmmaker makes a documentary about Willy Deville (and his wifes).
    I can figure it out: Starting in his hometown Stamford, interviewing people who knew him, his family, then the musicians he worked with, impressions of CBGB’s New York, New Orleans, his success in Europe etc etc.
    Would make a very interesting movie.

  67. amy permalink
    8. November 2009 3:48 am

    I agree , it could be a great documentay/movie!!!!

  68. Crissie permalink
    8. November 2009 11:09 am

    What a great idea! But who could realize it? What about Diethard Küster, he did „Beuatiful losers“ with Willy, Marianne Faithfull and Leonard Cohen.
    And this page is faszinating – a lot of news about Toots and Willy. Thanx a lot to all of you.

  69. ellen permalink
    8. November 2009 7:30 pm

    Well, Bono of U2 as well as Bruce Springsteen were fans of Willy and his music so it shouldn’t be hard to raise money for the documentary !

  70. jws permalink
    8. November 2009 7:53 pm

    hello =) intresant reading about his wife . Am confused did he not married her when he was 17 ? and Sean was born 1970 ? sorri i mean Toots „Susan“ .

  71. amy permalink
    9. November 2009 4:46 am

    Willy was NOT 17 when he married Toots. I t may have been after Sean was born.

  72. amy permalink
    9. November 2009 4:47 am

    ps Wish I new a film maker, it would be a great docu/ movie!!!

  73. maddie permalink
    9. November 2009 12:42 pm

    I tipped a dutch broadcasting company, called NPS. They are specialized in making documentaries about artists. Let’s hope they will pick it up.

  74. jws permalink
    10. November 2009 12:58 pm

    oh thanx Amy 🙂

  75. jws permalink
    10. November 2009 1:37 pm

    agan thanx amy , i
    have read so many stories about them , so i dont now what is true .

  76. csk permalink
    13. November 2009 4:33 pm

    Did not know about Lisa’s suicide – sad ending for a big love-story.
    How come they breeded horses ? Maybe he got bored with it ?
    How did Nina appear ? How could she cope with all this tragedy ?

  77. ellen permalink
    15. November 2009 2:07 pm

    Richard Marcus is going to write a book about Willy.


  78. Crissie permalink
    15. November 2009 4:16 pm

    thanx to Richard, thanx for all his work with and for Willy in the past and in the future! I am the first to buy this book!!

  79. csk permalink
    16. November 2009 7:44 pm

    does anybody know where Willy is buried ?

  80. ellen permalink
    17. November 2009 11:10 am

    Willy was cremated. On Trudy Jost’s website you can see the green urn. Click on RIP Willy Deville.


  81. csk permalink
    17. November 2009 6:22 pm

    thanks, Ellen, all those roses for him, very touching – do you also know if his urn is buried ? and if so, where ?

  82. ellen permalink
    18. November 2009 9:51 am

    I really don’t know. You could try and send Trudy Jost an email. She’s very friendly.

  83. amy permalink
    19. November 2009 5:35 am

    I love and will miss Willy but can we get back to TOOTS!!??!!

  84. 20. November 2009 7:25 pm

    Thanks, btw, for everyone who has contributed to this thread so far – it’s quite amazing what one can find out if everyone puts in their two cents.

  85. guest permalink
    20. November 2009 7:40 pm

    Two early pictures of Willy and Toots; in the picture on the left Toots seems to be pregnant,
    the one on the right (according to Alan Vega) must be considered „art“, although I would call it something different……….


  86. alsoguest permalink
    21. November 2009 5:16 pm

    Oh my, is this really Toots ???????????? and is Willy sitting in his underpants ??????????? Not sure whether I wanna see my hero like this !!

  87. CGuest permalink
    22. November 2009 5:44 am

    „Not sure whether I wanna see my hero like this“ which is probably what more than one record executive said! What the hell were the two of them thinking?

  88. csk permalink
    22. November 2009 10:15 am

    I do not see Willy in his underpants – or is that him on the 3rd picture ?
    Anyway, the two of them seem to have had a lot of fun as long as it lasted.
    I am interested on how Willy got along with his females as a grown up – the „important“ ones all seem very different from each other – maybe according to his

  89. alsoguest permalink
    22. November 2009 10:45 am

    The guy in the 3rd picture is Iggy Pop.

  90. 22. November 2009 12:30 pm

    Willy is the one in the middle picture, Toots rests her head on his chest and it seems he is merely wearing underpants. The pics are tiny, must have been put online when computer screens had a resolution of 400 x 600 or something:-)

  91. Tammi permalink
    22. November 2009 7:37 pm

    Thanks, its great to become such a lot private news from Willy! But are there no children with Lisa and Nina?

  92. anonymous permalink
    22. November 2009 8:50 pm

    Nina is a bit older than Willy. She’s 62/63 now. They met around 2000, so she was already in her fifties then.

  93. csk permalink
    22. November 2009 9:11 pm

    thank you, anonymous, do you know if Nina is also US-born ? or European ? Did she have anything to do with show-or music business ?
    Reading the article of Richard Marcus (who is going to write Willy’s memoires ) I
    understand that maybe Willy was not very strong mentally in the end – or did I misunderstand ?

  94. mdd permalink
    22. November 2009 9:31 pm

    What I’ve heard Nina is a daughter of a famous Swedish actor: Sture Lagerwall.
    Her father and mother got a divorce and her mother went to live in New York with Nina and the other children.

  95. julie permalink
    22. November 2009 9:36 pm

    Not sure if this is true but it seems that Nina was an old love he knew during his junkietime. They met again in a bar in New York, he was drunk and fell over her feet.

  96. csk permalink
    23. November 2009 9:34 am

    that makes a lot of sense, they re-found, at that stage of life it’s nearly impossible to start with a complete „new“ person – after having gone through so many highs and terribel downs.
    thank you for all the information – still could not find out where he is burried, and if so.

  97. guest permalink
    23. November 2009 1:54 pm

    After Willy finished doing drugs and got clean in the late nineties, he changed, his personality changed or maybe you could say his true nature emerged. This was difficult for Lisa, she wanted her „old Willy“ back.

  98. csk permalink
    23. November 2009 4:33 pm

    that is very interesting, what do you mean by „his true nature emerged“ ? and what did this mean for Lisa ? what was the change ? after so many years together…
    into what did he change so they had to split up ?

  99. CGuest permalink
    23. November 2009 4:52 pm

    Heroin is emotionally stunting. You basically stay at the same emotional age that you were when you became addicted. There is an absence of emotion while you are using as well. Once you kick, then you have to do the catch-up work that happens to most people normally. You are a different person, and you have a „true nature“. It can be disconcerting for your partner, but if you don’t do the work, you run the risk of relapse.

  100. Tammi permalink
    23. November 2009 6:09 pm

    How is it possible to write such great emotional songs without emotions and first of all how he can fall in love with Lisa without emotions? Are you all shure, that Willy used really so much drugs?

  101. guest permalink
    23. November 2009 6:16 pm

    Dear Tammi,

    Willy himself in an interview once said: I took enough to kill the whole of Paris !

  102. Crissie permalink
    23. November 2009 6:43 pm

    @ julie:
    listen to the lyrics of „(Don’t have a) Change of heart“. It is the story when Willy and Nina met again after years.

  103. Sally permalink
    23. November 2009 7:37 pm

    I guess you could classify the „‚carpicture“ mentioned above also as „drugrelated behaviour“.
    Toots certainly wasn’t shy !

  104. csk permalink
    24. November 2009 9:02 am

    CGuest, I appreciate a lot your explanation – a very similar thing happened to me in my life, but I did not understand the „why“ of the time lap. Thank you.

    I listened carefully to the lyrics of „(Don’t have ) a change of heart“.
    What was Nina’s life like before she and Willy remet ?

  105. Sally permalink
    24. November 2009 7:52 pm

    I agree. Didn’t know about all these heroin side-effects, CGuest. It sure puts Willy’s relationships with women in a different light.
    Maybe Toots deliberately kept Willy on drugs for fear of losing him.

  106. willyfan permalink
    24. November 2009 9:36 pm

    I know this is a Tootsblog, but here are some fantastic pictures of Willy. Watch and enjoy.


  107. csk permalink
    24. November 2009 9:53 pm

    What pictures ! He was so attractive and arrogant, just unique !

    Is there also a Willyblog ? Does anybody know ?

  108. 24. November 2009 10:53 pm

    @csk You asked for it – the choices are innumerable!


  109. willyfan permalink
    25. November 2009 8:46 am

    You got me reading ALL NIGHT Digiom !

  110. csk permalink
    25. November 2009 10:11 am

    Digiom, thank you, I already knew some of those pages – so many – but I but I did not find anything as interesting and vivid as your page. Maybe you can suggest a special one ?
    I’m a newcomer to the blog-participating… so I appreciate all help.

  111. 25. November 2009 12:00 pm

    It’s the people who visit this page who make it so vivid. I think it was because there was so little about Toots (in one spot) on the web. Would have loved to have met Toots, wild as she was:)

  112. WILLIE permalink
    25. November 2009 5:34 pm

    I know also this is a Tootsblog, but here are some more pictures of Willy!


  113. csk permalink
    25. November 2009 6:13 pm

    thanks for all details concerning Willy – and all the great pictures of him, I admire him much more than I do Toots – repeating that I think that they had a great time
    together – maybe even she had the best part of him, and for sure he of her, what do we know … but it’s easy to be attractrive…. doped, successful, sexy when you’re outstandingly talented being young and part of the scene, it gets harder and maybe bitter when you get older… that’s why I’m interested in his former relationships – not wanting to take away any of the merrit Toots deserves – but there must me differents ways of view… life has a lot of a shades and colors – so for me it is interesting to know what happened „after“ Toots, which is… when another life started, or what ???
    How did she handle a life without him ???? All of a sudden with a Lisa around ??? Lisa all of a sudden with Nina around ??? Very painful and bitter, or what does anybody else think ???

  114. Crissie permalink
    25. November 2009 7:16 pm

    csk – you are so right. What about Toots without Willy – how many years of bitterness she had. What about Lisa and her heartache, when she heard about the lovestory with Nina and what about Nina – at last she has lost everything. Its a tragedy.
    Does anybody know something about the last Toots years in N.Y.?

  115. Tammi permalink
    25. November 2009 7:27 pm

    Das ist sicher bei Menschen wie Willy, Toots, Lisa und Nina nicht anders als bei allen anderen Menschen. Trennungen schmerzen sehr und manche kommen damit überhaupt nicht klar und tun etwas sehr Dummes, wie Lisa. Auch hört man nicht auf jemanden zu lieben, nur weil derjenige sich anders orientiert. Aber wir entwickeln uns alle weiter und manche eben in eine andere Richtung als der Partner. Das muß man akzeptieren und irgendwann kann man damit leben und sich auch neu verlieben.

  116. soistes permalink
    25. November 2009 8:41 pm

    Schön gesprochen Tammi.

  117. 25. November 2009 8:41 pm

    Tammi, I’m not so sure everyone will be able to read this – but I fully understand, sometimes I don’t know too which language I am writing in:)

    btw, there’s pic in the last link that was posted where on can see that willi’s left arm is entirely covered with tattoos – i.e. the one that he shared with Toots is covered by other tats.

  118. guest permalink
    25. November 2009 8:45 pm

    Imagine the contrast; Toots leading a rock ’n roll lifestyle with Willy and after the split becoming a care provider for the elderly !
    I wonder whether she changed her appearance.

  119. mdd permalink
    25. November 2009 9:11 pm

    Let’s not forget she also had to detox from heroin, one of the most difficult addictions to overcome. Keeping that in mind it was very strong of her to get her life back on track and become a caretaker for the elderly.

  120. Tammi permalink
    25. November 2009 10:19 pm

    Ich bin nicht sicher ob ich Sie richtig verstehe, Digiom, aber die Übersetzung von englisch ins deutsche ist wirklich nicht besonders. Ich hoffe, daß es anders herum vernünftiger ist, es wird doch von deutsch ins englische übersetzt? Leider sind meine englischen Sprachkenntnisse zu eingerostet um spontan damit zu arbeiten, sorry. So wie ich das sehe hat Willy auch die Tätowierungen für Lisa grossflächig verändert und welche für Nina gemacht.

  121. CGuest permalink
    25. November 2009 10:36 pm

    Toots doesn’t seem to be the type of person who would have gone away quietly either. She did make another life for herself and she deserves a lot of credit for that. I would have liked to have met her.

  122. Tammi permalink
    25. November 2009 10:52 pm

    CGuest, Sie sprechen mir aus der Seele! Auch glaube ich, daß Toots Liebe zu Willy ehrlich war, sie hat ihn geliebt und nicht eine Wunschvorstellung .

  123. 25. November 2009 11:05 pm

    @tammi Was wird gerade übersetzt? Also – ich übersetze hier nichts:) I was just wondering whether CGuest and others will be able to understand you if you tell them In German how you feel about Willy:)

  124. CGuest permalink
    26. November 2009 2:51 am

    Dear Tammi,
    I don’t speak German, but as well as I can translate, I think you are saying that there was a deep love between Willy and Toots. I am sure that you must be right. Willy was a true artist, the real deal, and that is very, very rare in this world. He wrote the most beautiful songs, and he meant them. All you have to do to prove it is watch him perform. We are all the richer for him and his music.

  125. Tammi permalink
    26. November 2009 10:08 am

    Hallo Digiom, bei mir wird Ihre Seite automatisch ins Deutsche übersetzt und mein Text ins Englische. Aber offensichtlich kommt dabei nur Unnsinn heraus. Das ist sehr schade, aber mir fehlt einfach die Zeit um selber diese Arbeit zu übernehmen. Also breche ich das hier jetzt ab, es macht so keinen Sinn. Ich wünsche allen weiterhin viel Spass .

  126. csk permalink
    26. November 2009 12:51 pm

    this blog is advancing very fast… and it takes time for me to put myself into the skin of another person in order to undestand – more so when a drastic decision has been taken like in Lisa’s case – how desperate must she have been, not only knowing that her life-long love is leaving, on top he is falling in love with an even older woman … and propbably not more talented or what-so-ever than herself…
    maybe also the financial outlook was depressive… she must have known that Willy would be the one to find her… on the other hand, what relationship lasts that long ?
    or did she think they were „over the hill“ ? How did she react in former ocasions ?

    I do not think that suicide is stupid thing to do ( like I think someone wrote )- it is the result of a very deep depression, people who take that termination… they not what suffering is… or are mentally disturbed, and mostly highly sensitive and

  127. mdd permalink
    26. November 2009 1:31 pm

    Tonight, thursday 26. november 2009, at 23.35 european time, on the german RBB channel, the documentary „Beautiful Losers“ directed by Diethard Küster, will be broadcasted.
    In the documentary Leonard Cohen, Marianne Faithful and WILLY DEVILLE tell about their hopes, dreams and disappointments. You can see Willy during concerts but also at his home.

  128. Donna permalink
    26. November 2009 9:04 pm

    This is the grave of Toots father


  129. guest permalink
    26. November 2009 9:52 pm

    Just a bit of trivia. Willy apparently owned a boat called „Rainy Day Woman“.


  130. csk permalink
    27. November 2009 2:05 pm

    mdd -I cannot see this channel – do you know if it is possible to buy this documentary ?

  131. 27. November 2009 2:14 pm

    @Tammi: Scheinbar hast du die Seite dann über den Google Translation Service aufgerufen – automatisch wird von meinen Einstellungen her gar nichts übersetzt. Das hier ist der Direktlink auf das Blogpost: https://digiom.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/what-ever-happened-to-toots-deville/

  132. 27. November 2009 2:17 pm

    @CSK the director has got his own website, maybe through him? http://www.diethard-kuester.de/p_beautifullosers.html

  133. guest permalink
    27. November 2009 6:53 pm

    Saw Beautiful Losers last night. Great docu. It’s difficult to understand why Willy cheated on Lisa just a few years later (the docu was made in 1997). He talks about her with so much affection, finally having found true love.
    He seemed so happy in their stunning house in Picayune, beautiful surroundings, looking after their horses, enjoying the peaceful countryside.
    And then the horrific events; Lisa’s suicide, his car-accident with severe physical damage and so this bird of paradise has to move to the small 22 squaremeter New York-appartement of grey-moused Nina. Excuse me for being a bit blunt but this is the expression that comes to mind when I see her.

  134. Tammi permalink
    27. November 2009 7:51 pm

    In Germany we say: „if the donkey is in too good spirits, he is going on the ice“, may be Willy gets tired of this perfect fairy tale and than ups he had a night-mare. Perhaps, if Lisa had have a little patience, the affair had finished soon. We do not know , it is all speculative.

    Hello digiom, thanks, thats it. I bake your pardon for my english!

  135. guest permalink
    27. November 2009 8:08 pm

    your english is excellent, Tammy !

  136. Tammi permalink
    27. November 2009 9:07 pm

    Well,I do my very best! This conversation is essential for me. There are not so much people interested in Willy Deville at my homeland „Eifel“. I hope that there a few people telling us again about Toots and Willy, Lisa and Nina!

  137. Eiré cailin permalink
    1. Dezember 2009 1:00 am

    Fascinating blog with interesting comments. Willy had said in several interviews that he was married when he was seventeen. If that was the case he was married to Toots for at least ten plus years. It would seem that he had 3 long term relationships with women he loved during each relationship. But, let’s face it…Willy was a recording artist/rocker boy and ten plus years is a long time for someone in that line of work with a drug habit as his number one mistress. What I am curious about is if his second wife (Lisa) also used heroin? Pictures of her early in their relationship show her to be much healthier than later on. It would be incredibly hard to be married to a junkie and not be talked into „giving it a try“. And, giving it a try can easily become „once in a while“ and then just like morning coffee.

  138. tina permalink
    1. Dezember 2009 4:18 pm

    I’m curious how her nickname „Toots“ came up. Did Willy invent it ? Did everybody call her Toots or did they use her real name Susan ?

  139. Eiré cailin permalink
    1. Dezember 2009 7:41 pm

    If Willy was married at 17 that would have been 1967 or 1968. If Dominick met them in late 1970 and they were already married with a son, and Wikipedia says Willy and Toots had „their“ son in 1970 the time line seems to be correct.

    Sorry Belinda but with women like you around it’s no wonder Toots was so protective of her husband (and no doubt there were plenty more just like you hanging around)! If there was such an attraction why didn’t Willy hook up with you instead of Lisa after Toots or during/after Lisa instead of Nina?

    And, Toots/Susan managed to get clean ten years before Willy did. I find her to be a fascinating character, way ahead of her time. Had they not both been addicts she probably would have managed to push his career to be successful. Lord knows he could have used some guidance with the bad ’80’s/90’s hair and attire.

    It doesn’t surprise me that Willy had record label troubles especially if he was a heroin addict till 2000 or 2001. Labels aren’t going to put a lot of money or resources behind someone that can’t stay clean and has decades of addiction hanging around their neck.

    Willy was an artist, a true talent, but let’s call a spade a spade. He was a „bad boy“. He ran out on his first wife and child, had an affair that devastated his second wife, and more than likely passed on the Hepatitis C to his last wife.

    Let’s get back to Toots…please.

  140. tina permalink
    2. Dezember 2009 11:26 am

    I actually liked his Rhett Butler/spanish gentleman outfits of the 90’s. He looked really bad in 2000+ with the native american look and the long hair. Even his percussionist Boris Kinberg said: „he has to get a haircut, it brings his face down“.

    Otherwise I think you’re absolutely right. As he said himself: „it was always the women that saved my life“. They all kinda mothered him. Let’s not forget when he was with Nina, he didn’t only have hipsurgery but was also diagnosed with diabetes. Would he have gotten that much attention from women if he was for instance a construction worker?

    But then and again he must have been a great person to be around, very charismatic and ofcourse a musical genius, we all enjoy his legacy, don’t we.

    But let’s get back to Toots.

  141. Eiré Cailin permalink
    2. Dezember 2009 3:22 pm


    It was the one two many ruffle shirt/mullet (can’t decide if I want long or short hair) look I was thinking of 😉 No doubt he was charismatic and a good time. It’s just sad that the women in his life seemed to end up with the short end of the deal. I hope that Susan/Toots found happiness in the second half of her life.

  142. csk permalink
    2. Dezember 2009 6:18 pm

    Hi Eire, where did you find pictures of Lisa from different stages of her life ? somebody was talking about „grey- mouse“ Nina, I barely saw any photos of these two women – a lot from Toots, what was Toots‘ talent ? Did she perform ? or was she herself the show ? (I do not mean this in an ironic way)

  143. Eiré Cailin permalink
    2. Dezember 2009 7:55 pm

    Back in August there were many articles/obits about Willy. One of them had a link to a photographer where there were pictures of Willy and Lisa. A couple of pictures looked like they were later in Lisa’s life. She was much thinner and was sporting a gold tooth like Willy. There was a huge contrast from other photos of her. I don’t know much about Toots except what has been written already. She came up with the „look“ for Mink DeVille and pushed Willy’s career. Not many women had careers in the recording industry/entertainment management at that point in time. It does not surprise me when people say she was difficult to contend with, especially given the era. If you read anything about CBGB’s and the bands that played there it was a crazy time. A really great book to read „Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk“ by Leggs McNeill highlights that whole era. Everyone was doing drugs, sleeping with everyone else and lots of the women got in fights. I am guessing Toots had to contend with a ton of crap and had to hold her ground.

  144. Eiré Cailin permalink
    2. Dezember 2009 9:32 pm


    Found the site…http://www.rock-shot.com/deville/deville_willy.htm
    It’s a photographer named Wolfgang Gürster. Look at the 1988 -89 photos.

  145. tina permalink
    2. Dezember 2009 9:36 pm

    Pictures of Willy & Lisa and one of Willy & Nina. Scroll down.

  146. tina permalink
    2. Dezember 2009 9:37 pm

    Sorry, here’s the link.


  147. Spanish Stroll permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 2:09 am

    Getting back to Toots, there is some question about whether Sean was DeVille’s biological son. Also I’m not clear about the date of his marriage to Toots. DeVille said in interviews that he married her when he was 17, but he often didn’t tell the strict truth in interviews. For example, he often told interviewers that he was born in New York City, when he was born in Stamford, Connecticut. I’ve heard it said that DeVille married Toots after Sean was born. About DeVille, I’m also curious about how long he stayed in London. He went to London in his youth, but he never said how long he stayed there. I wonder if Toots went with him. She went with him to San Francisco in the mid-1970s, I know, because there are rock magazine articles from that time and place that describe Toots in San Francisco. Did Sean go with her to California? I’m looking forward to a biography of Willy DeVille. I’d like to know the answers to these questions.

  148. mdd permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 8:58 am

    Sean was NOT Willy’s biological son. Someone very close to Willy has confirmed this to me.
    Toots got pregnant, came back to Stamford and then Willy married her.
    According to Amy (scroll through this blog, she is from Stamford), Willy did not marry Toots when he was 17, but later. Knowing that Sean was born round 1969-1970, Willy must have been 19 or 20 when he married Toots. And indeed he did not always tell the whole truth in interviews.

  149. C2H5OH permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 9:10 am

    From Wikipedia:

    DeVille struck out in 1971 for London in search of like-minded musicians („obvious American with my Pompadour hair“), but was unsuccessful finding them; he returned to New York City after a two-year absence.[18]

  150. csk permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 12:29 pm

    thanks for all those pictures – he was so very attractive and photogenic –
    the last two years maybe he was a bit fed-up – he was not in his best mood in the South of Spain and also complaint that only few people came to see him – but anyway, he has been brillant many times before…
    I appreciate all details of his life.

  151. ljs permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 3:38 pm

    If Sean Borsey is not Willy’s biological son, then why does he looked so much like him? Same eyes, same lantern jaw, same hands. Did Toots find Willy’s doppelganger and get pregnant by him and then go back to Willy? Toots was in London with Willy in 1971 according to interviews he did in the mid 70’s. Also why is everyone blaming Toots for Willy’s drug use? He was a grown man and he kept using long after he left her. If the Alan Vega photo on the left is of Toots pregnant, then she must have miscarried because that photo is from1975, 1976 or 1977 the latest. They did not have any other children so that doesn’t seem likely. Also I’m quite surprised by the reaction to the other photo. I mean, come on Willy and Toots were young and hot and involved with the downtown rock scene and all those cats fancied themselves artists. I think she looks good: proud and sexy. It’s Willy that looks uncomfortable and awkward. Willy was not an innocent, just look at his my space page; all the sexual images and „so called friends“ confirm that he was a highly sexaulized person, and I’m guessing Toots was too. Toots was the coolest of his wives in terms of setting his style, he never looked that good again. His pirate/plantation owner/indian brave/ late 80’s mullet all look so cheesy compared to his sraight up rock and roller then pimped-out look. I heard that Willy had been working on a memoir about his early NYC days, that would be a fun read I’m guessing. Lastly, his second wife Lisa looks a lot like Lydia Lunch who has been involved with Willy since his CBGB days. Lisa was not as pretty as Lydia, but had very similar features, especially those big blue eyes, and full lips. Lydia would be an interesting source of information on their lives.

  152. 3. Dezember 2009 3:52 pm

    Thank you, LJS, good hearing someone take that stance.

  153. Eiré Cailin permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 5:18 pm


    Well put.

  154. nothingbutthetruth permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 6:55 pm

    ljs, i don’t think it was Willy’s idea to do the MySpacething because he HATED computers. He always said he wasn’t fit to live in this century of technology. He didn’t even want to receive emails after he’d been diagnosed with cancer, only oldfashioned postcards !

    I remember the President of the fanclub once saying that Willy could become outrageous when lies were written about him in the media. So let’s be careful.

    I’ll give you an example; the story that he had to sell Casa de suenos in Picayune (this is not where Lisa hanged herself bytheway) because of unpaid taxes was a lie, the person who confirmed this was one of his closest friends (he even did a detox at her house) and she was also the one to confirm that Sean wasn’t his biological son.

  155. tina permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 7:40 pm

    An extract from an interview with Willy which shows he was clean in 1984, the year he met and married Lisa:

    I talked with DeVille in January of 1984, an interview I have never forgotten. He drove up to the appointed meeting place, La Francaise, a local bakery then located in the Baseline Shopping Center, in a two-toned 1957 Chevrolet. During the interview he was pleasant and accommodating, smiling that gold-toothed smile.

    He would lower his sunglasses periodically and ask, “My eyes are clear, aren’t they?” He was honest about his addiction, mincing no words while trying to explain how it felt to be straight for the first time in four years. “I tried to do it, but you have to have somebody’s help,” he said, and that he tried the black box, electronic acupuncture, endorphin stimulation and even quinidine, and nothing worked until he just cold-turkeyed out here.

  156. ljs permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 8:03 pm

    Ok, let’s say he wasn’t responsible for the myspace page…did he write his own lyrics? He wrote very sexual songs, as well as very romantic songs. I’m a fan of his and saw him in NYC when he was still in Mink Deville both with and without the original members. The guy was sexy until the drugs took their physical toll, just like they did on Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan, Richard Hell, Iggy Pop, Richard Lloyd, and the lists goes on.
    People feel comfortable blaming Toots for a lot of his vices. I’m saying he was an adult responsible for his own actions, addictions, and the like. „Nobody but yourself for being pulled in again into that slow drain“-WD
    Can someone please explain the striking resemblence between Sean and Willy?
    Willy is a confusing although fascinating PUBLIC figure,but Toots as the muse and inspiration for his early work is even more interesting to me. Also Willy kept in touch with Sean, but never had any dealings with Toots after they split up? I suppose that’s possible, since Sean would have been in his mid teens, but it seems odd.

  157. ljs permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 8:23 pm

    By the way…Thanks for the blog and the insightful comments. It’s been great reading everyone’s thoughts and seeing all the cool links.

  158. mdd permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 8:25 pm

    Ljs, although YOU see a striking resemblence between Sean and Willy, it must be said that many don’t. There is a german Willy Deville forum. When I posted the link with the pictures of Sean , the first reactions on the forum were: Well he doesn’t resemble his father at all…
    Later on Trudy Jost (a very close friend of Willy) explained that Sean was adopted by Willy.

  159. tina permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 8:43 pm

    I’m sorry ljs but the only „sexual“ song I can think of is Cadillac Walk and that one was written bij Moon Martin.

    Yes he wrote a lot of fascinating songs about drugs. Boris Kinberg said: „nobody writes better songs about drugs than Willy“.
    But I don’t think songs about drugs have anything to do with sex. A major side-effect of heroin is impotence.

  160. guest permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 8:58 pm

    Mandy Mercier on Willy:

    Crushed by the loss of my old friend and bandmate Billy Borsey, later known as Willy DeVille. We were good friends who spent a lot of time hanging out together, and I was also close with Willy’s first wife, Susan („Toots“) and their son Sean when he was little. Willy was a true international musical treasure, a brilliant innovator, a visionary. I miss his work, his humor, his loyalty and his kindness.

  161. Eiré Cailin permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 9:00 pm

    He may have been clean for a while in 1984 but it did not last.

  162. ljs permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 9:01 pm

    easy slider is about having sex with a young girl.
    steady driving man speaks for itself
    venus of avenue d: looking good enough to eat.
    turn you every which way but loose
    lipstick traces
    savoir faire
    I’m not a fan of the later stuff so I can’t really address the post 1981 years. Look I love his music, but Willy even said in early interviews he liked to write songs about love and sex, only not so politely as I just put it.
    I think there’s a double standard here. Say whatever you like about the wives, but don’t be critical of Willy, that’s not fair in my opinion and that’s all.

    Also, there is no way Willy was clean throughout the mid to late 1980’s and 90’s, he even admitted to using during those years. Like Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Thunders I’m sure he had times when he was clean, but he relapsed according to his own accounts of his drug use. Alright enough Willy and Toots for one day. You guys are great! Love the feedback.

  163. Eiré Cailin permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 9:29 pm


    I agree…Willy was lucky to have had those 3 women in his life. And, I would not bet the farm on Willy having been a monogamous husband (well we know he wasn’t). He was tall, dark, handsome and a very talented rock star…likely women were ready and waiting all the time. Kudos to his wives for staying married as long as they did. And, let’s get back to Toots shall we? I give her super props for doing a complete 360 and becoming a caregiver to the elderly.

  164. guest permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 9:40 pm

    jsl. Your interpretation of the word „sexual“ is rather funny. For „sexual songs“ you’ll have to buy some Prince stuff.

  165. csk permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 9:45 pm

    MySpace what ? is there something by him about him ??

  166. Eiré Cailin permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 10:10 pm

    I think the interpretation of „sexual“ lyrics by ljs was dead game. How could you not interpret them as sexual?

    And, as far as Prince is concerned…there was a stellar interview with him where he talks about the perceived differences that everyone had of he and Michael Jackson.

  167. csk permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 10:43 pm

    Sex comes with the „pack“ and I do not think that it was the most important part of Will’s existance… no drug abuse helps ( on long terms ) a lot if you’re interested in sex, well maybe

  168. guest permalink
    3. Dezember 2009 11:35 pm

    Don’t start telling me that Willy will be remembered for his „sexual songs“! Please, let’s get serious !

    He was a true romantic and that’s why we all love his songs don’t we ?

  169. Eiré cailin permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 12:07 am

    Of course he wrote romantic songs but some of his songs do have sexual innuendos. And, no, I don’t just love his songs because he was a romantic. I love the body of work because he had an amazing voice and ventured into so many styles of music. And, what is a true romantic?
    He was married three times! I will say it again…He ran out on his first wife and child, had an affair that devastated his second wife, and more than likely passed on the Hepatitis C to his last wife. If that is romance than some of us should be thankful we never had sex with him. And if any of us did, I would suggest getting a blood test for Hepatitis C, pronto. Seriously, he sings about standing in the blood bank line…ya think he was there giving it up to be a good citizen? Jeez, he was human and flawed and did some damage, no doubt. I love the music but I refuse to romanticize the behaviour.

    Willy had a gift and talent that very few are blessed with but he was no saint.

  170. SoReal permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 1:44 am

    Hi guest, found this interview from 1985 in barcelona – willy was 35 years old then – he was asked about romanticisme. Before he started to answer, he laughs a little bid. I think some of his songs are great to get into romantic mood, but his personality was probably not. He grew up in difficult circumstances, perhaps no carrying mother, made a living at 14 in NYC, punk scene, rock and roll etc. And again, it ist difficult to define romanticisme in real life?

  171. Eiré cailin permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 3:17 am

    I have a hard time watching and listening to some of the interviews where you can tell he is just toasted. There is nothing romantic, attractive or charismatic about a wasted junkie going on, forgetting what they are talking about, nodding in and out…it’s just sad. I keep thinking that it is so sad that Willy died so young…but man, we are lucky he lived as long as he did and that there is the catalog of music that there is.

  172. CGuest permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 3:48 am

    Well said, Eire.
    We should be amazed that he was able to use like he did and still be able to write and perform at all.
    It is hard to watch some of those interviews, I agree.

  173. CGuest permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 3:55 am

    Does anyone know what Toots did right after the break-up? Did she leave town or did she stick around?

  174. csk permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 9:46 am

    so real – thank you for the interview – he is so very above it, so chulo and arrogant
    and cool, there is nobody like him – also he’s a very smart guy.

    cguest – sooo many artist are able to to their jobs being on heavy drugs – you get used to it…

  175. csk permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 9:59 am

    forgot something: being a romatic does not at all mean being faithful to one only woman ! it has nothing to do with it – art is a much more complex and being a romantic also.

  176. Eiré Cailin permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 3:09 pm

    Too bad Kurt Cobain, River Phoenix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, John Belushi, Tim Buckley, Lenny Bruce, Chris Farley, Judy Garland, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix. Heath Ledger, Gram Parsons, Dee Dee Ramone, Hillel Slovak, Layne Staley, Andrew Wood, Hank Williams, Johnny Thunders, Nick Drake and so many others didn’t get used to it.

    And, just a thought…if you didn’t know anything about Willy DeVille, did not know who he was, what he did, and saw or heard some of those interviews…what would you really think?

  177. Eiré Cailin permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 3:51 pm

    Sorry, I got off on a tangent…let’s get back to Toots!

  178. csk permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 4:43 pm

    Eiré, do you want me to name all those who got and get away with it ????
    who is the ones to throe the stone ?????

  179. CGuest permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 4:59 pm

    „It’s so good. Don’t even try it once.“
    intravenous heroin user


  180. CGuest permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 5:08 pm


  181. CGuest permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 5:13 pm

    Ah yes, Eurotrash.

  182. Eiré Cailin permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 5:40 pm

    Uh, think I already said I was sorry for going off…. And, yes there are people who got and get away with it…it’s the ones who are dead and gone that are missed. What we might have seen from River Phoenix and Heath Ledger? Or heard from Gram Parsons or Nick Drake. We’ll never know and that is most unfortunate.

    Heaven knows I will be the first one looking for a pack of cigs and the drug djour when I am old and ready give up the ghost 🙂

    Now can we get back to Toots?

  183. yadayadayada permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 6:31 pm

    All this talk about Toots is pure speculation. Let’s wait for someone who really knew her to react.

  184. 4. Dezember 2009 7:50 pm

    @CGuest – sorry, if so. puts in more than one links, it’s likely to end up in the spam filter, as this is what spammers often do. fixed it.

  185. takeyourmindsofthedope permalink
    4. Dezember 2009 9:41 pm

    Willy going all commercial in a Westside story-like video! Great fun !


  186. Marianne permalink
    5. Dezember 2009 2:03 pm

    The link is not ok!

  187. ermanno permalink
    5. Dezember 2009 5:15 pm

    The link is ok!!

  188. mdd permalink
    5. Dezember 2009 5:21 pm

    The link works just fine.
    Willy looks rather ridiculous as one of the Sharks from West Side Story.
    I bet the record company forced him to do this.
    The following video suits him better:


  189. csk permalink
    5. Dezember 2009 6:46 pm

    mdd – how old is this tape ? he is sooo chulo !!! that was his time with Toots, I guess, must have been great for both – I bet they had the best of their lives together – young and crazy and taking risks – you only do that when you’re young
    and eat up the world, later on you reason and you find Lisa and Nina … and put on
    silly clothes and anyway… we all have the right to get tired…

  190. mdd permalink
    5. Dezember 2009 7:34 pm

    The song „“Each word is a beat of my heart“ is from his album „Where angels fear to tread“, released in 1985. In 1984 Willy married Lisa Leggett. So Toots was already gone and forgotten by the time this video was made.

  191. ljs permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 1:16 am

    Eire you are so right on! You sound like a very smart, stable woman. That’s just me assuming that you are female, sorry if you’re a dude! It would be interesting to talk to Toots‘ widower or maybe her son Sean to hear about her life post-Willy, although right now would be much too soon after the loss of his father.
    I loved to see Willy to his James Brown shuffle in concert, but Willy submitting himself to this contrived choreography is just painful. Toots would have had nothing to do with it no doubt.
    CSK it’s so true about being young and taking risks, thank God for the young and foolish, they make some great art for the rest of us to enjoy and cherish!

  192. Eiré cailin permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 2:03 am

    It would be fascinating to talk to any family that Toots/Susan has left. Sean may have not been his biological son but he was in fact legally his son once Willy adopted him. Sean also left a donation to an organization in his mother’s name which tells me that she meant a great deal to him. I wonder if Willy saw her before she died? They were both clean in the early 2000’s.

    ljs, yes I am a woman…and some days are more stable than others ;-).

  193. ljs permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 2:24 am

    Haha Eire, Being a woman myself I fully understand what you mean.

    Toots is quite a complex individual. It would seem from her rock and roll years she was tough, somewhat hard and yet she was a mom and a devoted wife. So maybe her later work as a caregiver is not so hard to understand, she was taking care of Willy and Sean for quite a long time it would seem. I read an account of someone who was working with Willy during a gig in boston is 1978 and he recalls Willy being really unwilling to go to the show and Sean a young kid at the time being a handful and Toots justs dutifully ironing Willy’s jeans for the performance. It’s seems like such an insightful peek into their lives together during those early years.

  194. 6. Dezember 2009 4:32 pm

    Eire Cailin & ljs could it be you girls ended up on the wrong blog ? Help is on the way:


  195. Barbara permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 5:35 pm

    Willy and Toots after his concert in Rockpalast Germany 1981

  196. SANDY permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 5:46 pm


  197. csk permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 5:49 pm

    looking awful – frightful -horrible !

  198. csk permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 5:55 pm

    barbara – it must have been mystic … how awful could she look, please !!!

  199. ellen permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 8:24 pm

    You’re right, she doesn’t look good at all.

    Amy from Stamford, don’t know if you’re still following this blog but I am curious to know what Toots looked in real life. Was she pretty? I’ve seen a lot of pictures of her by now and she looks so different in each one of them. But then with all the make-up and big hair is difficult to see what she really looked like.

  200. ljs permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 8:32 pm

    That’s so sweet of you „?“ Yes you’re probably right we need therapy because we want to talk about Toots on a blog entitled „Whatever happened to Toots Deville?“ and not just worship at the shrine of St. Willy. Do you really think Willy Deville would have wanted to be remembered as a sexless, impotent, romantic sap of a guy who died childless? I’ll take my version of him as a young sexy dangerous troubled young rocker with a hot wife and a beautiful son to this sanitized image of him any day. Toots made Willy cooler than he was without her for my taste, but that’s fine. He wrote some great songs and Toots was the inspiration for most of the early ones. I hope they both have found peace now.

  201. csk permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 8:54 pm

    ellen, I think she must have had a lot of guts…because beautiful she sure was not,
    short and square, no pretty legs – funny face though…
    But I do not think any of Willy’s wives was more than slightly attractive… at least Toots had her own personality – the others… I do not know

  202. ljs permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 9:13 pm

    I think Toots was not very photogenic, but when she was relaxed and caught in more candid moments she looked better. She was very petite and quite thin. She did have nice legs when she was younger. She and Willy both lost their looks due to their drug use. Women being more delicately built can’t stand up as well to that kind of abuse. Even someone as gorgeous as Marianne Faithful lost her looks to heroin. Nina I think was very pretty in a classic sense, she had a lovely profile.

  203. Bill permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 9:19 pm

    csk, no pretty legs???? you don’t have taste!!!
    I wish my wife had such legs!!!

  204. 6. Dezember 2009 9:27 pm

    btw, I am sorry if your posts sometimes end up in the spam filter. I do not want to switch it off completely, as this blog meanwhile sees quite a bit of spam. If that happens, you won’t see your post published immediately, but withheld until I check the spam queue and approve it.

    I check the spam queue regularly, but am having relatives visiting at the moment, so can’t check during the (European) day. The criteria are content and link based: Comments with more than one link are more likely to end in the spam queue, and so are generic posts that spammers often leave to get their email address green light (e.g. „Great post – I will definitely return to this blog.“)

    Just so you know I am not actively withholding any comments – the spam filter does the checking, and if it fails I am correcting (and hopefully teaching) it.

  205. 6. Dezember 2009 9:34 pm

    Btw, one can retrieve quite a number of pics through the Rockpalast archive if you just keep counting. Some are rather intense:

    http://www.rockpalastarchiv.de/bild/bild/ville01.jpg (The goofy Toots pic)
    http://www.rockpalastarchiv.de/bild/bild/ville02.jpg (Gold tooth Willy)
    http://www.rockpalastarchiv.de/bild/bild/ville10.jpg (off stage)
    http://www.rockpalastarchiv.de/bild/bild/ville12.jpg (smoking)

    Alas, not another Toots pic.

    No complaints about her legs in these pics:

  206. csk permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 9:45 pm

    ok ok – I take back the comment about her legs….

  207. SoReal permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 9:51 pm

    On the mink DeVille album where angels fear to tread from the year 1983 Willy thanks Sean Borsey and for soul and inspiration Toots. Am I right this was the last album her name was mentioned?

    Just below with „thoughts forever“ you can read amongst others the name of Harriet Berle. Does anyone know who was Harriet Berle? Was it Toots‘ mother or sister?

    On the Willy DeVille Album Miracle from the year 1987 Willy already thanks for inspiration lisa’s angel eyes, heart an soul. I wonder if the woman on the front page is Lisa? It could be possible. Does anyone know?

  208. Eiré cailin permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 11:13 pm


    „Been there, done that, won’t do that again“

    Bah, ha, ha…:-)

  209. ellen permalink
    6. Dezember 2009 11:15 pm

    Harriet Berle was Toots‘ mother. Her maidenname was Harrison.

  210. justaguest permalink
    8. Dezember 2009 1:23 pm

    According to this Stephen Martincak apparently was Toots‘ second husband, and Michael her stepson ?

    search MICHAEL MARTINCAK in CORTLAND, NY returned 1 Match (100 max results)

    Person City, State Available Information Related People
    Age: 38



  211. justaguest permalink
    8. Dezember 2009 1:27 pm

    If you scroll down to January 09, 2008 you can also see a death report on Michael A. Martincak.


  212. evelien permalink
    8. Dezember 2009 8:21 pm

    beauty Willy…

  213. SoReal permalink
    8. Dezember 2009 10:49 pm

    Thanks Ellen for the info. After that I found on the link berlinsky tree from Pietro, that Harriet Berlinsky died in 1987.

    Willy mentioned with thoughts forever on his last Mink DeVille album Harriet Berlinsky and Joseph Vasta Sr. I guess they lived together after the divorce from Toots‘ father and perhaps they looked after Sean Borsey while his parents were travelling or things like that.

    As justaguest wrote, Toots later married Stephen Martincak and he had a son Michael who died in 2008. He was 38 years old. So Michael was the stepson from Susan and the stepbrother from Sean Borsey.

    Nobody knows if Toots died like Willy on pancreas cancer?

    This type of cancer is often diagnosed on show business people. Chris Rea too had 8 years ago this diagnose but early enough to undergo surgery, so he survived until today. Perhaps the lifestyle of this scene has changed now a little bid, but formerly nicotine, drugs and alkool were certainly an essential part of it. There may have been many reasons.

  214. wordygirl permalink
    8. Dezember 2009 11:34 pm

    I’m loving all this history and links. Please keep them coming – it’s so interesting.

  215. Eiré cailin permalink
    9. Dezember 2009 2:28 am

    Who is the other attractive man in the picture?

  216. Louise permalink
    9. Dezember 2009 3:03 am

    on Willy, his wives, and drugs:
    I`ve always seen Willy as a freespirited kind of guy.
    I believe that although society often imposes upon us to live a certain way, monogamy is not for everyone. Maybe as such an intense romantic, Willy found marriage limiting. And that`s NOT shameful or wrong, but normal and common!
    It`s unfortunate (and often due to societal norms) that we sometimes feel so jealous as to resort to violence. Why should women (in this case) compete for someone they both love? LOVE IS NOT LIMITED! Especially in such a man. When women hug or flirt with our men, why don`t we relate to them instead? We have a common interest: a sexy man. And if we`re in a relationship, can`t we trust him enough to flirt/hug/allow each relationship to be whatever it reaches & strives to be without attempting to hurt us or anyone else? If we had an open relationship, for example, there would be no limits to what each additional relationship strives to be, and who is to say that this is not a beautiful way to live? Religion? Society? Books? TV?
    All of these mediums and doctrines throw stones, judge, and tell others to live in ways that are right for some but not necessarily for all (especially us eccentrics).
    Who are any of us to judge for anyone but ourselves? If people want to use heroin, it`s their bodies, not ours. Even people close to us like lovers or family — in the end, no matter what we say or do, they are free to make their own choices. I believe that we own our choices as well as our emotions and can choose to be affected or not. (As unbelievable as that may sound to some, it`s very empowering).
    Anyways, I wish we could all just stop judging the lifestyles of others. The only life we can live/change is our own. In the end, Willy and Toots did change their lives, and that is the most beautiful thing! But their early days on drugs were still beautiful (look at all the people admiring them!). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  217. justaguest permalink
    9. Dezember 2009 8:31 am

    „Cigarette smoking: Smoking doubles the risk of pancreatic cancer. Smoking is also associated with early age at diagnosis, and, very importantly, the risk of pancreatic cancer drops close to normal in people who quit smoking. Simply put, cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of pancreatic cancer. In fact, some scientists have estimated that one in four, or one in five cases of pancreatic cancer are caused by smoking cigarettes“.

    Willy was a chainsmoker.

  218. justaguest permalink
    9. Dezember 2009 9:00 am

    „‚SoReal“, Joseph Vasta Sr. has to be Joey Vasta’s father, Willy’s longtime baseplayer. Where do you get the idea that Toots‘ mother got into a relationship with him? We don’t know whether Toots‘ parents divorced, maybe Harriet Berle just died.

  219. mdd permalink
    9. Dezember 2009 9:35 am

    Were did Alex Halberstadt, biographer of Doc Pomus, get the information that Toots was half French, half Pima indian?
    Her parents were Jewish, her fathers name Berlinsky indicates that he was of eastern European descent, her mothers name Harrison doesn’t sound French either.
    Or did Toots tell this story to make herself more „interesting“?

  220. justaguest permalink
    9. Dezember 2009 11:04 am

    I guess so. At the CBGB’s scene it was nothing special to be Jewish because the owner Hilly Kristal was jewish and a large part of the artists too. „One big synagogue“ as Alan Vega (also Jewish) put it.

    Anyway, Toots wasn’t white trash either, as someone said in one the first comments, cause her father was vicepresident of the Palm Beach Clothier Company, so I assume they weren’t poor.

  221. csk permalink
    9. Dezember 2009 4:47 pm

    … I never liked it when any of my sexy and attractice men looked after any sexy
    and attractive females… and for sure I havent’known a lot of females who supported that behaviour – and I couldn’d stand when he -or they – where chased either … female nature…

  222. spoton permalink
    9. Dezember 2009 5:11 pm

    You’re dead right CSK. Louise’s story makes no sense. Only makes you unhappy

  223. Louise permalink
    10. Dezember 2009 2:47 am

    that`s exactly my point: some people experience levels of jealousy or possessiveness in relationships. Others don`t. One way isn`t better or worse than the other. It all depends on who you are. The „nature“ of each person is different.
    All I`m saying is that for some people, their nature just disagrees with monogamy. I suggested that W. Deville may have been someone like that. Not that one way is better than the other. Of course I could be totally wrong. But I made the suggestion because he had three wives. Marriage just doesn`t work for everyone, right? And that`s totally fine. We can`t all fit into society`s caste.

    Sorry for your feeling unhappy when reading what I wrote. That wasn`t my intention at all. Please ask if there`s anything I can clarify.

    Thanks for reading! 🙂

  224. 10. Dezember 2009 8:51 am

    Speaking about the taking hard drugs part – I don’t see much admirable in it. Even though some people are able to create art on drugs, it is still true that drugs help them to compensate for sth. they wouldn’t have without or be able to do without. And considering that there are so many people whose lives get ruined by drugs, because – again – only a few are able to take hard drugs without having to resort to some sort of crime to finance it, I see no value in this being a point that one may not be outspoken (or: judgmental) about (judgmental about drugs, not the people taking them, but you’ve always gotta see how much the drugs have left of a person). It breaks my heart to see if an artist is so out of it because of drugs – someone posted a link to a Willy video earlier where he seems high as a kite, or you probably all remember that last interview with Heath Ledger where he’s unable to concentrate and fumbling all the time and seems completely out of it. It’s tragedy to me, not beauty, and I wish that they’d found a way to create their art without drugs.

  225. 10. Dezember 2009 9:08 am

    But coing back to mdd’s question – yeah, what’s with this alex halberstedt claim that toots was half Pima Indian? It sounds fascinating, but it’s possibly a hoax, no?

  226. ljs permalink
    10. Dezember 2009 4:01 pm

    I think the half french-half Pima indian thing was something Toots and Willy created to make themselves more exotic, just like Willy’s claim to have grown up on the lower east side and then to be out on his own at 13, 14, 15, 16-the age also changed with each interview, but we know from his friends at the time he was still living in Stamford in the mid to late 60’s but that he had dropped out of school at 16.

    Toots seemed to be rebeling or rejecting her upbringing and family in a lot of ways…being with an irish catholic boy from a troubled working class family when she was from a middle class (maybe upper middle class) jewish family, getting pregnant and married so young, claiming to be some other race and culture, doing a heroin, getting tats…
    But then post-Willy she seems to embrace her background. She marries a jewish man, she becomes a care giving for what seems to be a jewish faith based organization and is even buried in a jewish cemetery. It’s comforting to think maybe she found peace with being who she was in her later life and maybe her religion was a part of that. I’m just speculating here so go ahead rip it to shreds.
    Louise makes some interesting points about alternative ways of being in relationships. I think most women married to rock stars have to just accept that there will be other women and maybe some of them can deal with that better than others. Everybody makes their own choices and compromises in this life.

  227. 10. Dezember 2009 4:42 pm

    Though I wish that weren’t a privilege of male rockstars – especially since Toots appeared to be a fascinating character herself – but apparently, it is.

  228. mdd permalink
    10. Dezember 2009 5:04 pm

    ljs, your speculations sound very plausible though I’m not sure whether her second husband was jewish. Is Martincak a jewish name?
    The organization she worked for certainly isn’t, it’s Lutheran.
    For her parents it must have been a drama, seeing your only child marry that young to a rockartist, having a child and becoming a heroin-addict.

  229. ljs permalink
    10. Dezember 2009 5:45 pm

    It was lutheran? How interesting. My bad, I thought the organization her son Sean made the donation to in his mother’s name was a Jewish based charity and was the organization she worked for. Sorry. Does anyone know where her step son is buried? That might help to solve some of this. I did not know Toots was an only child either. That’s also very interesting, thank you mdd.
    Digiom, I agree Toots was something special, but I guess a lot women would have been interested in Willy and when you’re young and a guy especially temptation can get the best of you. I’m not saying it’s right, just that it happens. But I admire Willy for his choice of Toots in the first place because she was unique even in that crazy scene. She wasn’t just eye candy, she was real.

  230. ljs permalink
    10. Dezember 2009 6:43 pm

    Martincak appears to be either a slovakian or hungarian surname, but that doesn’t help with the religion. It could be jewish or christian orthodox. Oh well.

  231. SoReal permalink
    10. Dezember 2009 10:01 pm

    make a little break an listen

    willy 1980:

    Willy 1993:

    if you love rock and roll and the spirit of New Orleans, then enjoy it!

  232. Spanish Stroll permalink
    10. Dezember 2009 10:39 pm

    This is becoming a very interesting Web page, not just about Toots but about DeVille’s life. If I may, I’d like to ask anybody who knows about Robert McKenzie (aka Fast Floyd), the first guitarist in Mink DeVille.

    Was Fast Floyd (Robert McKenzie) a childhood friend of DeVille’s from Stamford, Connecticut? Floyd played guitar for Mink DeVille in San Francisco in 1974, prior to the band’s move to New York. I’ve heard he didn’t make the move from San Francisco to New York with the band because there were arrest warrants for him on the East Coast. I know Floyd was born in Connecticut in 1950, the same year as DeVille. I suspect he is the “crazy on the coast, there ain’t no doubt about it” man from the song “Spanish Stroll.” Floyd was in several San Francisco bands in the 1980s and 1990s, including The Offs and The Famous Firebirds. In May 1993, Floyd shot and killed his pregnant girlfriend in San Francisco and then turned the gun on himself. He was facing a life sentence in prison on drug and weapons charges.

    Was he in this group of friends with Willy, Toots, and the Nafys in Stamford in the period 1965-1970?

  233. ljs permalink
    11. Dezember 2009 12:20 am

    Spanish Stroll,
    The Offs have a myspace page that is active. You may want to contact them directly to see if they have any information on Fast Floyd. I remember those guys from the late 70’s in NYC. I always wondered if Fast Floyd had a hand in writing Mink’s Desperate Days because it had a ska beat.
    That’s so tragic about him and his girlfriend.

  234. ljs permalink
    11. Dezember 2009 12:36 am

    Spanish Stroll,

    Sorry I can’t get the link to be active, but this is an article in which Willy talks about his friend Robbie who couldn’t come to NY because of some warrants. He mentions that they were in school together and then both decided to drop out.


  235. Louise permalink
    11. Dezember 2009 2:40 am

    I think one of the earlier posts said something about Martincak being her name after she married again (after Willy), and her birth name was something like ….Susan Berle or Berlinsky? So that sounds Jewish.
    Yeah I like the speculation about her „finding herself“ later and embracing her heritage.

  236. Louise permalink
    11. Dezember 2009 2:56 am

    I like your point that it should be ok to be outspoken/judgemental about the drug but not the person. If we`re judging just the drug, then at least it`s our personal choice whether or not to be involved with it, but if we`re judging the person, it`s kind of …pointless, you know? The Devilles back then felt heroin was appropriate or desirable, so if that`s their perception, maybe there is some kind of subjective (though naive?) beauty to it … as far as beauty is subjective. But I personally don`t admire the lifestyle/side-effects that taking hard drugs leads to either.
    Strange as it sounds though, I do see beauty in that lifestyle. Not admirable beauty or even artistic beauty (in terms of producing drug-induced art). But SOME kind of „artistic beauty“ must be present in the lives that they led and that we now see documented in film and music. As much as drugs can be disheartening and just disgusting, as someone stated before, SO many artists have lived and ended their own lives with drugs. It`s a tragedy and at the same time like a mystery. Why did all those artists get into drugs like that? And what value is it now for us to see their lives played out in this way? (I don`t mean to condone it or say it`s worth trying).
    But in one interview, Willy says he is like an example of what not to do in life. I think there`s still beauty in the existence of this „example.“ Take Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd for example. He did too much LSD, but it`s like he was venturing into the unknown territory of the mind and seeing what he could pull out. I would not be a good person to try that (and I doubt many consider if they qualify for that destiny when getting involved into it), but he did it, and showed us what he found.

    Anyways, with the relationship stuff, I bet Toots got eyes from lots of guys too! It`s only natural — it must go both ways, right? But yeah, back then there weren`t as many female rock superstars maybe so she wasn`t as sought after as him no doubt. That would be a hard or confusing place and life to be in. But thrilling! hahaha.
    Thx for reading

  237. mdd permalink
    11. Dezember 2009 9:14 am

    Spanish Stroll: the guy who’s „crazy on the coast“ is brother Johnny Espinet, a percussionist who played on Willy’s first albums. Willy explained this once in a radio interview:

    You can hear it at the end of this interview.

  238. tina permalink
    11. Dezember 2009 9:15 am

    I’d like to know how Toots ended up living in Stamford. Did she live there with both her parents or just her mother as a result of divorce ?
    I’m wondering cause the Berlinsky’s were Charlestonbased.
    History of the Berle clothing company:


  239. digiom permalink*
    11. Dezember 2009 9:16 am

    Is it so much of a mystery that artists take drugs? Drugs change the perception of yourself and of the world temporarily, they take away blocks or inhibitions that one normally might have. As art is operating on the border of what is socially acceptable and what isn’t, it isn’t surprising that drugs can help create art.

  240. csk permalink
    11. Dezember 2009 9:47 am

    …at the end we all cook with water, we are not so different as far as feelings and desires are concerned – who would not be happy to have a lot of aventures with
    all sorts of people – you do not have to be Willy or Toots, sometimes you are suprised when you hear what the so called „normal“ do…

  241. 11. Dezember 2009 10:37 am

    @csk word!

  242. ljs permalink
    11. Dezember 2009 10:48 pm

    Toots went to Windsor Mountain School, which was a private boarding school in the Berkshires (Massachusetts). It closed in 1975. She may have met Willy through Mandy Mercier’s sister who was her classmate. Mandy played in bands with Willy in Stamford and NY. Maybe Toots didn’t live in Stamford and just hung out there because of Willy.
    Toots was born in NY state not Connecticut.
    Also didn’t some guy earlier in this blog say that he dated Toots before Willy and that they were in Georgia together? Northern Georgia is right next to Charleston, South Carolina. Maybe she lived with her dad for a while and then moved north.
    Her mother’s maiden name was Harrison – if she lived with her mother then maybe Toots wasn’t raised in a jewish household after all. There goes my theory out the window.
    Toots‘ second husband was named Stephen Martincak – maybe that Stefan Martincak in that record is a relative of his.
    The William Borsey Sr. on the immigration form, was 56 and single at the time he entered the U.S. at least according to this record, but Willy’s dad went by William Sr. and Willy by junior.
    Willy said in an interview in 1977 that his grandfather was an irish tinker who came to this country and had 20 children by 20 different women and so Willy said he had a lot of uncles around. This may or may not be true, but Willy said it not me. If it is then it would seem that philandering runs in his family. Maybe that older single guy listed on the immigration record is Willy’s old randy grandfather! This just keeps getting more interesting with every new twist.

  243. 12. Dezember 2009 1:12 am

    @ljs – what are your sources?

  244. amy permalink
    12. Dezember 2009 7:02 am

    As far as her looks when she was still in Stamford??!! It was very hard to tell, even early on she was covered in heavy makeup, masks and crazy clothes , even for the 70’s. She was like a Lady GaGa, always in costumes. I never could tell her facial looks, but she was very very tiny, and with many piercings1

  245. ellen permalink
    12. Dezember 2009 8:49 am

    Thank you Amy. Nice to hear from you again.

  246. Marianne permalink
    12. Dezember 2009 11:31 am

    I found these 2 quotes from an interview from Sander Donkers with Willy in 2008 in the Netherlands

    He told the interviewer

    He has plenty of laughter, like it. He still sees his first wife Toots restaurant La Coupole ahead with all the silverware hidden under her skirt. Just before the door clanged on the pavement.

    Oh … New York. He was thirteen, fourteen. The schoolmaster insisted that he and two other quiffs cut off their boyfriends (hair). And well, not nice. So that was his school career. „What Joey Bacuzzi did not know, but Robbie and I went to the Village. We’d also be bluuuesmen. Yeah! Well, Robbie has a few years ago by the head shot … and I’m still here. “

    —It’s automatically translated by the machine. I don’t know if it’s ok—

  247. 12. Dezember 2009 12:28 pm

    Thanks, Marianne, mag je een link sturen? Misschien kan ik het vertalen.

  248. mdd permalink
    12. Dezember 2009 3:06 pm

    Digiom, here is the link to the interview from Sander Donkers in the Netherlands.
    The Robbie Willy is talking about is Fast Floyd aka Robert McKenzie.
    Toots apparently once stole tablesilver from a restaurant and hid it under her skirt,
    it fell out of the skirt on the sidewalk in front of the door of the restaurant.


  249. 12. Dezember 2009 3:45 pm

    Yes, indeed: Hij ziet nog zijn eerste vrouw Toots restaurant La Coupole uitlopen met al het tafelzilver verborgen onder haar rok. Kletterde vlak voor de deur op de stoep.
    -> He can still see (before his inner eye) his first wife Toots walk out of restaurant La Coupole with all the silverware under her skirt. Just before the door, it plonked down on the doorstep.
    (I’m not a translator)

  250. ljs permalink
    12. Dezember 2009 3:48 pm


    For Willy’s quote on his grandfather:


    For Toots‘ school:


    her social security death record gives new york as her birth state.

    Not sure about…the maiden name and the former boyfriend were part of this blog’s thread so maybe those people can give you more info.

    Hope that helps.

  251. ljs permalink
    12. Dezember 2009 4:15 pm

    I love the comparison of Toots to Lady Gaga, that’s brilliant, really! I was just wondering the other day as I was watching one of her videos if Willy was aware of her music in his last years and was he a fan. No way to know now.

    Sorry just thought it was an interesting bit of synchronicity.

    So Amy were you friends with Toots in Stamford? Did she grow up there? Move there later?

  252. 12. Dezember 2009 9:08 pm

    Wondering: Should we establish something like a list of checked facts?

    Toots was half-French, half Pima-Indian.
    Source: Halberstadt, biographer of Doc Pomus
    Truth Factor: Unlikely. Her mother’s maiden name was Harrison (Source: ), she went to school at Windsor Mountain, which was a private boarding school in the Berkshires (Massachusetts). It closed in 1975. http://www.mandymercier.com/heart.htm

    Too much of an effort?

  253. amy permalink
    14. Dezember 2009 6:31 am

    My older sister was a friend of Willy’s , and his girlfriend before Sue. I was only in his company once when I was with my sister, we smoked cigarettes on his street,I was 13 they were about 16. He was so cool and my sister had a huge crush on him, very charismatic even then.
    I know that Toots family was very well off , they lived in a very wealthy part of town in Stamford called Revonah Woods.

  254. Marianne permalink
    14. Dezember 2009 2:47 pm

    Amy, you have still contact with your sister, she’s still alive? May be she can tell you (and us) a lot more about Toots and Willy or she knows other names of people in their neighborhood at that time? I like to know their (whole love) story!

  255. ljs permalink
    15. Dezember 2009 2:28 am

    Amy, thanks.
    I got chills when I read what you wrote. I’m with Marianne, would love to hear more about Willy and Suzie back then.

  256. csk permalink
    15. Dezember 2009 5:28 pm

    isn’t it sad that hardly ever you hear any Willy de Ville songs on the radio??? and CD’s in stores ?? 1 or 2 if you’re lucky, no market for him at all ?

  257. 15. Dezember 2009 6:07 pm

    @csk I agree, I think only heard of him seven years ago or so. He had released a new CD (I think), and SPEX (German magazin with an intellectual approach to pop music – then) had a story on it. Apparently all music connoiseurs knew him. I didn’t until then.

  258. tina permalink
    15. Dezember 2009 7:27 pm

    Willy’s sister Mary-Ellen:


  259. Carol permalink
    15. Dezember 2009 7:28 pm

    @csk: I can’t agree full,because it’s an american problem… here in Europe (Netherlands,Germany,Italy,Spain,France) you’ll find a lot of people,who listen to Willy de Ville since 3o years!And it’s possible,to buy almoust all recordings-it was a overwhelming thing,to stay at his concerts and to meet a lot of guys,who tried to participate as often as possible!
    To first Mrs.de Ville: it’s ok,to compare her with „Lady GaGa“-but what’s about Amy Winehouse?

  260. ellen permalink
    15. Dezember 2009 7:31 pm

    Amy, what a great story. So your sister probably was Willy’s first love and Toots her rival !
    Tell us all you know!

  261. tina permalink
    15. Dezember 2009 8:08 pm

    A quote on Lisa’s angel eyes:

    „Miscellaneous- Bottom Line gig: Willy entered wearing West Side Story vines, smoking a cigarette, Toots‘ red lipstick print on his cheek. Later I met him and Lisa somewhere, and saw what he meant about her eyes: the most gigantic, luminous blue headlights ever“.

  262. 15. Dezember 2009 10:04 pm

    @carol people listening to willy, but are they playing him on the radio?

  263. ljs permalink
    15. Dezember 2009 11:19 pm


    I just realized the person I thought was Sean Borsey in your photos is in fact Willy’s nephew Kevin O’Brien. Sorry for the mix up. It is his nephew that looks so much like Willy, not Sean.

    Opps. You’re right Sean doesn’t look like Willy, but Kevin wow!

  264. Tammi permalink
    16. Dezember 2009 2:10 pm

    Digiom, WDR 2 sometimes played Willys songs, even concersts. A few weeks before his death they played the Rockpalastconcert at cologne in 2008.

    PS. Thank you for translating the „Dutch Interview“, nice story!

  265. 16. Dezember 2009 3:04 pm

    Hello everyone,
    This is Jerry Scheff. If you have listened to Le Chat Bleu then you have heard my bass playing. I had just finished a year with Bob Dylan in 1978 when Steve Douglas who was also in that Dylan band called me about going to Paris to record with Willie Deville. I had never heard of Willie but Steve was producing him and said he was great.

    Anyway, I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about to work on one of my favorite albums ever. We stayed at the Hotel Meurice and had a great time playing music and hanging out.

    The reason I am writing is to say hello. You seem to be intelligent people and I am getting a different take on Willie and Toots other than our short time together in Paris

    All the best,

    The other reason is I know there are photos from those sessions and street shots that are out there somewhere and I would love to have them for my own collection.

  266. mdd permalink
    16. Dezember 2009 4:08 pm

    Jerry Scheff,
    To many Willy Deville fans, le chat bleu is his masterpiece. So it’s an honour the bassplayer on this album shares his memories with us!

  267. 16. Dezember 2009 6:24 pm

    I would be happy to share anything I can.

  268. Carol permalink
    16. Dezember 2009 6:44 pm

    @“digiom“: ok,you’re right,if you mean charts.But: his songs are often played as a sort of „tapestry“…to paint an atmosphere,a mood.And there are some movies (TV also)with his songs as background.And -how „Tammi“ told us- it’s possible,to find special missions with his music (and all that is more than in USA).I often made the experience,that people say „who?Willy de Ville?Who’s that for hell?“and if you answer with an example like „Demasiado corazon“ or „Hey Joe“ they say: „Oh,that guy – didn’t know his name,but he’s great“
    @Jerry Scheff: hey man,be careful!And: great work on „Chat bleu“!

  269. tina permalink
    16. Dezember 2009 8:47 pm

    Isn’t it a shame Willy ruined his looks by taking drugs? He looks like Al Pacino in this picture,
    doesn’t he.


    p.s. Mr. Jerry Scheff, how nice of you to write. Could you tell something about your experiences with Toots ?

  270. Louise permalink
    17. Dezember 2009 5:17 am

    JerryO–you`ve played with my two favourite songwriters of all time. I`m cursed to have never seen W. Deville live. Dylan I finally saw last year. I`ve always heard he (Dylan) was intense to be around.
    From what you can recall, how was the short time in Paris with Toots and Willy?

  271. Louise permalink
    17. Dezember 2009 5:25 am

    In Canada, Willy Deville records are rare and CDs even more so. I`ve heard him once on listener-supported radio after his death: „Storybook Love“ on CKUA. I`m happy to find more on the internet like on this interesting page!

  272. tina permalink
    17. Dezember 2009 7:51 pm

    Don’t know if anyone has already seen this vid. Interview with Willy and his bandmembers, all talking in a very affectionate way about him.

    The backgroundmusic is a little irritating. You can see Nina as well. Part 2/3 and 3/3 are also on youtube.

  273. mdd permalink
    18. Dezember 2009 12:46 pm

    Thank you Tina, I hope this link is better:

  274. Marianne permalink
    18. Dezember 2009 3:03 pm

    Thank you for the nice interviews. I love this one very much. Especially at the end when Willy walked with his dog Dixie.


    Willy DeVille – TV Interview 1996 Utrecht,NL

  275. csk permalink
    18. Dezember 2009 3:31 pm

    Great, how everybody finds things and we all share !
    I think, Willy is so much more attractive than Al Pacino and also he is about 1 meter
    taller… I think he never lost his looks, malgé drugs-abuse, maybe he lost the innocence of his looks -but we all do very soon.
    I do not know if I think that Lady Ga Ga is similar to Toots, I do not see it; Amy Winehouse yes for the physical ressemblance.
    Did Toots want to be a singer ? or did she just want to find her way „out of line“
    and had enough fantasy to do it ?
    Anybody knows more about Nina ?

  276. tina permalink
    18. Dezember 2009 5:57 pm

    Isn’t it strange that in Maurice Berle’s obituary Willy is mentioned as son-in-law and Susan’s second husband Martincak isn’t mentioned at all?

  277. GUEST permalink
    18. Dezember 2009 9:57 pm

    Another quote on Toots:

    steve simels said…
    I interviewed him once, when he was on Atlantic. It was a bit of a nightmare — his girlfriend actually shot him up in front of me (and this was in his manager’s office). I was just an innocent young lad from the burbs and to say I was shocked is a bit of understatement.

    Funny thing is, he was super nice, really smart, and we talked music the whole time this was happening.

    Surreal is the word. But I liked him. A lot. And every album had something to recommend it.

  278. SoReal permalink
    18. Dezember 2009 11:28 pm

    Thank you Guest for the interesting quote.

    Garth Cartwright from guardian wrote after Willy’s death in august in an article about Willy also about his heroin addiction during the Atlantic period as well as the loss from his farm in picayune due to unpaid taxes much later. Who knows the truth?

    About Willy’s and Toots‘ stay in London after the success with Spanisch Stroll / Cabretta he wrote:

    „DeVille was flown to London to meet the press and immediately things got off to a bad start, when the singer angrily confronted journalists who had upset him by classifying him as a „punk rocker“.

    His combative approach with the media WAS MADE WORSE BY HIS WIFE, TOOTS,who shadowed him and would threaten anyone she took against.“

    I believe that without their addiction to heroin their behaviour wouldn’t have been the same. And this behaviour under the influence of drugs may have been the reason for so much misfortune on the way to success.

    To Mr Jerry Scheff:

    Thank you for being in this blog. I hope you will tell us some of your impressions from the recording time in Paris. I hear the chat bleu very often when I drive to work. Great Work from Willy and you and the other musicians on this record. And not only on this record, also for EP and others – you should get a lifetime award! Great!

    T0 esc:

    Nina sang Background Vocals in „Chieva“ on Crow Jane Alley (2004).

  279. mdd permalink
    19. Dezember 2009 10:14 am

    This is a translation of a quote by a Belgian Willy Deville fan which I found on the net:

    „I saw Willy perform for about 7 times, the first time at the beginning of the eighties,
    for a small audience in Turnhout, Belgium. Suddenly a woman came out of the audience, climbed up on the stage to hand over some flowers to Willy. Immediately Toots came forward as a raging fury, slapped the woman a few times in the face and then, with her small sized feet, Toots kicked the unfortunate woman of the stage back in the audience…..“

  280. GUEST permalink
    19. Dezember 2009 11:09 am

    Very interesting comments on Toots, Nina, Lisa and Sean. I already had heard his relationship with Sean was difficult, seems they reconciled before his death.

  281. GUEST permalink
    19. Dezember 2009 11:10 am

    Sorry, this isn’t gonna work, you have to read the comments that go with this vid.

  282. csk permalink
    19. Dezember 2009 2:27 pm

    thanks, guest – anybody knows what Nina’s job was before becoming Mrs. deVille ?

  283. GUEST permalink
    19. Dezember 2009 7:11 pm

    Here are the comments.

    No he didn’t play the USA a lot I think Nina was a tough one to deal with And yes so many of the great artists turn to drugs. In general many „deep feeling“ persons turn to drugs for comfort Yes Toots died She was a *real* character and very bad influence on DeVille IMHO :-

    hinamauka: Because he didn’t play the U.S. much I didn’t get to see him in person until 2006. But I followed his music. Nina was nice to me once (in person) and then never again. Weird. Willy might have been naive, most romantics are! Also a lot of the most talented artists in the world in any genre turn to drugs to help mask the pain. Willy and Sean reconciled before his death! Toots of course died some years ago.

    His wife Lisa was an angel and all the fans loved her. Nina was more like a guard dog. But you know what: Damn, if he were my man I’d probably be the same way!!

    remember a gig in Holland when he was still with Toots. She came up on stage asking for heroin in a loud voice.
    He himself hit rock bottom way back than. Lisa died too early But I truly believe Nina kept him alive the last years.
    Maybe she was not a lovely person to the fans But the fans also had dropped Willy on several occasions.
    He was quit naive I think.

    Hope he knew how much he was appreciated. Current wife didn’t want fans anywhere near him.

    Seems like he had a knack for hooking up with jealous women.

  284. Rita permalink
    20. Dezember 2009 8:11 pm

    Picture of Willy & Toots. Scroll down to the 3rd picture.


  285. 20. Dezember 2009 8:22 pm

    A very precious picture, thank you, Rita.

  286. Carol permalink
    21. Dezember 2009 5:50 pm

    Thanks for this site.But: has anyone seen the comment from Sept.,24th,of Ms.Belinda Rachman???What an explosion of hate !

  287. csk permalink
    21. Dezember 2009 5:59 pm

    Carol, where is this comment to be seen – in this blog ? can you indicate where ?

    Nobody knows anything more about Nina ? what she did before being with Willy, did she have a previous marriage, maybe children ? a job ?

  288. guest permalink
    21. Dezember 2009 6:49 pm

    Carol, she also posted a comment on another blog. Look what answer she got:

    Belinda Rachman:
    Toots killed Willy. She was a white trash junkie bitch and I guess I am damn lucky I never got anything put out in my eye because Willy and I checked each other out each time we passed each other in the street. Toots tore up the proposal I gave Willy to shoot a film of him set to one of his songs. This was before MTV. I HATED Toots!!!!! He would probably still be alive if he would have dumped her ass for me!

    Sunday, August 9, 2009 12:15:00 PM PDT
    Anonymous said…
    Gee Belinda who’s the bitch?
    Yes, you are lucky because the way you describe it, you were just another slut looking to pork a rock star.
    Susan was justifiably protective of Willy, especially when there were predators like you around. Willy died of cancer, how is Toots responsible for that?

  289. mdd permalink
    21. Dezember 2009 7:12 pm

    Csk, the comment of Belinda Rachman is at the beginning of this blog, August 8. and 10.

  290. 21. Dezember 2009 7:13 pm

    @Carol Yeah, saw it, also remember that I was a bit taken aback, as it was the very first comment on this blog and I thought „Wow, what have I gotten myself into with this post?“ It sounds like she was just jealous – and also thought, if I were a divorce mediator (check out the website) I probably wouldn’t comment in such a way, or not under my real name anyway. Unless it was someone else posing as her, of course.

  291. csk permalink
    21. Dezember 2009 7:47 pm

    mdd and carol – thank you, I remember it and checked it again – it would have been more elegant to keep the remark to herself after all those years …

  292. Carol permalink
    21. Dezember 2009 9:15 pm

    Yes,I’ve seen the comment of Ms.Rachman on THIS blog;but I meant another : it’s to find on that site with le last pic on THIS blog (a list of people,who’ve died in last years,something like „live from memphis“))Behind the last pic there are comments and one of these (very early,maybe the 3th) is that one of Ms.Rachman.Pure poison!I’m not sure,if „Toots“ was a nice person or not (I think,she was a poor little girl with great wishes and very,very afraid to lose),but what had she done to cause such a lot of hate after all these time?

  293. csk permalink
    21. Dezember 2009 9:31 pm

    Carol, thanks, found it – a poor little girl Toots ? Maybe, but not only…, she wanted to break out and I’m sure she had good times while she was young and crazy and also with Willy ! they must have felt like the top of the world, above all
    the rest ! and had to pay for it …

  294. Carol permalink
    21. Dezember 2009 9:58 pm

    Sure,that she wasn’t „only“ a poor little girl – but it seems,that a sort of feeling of inferiority was the reason for a lot of „unusual“ and „antisocial“ acts,don’t you believe?Look: she was a mother,when herself nearly a child;she married very early;she took possession of her husband and tried to participe at any price;she was addicted to drugs….If you would hear such facts about another person,what would you think?And her later job as a nurse: it’s the same in USA like in Europe,with such jobs they try to reintegrate „underdogs“,people without thorough schooling,sometimes with a history of drugaddiction.I guess,that this job isn’t a certain sign for a social conscience.Uff,this theme is almoust too much for my English,learned at school!And -by the way-I guess,that some of these facts are valid for Willy de Ville although…

  295. guest permalink
    21. Dezember 2009 10:31 pm

    I found this quote on Revonah Woods, the neighborhood where Toots lived with her parents in Stamford. She might have been „poor“, but only in a symbolic way… I wonder whether she got financial support from her parents after the divorce.

    „On the fringe of downtown an association of 74 homes called Revonah Woods, built in the 50’s as a restricted enclave, — an oasis of million-dollar homes in a country setting five minutes from the center of downtown“.

  296. guest permalink
    21. Dezember 2009 10:55 pm

    More comments bij Ms Rachman on Youtube. She’s obviously frustrated about the fact she never got together with Willy.

    HIs horrid junkie girlfriend, Toots, used to kiss him and leave lipstick marks on his face before each encore. We used to pass each other in the street and each time I would look back at him as he was looking back at me. But he was still with this awful girlfriend and we never hooked up.

    I will always wonder if he would have left her for me would he have spent all those years as a junkie, beating up his body. I love him so much. When I was still in film school at NYU (sometime prior to June 1979) I proposed making a film of him set to music (this was before MTV) but that bitch Toots tore up my proposal and took him away from where we were talking. He was such a dynamic performer. None of these videos even comes close. I saw him perform in NYC, Paris & LA and he was just amazing.

  297. Carol permalink
    21. Dezember 2009 11:17 pm

    @“guest“: sure,“poor“ in a symbolic way;a so called „rich,poor girl“,ok?

    @ another?“guest“: „frustrated „,that’s the point!Disappointed,jealous-and all this after 3o years…wow,Willy!

  298. tina permalink
    22. Dezember 2009 9:42 am

    The Berlinsky Family Tree shows that Maurice and Harriet Berle were both born in 1916, so when Toots was born in 1950 they were already 34, a bit late for that time, (especially for a mother) , and being an only child with enough money around you can easily guess that she was heavily spoilt.

  299. Carol permalink
    22. Dezember 2009 9:41 pm

    Tina,what makes you believe,“Toots“ was an only child?Read the obituary of her father: there are named two girls and two stepdaughters;FOUR girls (a poor man)And who says,that „Toots“ was the first?Maybe,she was the last child-in any case the 3rd or 4th (the stepdaughters of her father must have been older than her).
    But you’re right,when you think,that’s a funny thing,that in this obituary W.d.V is named as an Son-in-law instead of „Toots“(what’s the meaning of this word?)second husband.Newspapers….not always a reliable source…
    Please: can anyone explain the meaning of „Toots“???Thanks!

  300. SoReal permalink
    22. Dezember 2009 10:28 pm


    carol, here you can find the explanation, its a slang expression for sweetie or tart. what choice!

  301. SoReal permalink
    22. Dezember 2009 11:07 pm

    … and „Toot“ without „s“ means in slang usage „cocaine“!

  302. tina permalink
    23. Dezember 2009 10:08 am

    Carol, I think I know what mistake you’re making: the 2 two stepdaughters are MENTIONED in the obit: Harriet D. Keith and Susan H. Slotnick. They are Helen Laufer Dwork’s daughters from her first marriage. You can also read this from Helen’s obit.


    Anyway, just look at the Berlinsky family tree, you’ll see that Maurice only had one child Susan with his first wife Harriet. His second wife Helen is also mentioned but no children were born, because they married at later age. Toots‘ mother died in 1987 so she was 71 and Maurice also.

  303. tina permalink
    23. Dezember 2009 10:12 am

    Here’s the page:


  304. Carol permalink
    23. Dezember 2009 3:04 pm

    „tina“ – you’re right: I remembered the text,but not correctly.Maybe,some days are a long time for an old mind!And the „sister“,who was mentioned,wasn’t Susan’s sister-she was the sister of her father,Susan’s aunt….Sorry!
    And „so real“: thanks for the explanation of the name,you’re right: what a choice!Twenty or thirty years ago,in German language it was the same,a adored girl was a „Törtchen“-such naming depends a little bit of fashion.

  305. mia permalink
    24. Dezember 2009 11:12 am

    Put myself on the place of willies wives…it must have been horribly annoying to deal with the constant attempts of all kind of women trying to call willies attention .
    i can understand „Toots“ aggression because its respectless to do such things in front of her- but it seems that willy had something that made women believe they were the one…made them dream. The fact that he chose no typical modeltype girls propably made it look easy to steal him away but indead for showbizz 10 years or more relations are faithfull enough and are too long to call willy a bad boy…thats a very long time and indicates deap love-maybe in different ways.

    How to survive a love when its gone ?

    is that why we want to know what happened with Toots???
    was she ever happy again ? Can we??? or give up like Lisa …

  306. Crissie permalink
    24. Dezember 2009 12:38 pm

    A merry christmas and a peaceful new year to all those wonderful and nice people here.

  307. csk permalink
    24. Dezember 2009 3:22 pm

    Crissie, I agree with you – a wonderful time to all of us !

  308. csk permalink
    24. Dezember 2009 3:30 pm

    mia, maybe there were more problems coming up for Lisa – on top of the ending of her marriage. could be that the financial part was not very glorious any more either.
    not easy to start a new life at that point – whithout any illusions maybe…

    this is why I insist so often in knowing more about Nina and wonder how was her life before her marriage to Willy ? What was her job ? Had she another family ?
    How could she swallow ?

  309. tina permalink
    24. Dezember 2009 10:39 pm

    Found this on the web about Nina’s mother, CSK. Christina has to be Nina. It’s translated from Swedish by Google:

    Actress etc. Daughter of director Victor Sjöström and actress Edith Erastoff-Sjostrom. Educated at the Royal Dramatic Theater and performed on the stage in various scenes and appeared in nine films. From 1940 to 1956 married Sture Lagerwall with whom she had three children, Jorgen; Christina and Edith.
    After separation by Sture Lagerwall she settled with the children in the U.S. where she married a music publisher. She became known as Julie Seastrom and lived in the United States to the mid-1990s.

  310. Tammi permalink
    25. Dezember 2009 6:36 pm

    I also wish you all a wonderfull christmastime or whatever you will celebrate in these days and a happy,healthy and successful new year! Perhaps under the next christmastree we will find Willys biography and some questions are answered,maybe!

  311. Crissie permalink
    26. Dezember 2009 9:26 pm

    Here you can see Lisa (Mr. DeVilles second wife) for a short time. She is the lady with the blue hat on and she looks complete different to Toots …

  312. csk permalink
    27. Dezember 2009 1:20 pm

    Crissie, thanks for the song ! I never find those things…
    Do you have more pictures of Willy’s wives ?

  313. Marianne permalink
    27. Dezember 2009 10:47 pm

    CSK, watch this video! You will see Lisa at the beginning and at the end!

  314. Marianne permalink
    29. Dezember 2009 12:18 am

    Added to facebook the day before yesterday by Kevin Obrien, Willy’s cousin

  315. ljs permalink
    29. Dezember 2009 4:24 am

    What a great photo with Kevin and here’s one with Toots from the same group.

  316. ljs permalink
    29. Dezember 2009 4:25 am

    But Kevin is his nephew not his cousin.

  317. tina permalink
    29. Dezember 2009 5:54 pm

    Kevin looks good, could be a male model. I heard from someone who was at the festive memorial in New York that he resembles Willy in many ways. Same height, parts of their faces are alike, same speech patterns and opinions.

  318. csk permalink
    30. Dezember 2009 11:03 am

    I guess there will bea a memorial in New York this coming year again, does anybody know about it ?
    Tina – yes, I think the eyes are much the same, not the mouth – also not the arrogance in his looks

  319. Harold permalink
    30. Dezember 2009 2:14 pm

    Look here, people, this is real simple: Susan Berle was a rich little Jewish girl, who was short and had a homely face. She wore heavy make-up, masks and facial piercings from an early age in an effort to offset her unattractive facial features. She was fiercely possessive because she was insecure about her looks and her ability to hold on to Willy DeVille. She insisted on thrusting herself into lots of the promotional photos, as if she were a part of the band. Even though she was the mother of a young child, she allowed herself to become a heroin addict. She ended up looking like an insecure, skanky LOSER. Y’all are wasting a lot of bytes on someone who was pretty transparently shallow.

  320. ljs permalink
    30. Dezember 2009 4:13 pm

    Hey Harold are you related to Belinda Rachman? Did you know Toots? Why so much hate?

  321. Crissie permalink
    30. Dezember 2009 5:39 pm

    @ csk: here is another photo with Mr. DeVille and Lisa. She has got the bluest of blue eyes I have ever seen …
    When Mr. DeVille started his career in Germany he and Toots where separated (maybe divorced, I am not sure) and Toots was really unknown in Germany. But Lisa was with him. But I am still fascinated about Toots – I think she was real tough.

  322. tina permalink
    30. Dezember 2009 6:27 pm

    @Crissy: great picture! Lisa had Elizabeth Taylor’s eyecolour.

    I’d also like to know if you knew Toots, Harold. Willy didn’t seem like the guy to go for looks only. He himself was intelligent and witty so there had to be something more to keep him interested. Enough women around who are beautiful but also deadboring.

  323. 30. Dezember 2009 7:18 pm

    I’d still be interested in Toots even if insecurity was the reason for her to demand her 5 minutes of fame, too; also, I’d like to know why demanding attention from a WOMAN causes some folks (like Harold or Belinda) to be so very negative about someone who isn’t anymore.

  324. Aguest permalink
    30. Dezember 2009 7:28 pm

    In the early comments on this blog Toots was called: “ one of the most memorable persons ever“, and: „a captivating person“ by people who really knew her.

  325. csk permalink
    30. Dezember 2009 8:49 pm

    I agree with Harold in some ways – I do not know by now what were Toot’s talents
    ( apart from her cleverness and talent to create her looks and publicity for herself and Willy ) while we all know Willy’s; but I am sure they had a great time together before they went downhill – together or separated. I cannot blame her for getting hooked to whatever addiction, we are no judges – and she paid a high price for whatever fun she had in life – I only hope that she could find a way to her son.

    Crissie, yes Lisa’s eyes are the bluest I’ve seen – Liz Taylor’s were darker, one dark blue the other purble, full of mystery – Lisa’s were frank and straight, I would not compare the two beauties at all.

  326. 30. Dezember 2009 9:00 pm

    what we know about people we don’t know (and most of us neither knew willy nor toots) we know through the media – and if there were any reports about toots, then it was because she was willy’s wife, and all reports we got about her depicted her through that lens. e.g. we learn that she created his looks. this is why she mattered to the media – but that doesn’t mean that this is all there was to say about her.

  327. csk permalink
    30. Dezember 2009 10:26 pm

    digiom – there is a lot to say about every single person in this world – famous or not – that only depends on circumstances, we all are unique, we all are responsable of our acts, no matter who we are…

  328. 31. Dezember 2009 5:07 am

    When I first learned about Willy’s death in August it felt like a dull blow to the spirit. I’d seen him perform with Mink DeVille in 1979, at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, RI, when he was in his cool, smouldering, Toots-inspired mode. I saw Toots, as well. Very close up, in fact.

    Although I was just another young, female audience member at the intimate club, Toots stared at me for awhile, glowering but aloof, from her place next to the stage about five feet away from me. She was assessing the threat level, I guess.

    Her looks and confidence really knocked me out: Bouffant hair, jet black eyeliner, stilletto heeled, pointy toes shoes, tattoos, facial piercings, skin-tight 60s style dress, tons of retro jewelry…She was walking art. Nothing like any woman I’d ever seen before.

    I’d heard a rumor that she and Willy were deep into a kind of Santeria voodoo and both of them were hooked on dope. Although, at my impressionable age, I found all that rather romantic in a vampire/goth sort of way, it also carried a vaguely treatening message that said: „Don’t even think about trying to imitate us!“ I could tell that there was a co-dependency between them that might just be fatal. To somebody.

    Well, I always loved Willy’s music, nonetheless. In the mid 80s I married a Blues musician who was jealous of Willy. So, I put away his albums for about 10 years. After that man left me for a radio DJ, I dug them back out and – God as my witness- they really helped me heal from the emotional trauma. My ex died last year, of cancer, at age 57.

    Finding a live Dutch release on CD entitled „4 Meter Sessies“ in 2000, I rapidly snatched it up. It reamains my favorite Willy DeVille record to this day.

    Boy do I feel old. Having outlived Toots, Willy and so many other talented people I so deeply admired has brought me a sense of gratitude for my own talents and skills. I aim to use ‚em all up, well and wisely, before it’s my turn to meet the reaper, too.

    Thanks for this great blog! I do believe a movie will be made about Willy and Toots. It’s in the stars……

  329. Louise permalink
    31. Dezember 2009 9:00 am

    Cool insights about Toots, Mari! Thanks for sharing.

    Also, in terms of a blog about Toots, I agree that everyone is unique and that there’s lots to be said about each person. Each person is a mystery.

  330. ljs permalink
    31. Dezember 2009 5:05 pm

    Wow Mari, thanks for that. My husband went to URI and knows Lupo’s well, what a great place to see them. Can I ask you: was Toots watching Willy and then looking at who ever he might be making eye contact with or was she just watching the attractive women in the audience to try and discourage them? I’m just wondering if her behavior was a reaction to Willy and what he was doing or just strictly paranoia. Thanks again.

    I also had heard about their interest in black magic, as Willy put it in several inerviews. A lot of people in that scene in NYC at the time were reading Aleister Crowley and claiming to be into Witchcraft and Willy was right there with them. He also had a strange quote in one of the English music papers in the late 70’s about admiring the Nazis for being truly decadent, which is awful in and of itself, but all the more strange when you consider Toots was Jewish. Willy’s interest in the occult never waned and he still mentioned it in some of the last interviews he did. He was a strange guy, but a great performer, and Toots was truly inspiring in terms of his art. She even inspired other women at the time at least in downtown New York to get nose rings and go for the corpse bride look.

    Also someone has uploaded all these incredible performances of Mink Deville from a German tv show in 1978, Rockpalast or something, on youtube. They are definitely worth checking out.

  331. 31. Dezember 2009 5:09 pm

    Does anyone of you have old copies of Creem magazine? The very first comment on this blogpost by Lia says:

    She used to be in Creem magazine (with and without Willy) all the time and yeah, she really seemed like the coolest chick…so different from all the others at the time.

  332. ljs permalink
    31. Dezember 2009 5:13 pm

    @Digiom-I had all the copies of Creem magazine from 1975 till 1982 but they were thrown out when I went to college – a truly sad day. However, you can purchase back copies from Creem at their website. I believe it’s run by some of the former editors. I wish I still had them, they were gold to me. Good luck.

  333. 31. Dezember 2009 6:18 pm

    „Can I ask you: was Toots watching Willy and then looking at who ever he might be making eye contact with or was she just watching the attractive women in the audience to try and discourage them?“- ljs

    Willy was not likely to make eye contact with anyone in the audience due to the bright stagelights aimed at his face. Toots would look at him, then observe the audience reaction, just as I did when my ex was performing onstage. Musicians tend to like a critical appraisal of their performances after a show, yet, often suffer from low self-esteem. Her behavior, at that time, appeared to be more like a manager’s than a jealous wife’s. She never cracked a smile, though, or made any efforts to associate with the audience. As he finished his last encore she was right there to grab him as he left the stage and rapidly led him away to the dingy „green room“.

    I was a live music reviewer for over 10 years (for the Martha’s Vineyard Times) and I never met a musician who didn’t ask me : „How was it?“ „Was I OK?“ „Did it sound alright?“ I also understand that some women get carried away by the spectacle (and lots of liquor) and can be very pushy in attempts to get closer to the performers who „turn them on.“ It’s something of a nightmare to be married to a charismatic musician, no matter how trusting you are of your spouse’s fidelity. Toots must have been absolutely devastated when he „ran out“ on her after all those years and all her efforts to support his career (misguided in practice, perhaps, but no doubt sincere.)

    The saddest thing for me is that I’d always hoped to see an older, mellower Willy perform live again. Not because I was attracted to the man but because I was a true, loyal fan of his music. Toots deserves a higher place in Rock n‘ Roll history than she witnessed while she was still living. So does Willy.

    Thanks for the kind words. I should start writing my musical memoirs immediately! Got some really interesting stories to tell. Honestly.

    Happy New Year to ALL!!!!

  334. 2010 permalink
    1. Januar 2010 12:14 am

    I miss Willy.

  335. Crissie permalink
    1. Januar 2010 1:42 am

    A very happy New Year to all of you … And how could we start better …

  336. Carol permalink
    2. Januar 2010 4:35 pm

    Meanwhile I took time enough to read „Harold“’s post and I think,that he’s right: he doesn’t misjudge the facts we know from a lots from other posts.All them together give a picture (maybe,there are missing other facts…).It seems,that his post isn’t hateful,but a little impatient-impatient with many people,who see and read,but don’t understand.
    Isn’t here anybody,who knew „Toots“ after her separation from W.d.V.?We only have informations about a job and her dead,not more.

  337. 2. Januar 2010 5:07 pm

    Btw, have you all already signed here? http://www.petitiononline.com/DeVille/
    Request To Consider Willy DeVille For Induction In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

  338. 2. Januar 2010 5:21 pm

    As a Deville fan for many years I know there is a day of remberance in the

    Netherlands. Can I find more information about Willy Deville, family, friends, etc. In the late seventies I saw the MINK DEVILLE band in Belgium and Toots
    was looking at here Willy on stage and I saw a deeply love in here eyes and a deep respect for Deville as a brilliant singer songwriter, this evening she was wearing a big yellow flower in her hair, it’s a shame that such people have to go so earely.

    Greets at all of you

    Jan SERRY.

  339. Carol permalink
    2. Januar 2010 6:27 pm

    Digiom: Das machen schon ganz viele fans schon ganz lange…aber:Aussichten haben nur „Einzelkämpfer“,also keine Gruppen-und diese Solisten müssen eine gewisse Anzahl von Jahren eigener Karriere (2o? 25?)zusammenbekommen,damit sie in Frage kommen.Auf jeden Fall reicht die Zeit von W.d.V.s Solokarriere nicht aus – schade!

  340. ljs permalink
    5. Januar 2010 10:33 pm

    I hope this works, It’s a great photo of Willy and Toots at CBGB’s


  341. 6. Januar 2010 2:06 am

    You need to upload it to the web – the link looks like you just copied the mailbox link -> won’t work. Can you upload it to flickr, twitpic, yfrog.com or a page like that?

  342. Marianne permalink
    6. Januar 2010 2:12 am

    The link is not ok!

    Is this the Sean Borsey, Willy and Toot’s son?


  343. marianne permalink
    6. Januar 2010 2:25 am

    And this is an interview with Willy (25th of january 2000) in Humo Belgium. At the end of page two: he talks about Lisa????????


  344. ljs permalink
    6. Januar 2010 4:01 am

    I hope this one works

  345. 7. Januar 2010 5:20 pm

    Susan Berle, whom her husband, Billy Borsey, later named (by Susan) Willy DeVille, was married to Billy in the EARLY 1970s, I believe 1970 or ’71. They were together even before that. Susan met Billy in Stamford, CT where they both grew up (Susan went to boarding school with my sisters), and they were inseparable for years.

    Susan was the one who named the band „Mink DeVille“ and suggested Billy change his name to „Willy DeVille“ so it would be clear he was the bandleader and she thought „Willy“ sounded more macho. Conceptually, the band was as much her creation as his, along with his image as a New York ghetto king, when in fact they were both originally hip but suburban kids from Connecticut. I knew them starting in 1968.

    I went to the Woodstock Festival with Billy and his former girlfriend, Marie Poisson but after they broke up, he and Susan got back together and were inseparable for at least 15 years after that. Susan did NOT die of a drug overdose. She had a lingering disease, I believe lupus, and suffered horribly before she passed away a few years ago.

    It’s true that Susan had a drug problem but most people in the music scene used drugs quite of their own volition in those days, including Willy. She did encourage him to use heroin which was not great and he later acknowledged that had cost him some time and creativity.

    But he did plenty of drugs on his own because that’s what everyone did back then, certainly in the New York (and Connecticut) music scene. Meanwhile, more importantly, Willy was a musical genius in his own right, but he always acknowledged Susan’s („Toots“)’s contributions to his image and creative direction; that IS her (Susan, not Will) 0n the „Le Chat Bleu“ album cover.

    When they met he had curly, shoulder length hair and was mainly into blues (Delta style), folk artists such as the Incredible String Band, and Van Morrison; Susan took him in the direction of urban, ghetto Spanish-influenced ballads and a more „rock“ image.

    While you (previous poster) may well believe there was a „special connection“ between you and Willy, I assure you that (a) many, many women felt that way, and (b) in fact Willy was basically very monogamous and loyal.

    Yes, Susan was very protective of her marriage — hey, he was a rock star. Can you imagine how many women hit on him at every gig? She did get a little out there about it but we were young, hanging out in bars, everyone was crazy, so yes, she got in some womens‘ faces about flirting with her husband, which they shouldn’t have been doing in the first place (listening to the music is kinda more what you’re supposed to be doing).

    Willy and Susan („Toots“) had a deep, true love, he adored their son Sean, and they were a happy family for the 15 years I knew them well (and we did remain friends until each of them passed away, although I lost touch a bit after I moved to Austin, TX and before we had the Internet).

    I knew they did later divorce, but Susan was extremely influential on, and important to Willy (Billy) and I don’t believe he would appreciate the trashing of her going on here. He was also a very compassionate and caring person, and he stood by his loved ones, even when acknowledging troubles that did arise.

  346. Marianne permalink
    7. Januar 2010 6:33 pm

    Dear Mandy, thanks a lot for this story! You wrote more about Toots and Willy, than I expected after asking you to write some words on this blog. The photo’s in this blog showed the big love between Toots and Willy and you confirmed that. In Holland at february 27th there is a Willy Deville Memorial Night. I will be there and enjoy his music. I think it will be strange to hear and see someone else singing his songs………but it’s nice to be there with so many fans.
    Mandy, thanks again for this! I will listen to your music at you tube! Best wishes to you, Marianne

  347. Eiré Cailin permalink
    7. Januar 2010 8:43 pm


    Thank you so much for sharing your memories with us. I hope Willy is again walking his little girl home with Susan’s arm tucked in his.

    Best to you,


  348. 7. Januar 2010 8:57 pm

    I think the speculation about whether Sean is Willy’s biological child is hurtful and pointless. I know the truth of the situation (I was there) but refuse to discuss it. I do have respect for Willy’s subsequent wives and I repeat, while his music was sensual and soulful, he was NOT a „dog“ and I believe this woman („Belinda“?) is living in a fantasy.

    Willy/Billy was kind to everyone and appreciated beauty but he was in general one of the most faithful men (romantically) I have ever known — and we knew each other (even all stayed in the same house from time to time) for 15 years as a close FRIEND.

    BTW the dedication on „Where Angels Fear to Tread“ is to Harriet Berle, Susan’s mother, I am pretty sure. Another dedication on the same album is to Willy’s stepbrother, and also there is one to Catherine Mercier, my sister, who died in 1981. She and Susan (and my other sister) did all go to Windsor Mountain, a progressive prep school in the Berkshires, but Susan did not meet Willy through me — they met in Stamford when they were both kids.

    They were apart while she was away at school, etc. and as I mentioned above, Willy did have a different girlfriend when I met him but when he and Susan reconnected they were inseparable from then on, and had a great marriage and a true family. I’m sure he also had a great love with Nina, to the end and I am glad she was with him as he passed. Sean was also there with Willy in his last moments and I am quite sure there was great love in that room.

    Neither Sean nor Willy would appreciate the horrible, hurtful and mean-spirited comments about Susan („Toots“) made here. Yes, she was one of the very first people (the first person I knew) to get piercings, WAY before they were fashionable (by like, 15 or 20 years). She was a true original, a genius, she loved Willy (she called him „Will“) and he loved her. She was certainly vigilant, because the biz is full of poseurs and because women DID hit on him.

    But he never dogged around and never cheated the entire time I knew him (even though other guys in our crowd, did). Some of these women (ahem) wouldn’t take no for an answer but that doesn’t mean, my dear, you were or ever would have been his „true love“ just because you had an attraction to him yourself. When someone is kind to you, a fan, or even admires your beauty, that does not mean he was „meant“ for you or that you have the right to say horrible things about the wife HE CHOSE.

    I assure you, he was definitely into her as much as vice-versa. And as Dominick, who was also there, knows, the truth IS complicated but oversimplifying it just to put her down serves no point. PLEASE THINK OF SEAN BEFORE YOU WRITE THIS HURTFUL GARBAGE ABOUT HIS MOTHER. She adored him, and Willy, and they were a true family. He did not „run out on“ them, things wound down as they sometimes do in young marriages. Sean is alive and may well come upon this blog if he hasn’t already.

    I am very happy Willy’s music and his genius live on, and I’m sure Sean is too, for what that’s worth, but this voyeuristic and cruel commentary is abhorrent to me, and truly pointless. If you want to know about Willy, it’s all there in the songs.

  349. Carol permalink
    7. Januar 2010 9:02 pm

    …but he needs both his arms: one for Mrs.de Ville no.1 and the other for Mrs.de Ville no.2…what will he do later with Mrs.de Ville no.3 ???
    What a nice picture from a young and innocent(-looking)Willy on your homepage,Mandy!And what a cruel information about Susans‘ later disease – if she really suffered lupus,she had the hell on earth.This blog is really a mosaic or a puzzle;fascinating.It’s not easy,to make a difference between that so-called „trashing“ and the facts.

  350. tina permalink
    7. Januar 2010 10:11 pm

    A thank you also from me Mandy Mercier. I „discovered“ Willy and his music when I was 16 years old, saw him many many times in concert, never met him personally though, but the picture you paint of him is exactly how I always imagined him to be, and that is great !

  351. joanne permalink
    7. Januar 2010 10:14 pm

    Mandy, I’m just curious. Did you perform with Willy in recent years? I saw some vids of you on YouTube, you have an awesome voice.

  352. Eiré Cailin permalink
    7. Januar 2010 10:25 pm

    It’s nice to know Willy was no hound dog…happy for the clarification, especially that he did not run out on his wife and son. Hard to know what is true and what is not sometimes especially when some of the misinformation comes from interviews that Willy did. Thank you again Mandy and let us show due respect for those who have passed on and those that are still here.



  353. 7. Januar 2010 10:27 pm

    Thanks, Eire‘ — beautiful picture. Why (still) the other mean comments I wonder? Many of us have more than one relationship in our lives, certainly artists do — and „Toots“ (Susan) and „Willy“ (Billy) were both true artists who created a great creative project (Mink DeVille; again Susan named the band and gave Willy his new name); and they were very much in love for many, many, many, many years. BTW I am pretty sure the „Billy Borsey Jr.“ dedication on the first Mink DeVille album was meant for Sean, since it was right next to Susan’s name under „Soul and Inspiration“ and they had just gotten married (not too long ago), then were so happy when he got his record deal (again, I was hanging out with them at the time and Sean was a toddler). I always was pretty sure that reference was meant to „claim“ Sean as his true son, which he (Sean) remained throughout Willy’s life — no matter whom he was married to. Enough said, I hope. Again, all due respect to Nina, and to Sean, who were with him in his last moments, and to Susan, RIP (I was told her illness was lupus, by one friend, then I have heard elsewhere, a form of cancer; I do know she suffered greatly before her death, and that yes, she also went „straight“). She did not get Willy „into“ anything, everyone back then did stuff and if they survived, eventually had to stop. Sadly they are now beyond anyone’s criticism although I hope not beyond our love. Oh, finally Susan was anything but „white trash“ (what a horrible expression anyway). She was extremely literate, went to an excellent prep school, came from a very well-to-do family and she was the one in love with the music of Edith Piaf, and turned Willy on to it, not vice versa. I wasn’t going to write on this blog since my memories are personal and precious. But I felt compelled to clear up some of the ugly things said about „Toots“ (Susan) she was my friend, and she certainly never acted hostile to ME. Maybe because I wasn’t hitting on her husband!!! They were both my friends, and my boyfriend back then, Richard, was Willy’s best friend throughout his life. If you’d like to see a picture of how Willy looked before Susan created the „Mink DeVille“ concept there’s one on my website taken by Linda Nafey, Richard’s first wife. We are all still friends. Peace to everyone. Again before you write something ugly, please think of SEAN

  354. Eiré Cailin permalink
    7. Januar 2010 10:44 pm


    Well that last post pretty much made me well up and want to bawl at my desk. Thank you for setting the record straight and standing up for your friends. I can only imagine that Susan/Toots was some kind of hot, hot, hotness and there were probably more than a few men that gave her the eye too! Let’s face it, even now if she and Willy walked down a street she would probably be the one that would garner more attention. I love the fact that she was chic, smart and strong and wasn’t gonna let any bimbo mess with her man. God, I hope there is a big old heaven place when we all die…I can’t wait to meet her.

    Best to all….

  355. 8. Januar 2010 7:08 am

    Thanks very much to everyone for your kind words. I won’t continue posting here because I’ve said what I have to say, I am pretty sure. Please show mercy and consider there may be more to any story — our own, other peoples‘, certainly mine!! But yes, Willy was a kind, loving and romantic man, with great loyalty and a ton of class. Susan („Toots“) was a genius and a sweetheart. Sean was beloved by each of them and I am glad to hear (from a friend who actually knows what has happened in the last year or so), that he (Sean) is being treated with compassion and love by Nina. Peace to all.

  356. 8. Januar 2010 4:11 pm


    Thank you again and I do hope if someone does in fact write a book they contact you as a reference. We should all remember that Sean has lost both of his parents and although he may be a grown man he has feelings and memories that are no doubt very precious to him. The fact that you could give testament to the character of both Willy and Susan is important and most appreciated. Most of us were not there and did not know either of them and need to be cautious not to get led down a path of misinformation and speculation. If anyone has any fantasies it is best to keep them to yourself and in your own head and let the truth be what is remembered.

    Health and happiness to all.

  357. Tammi permalink
    8. Januar 2010 9:00 pm

    Dear Mandy Mercier, thank you! It is wonderfull, how you stay by your friends and give them a voice! I realy hope,that your call for more fairness and human kindness will be heared and accepted!

    Dear Marianne, please be so kind and tell us, where and at which time this event will be happend, perhaps i can make a little holyday vacation!

  358. Tina permalink
    8. Januar 2010 9:07 pm

    Hallo Tammi,

    Ich werfe mich mal eben dazwischen, hier is der link. Ich glaube da sind noch Karten.


    Saluti, Tina.

  359. linda permalink
    8. Januar 2010 9:54 pm

    Thanks Mandy for writing everything I would have posted on this blog, particularly your last post. I ran across the digiom piece while researching some stuff to send to Richard Marcus for his book. I knew Willy and Susan since we were all 15-16 yrs. old. I loved them both. We (me, my husband Richard Nafey, Susan, Willy, & 3 other members of our band) lived together, I was the maid of honor at their wedding in the house we lived in, yes, Sean was born before they were married, and we all – Toots, Willy, Richard – stayed in touch throughout our lives. As Mandy said, Toots was smart, funny, loyal, protective not just of Willy, but of her friends. And gutsy – in the late 90s, she called me from the East Coast to let me know she was hitchiking out to the West Coast with her cat, Chi-Chi, and would be stopping by. Never a dull moment around Toots. She influenced Willy’s style a lot. Susan was not pretty, but she was beautiful; she had a presence that could not be ignored. And the style – migod. Amy Winehouse should give Susan credit for her entire persona. And this was Toots in 1965 – when a nosering could get you arrested in certain parts of the country. There was a lot of love between Willy and Susan for a very very long time, and much love for Sean. I haven’t seen Sean since he was about 6-7, but he was a happy kid, very creative, I still have pictures he drew for me. And Willy – such a romantic – loyal, funny, and sweet, and would do anything for his close friends. He wasn’t the ’screw around‘ type. One love at a time, with love remaining for past loves. Willy and Susan were not just my friends, they were family, and I also would like to say ‚think of Sean and Nina before you post‘ – truth, not speculation or fantasy, please. Thanks, also, Dominick for your posts. So glad you were there for him in August (and throughout). Though I haven’t met Nina, I know Willy loved her very much, and wish her all the happiness she can find now that he’s gone. But he’s not really gone, and neither is Toots. They live on in his music, and in our hearts. This will be my only post. Namaste.

  360. Tina permalink
    9. Januar 2010 9:43 pm

    Thank you also, Linda Nafey, for your post ! How wonderful to hear the truth from Willy’s friends. I love the image of Toots, this tiny, „little girl“, nevertheless intelligent, funny, a real personality. I think she and Willy looked great together.

    I hope you have some more great pictures of Willy or Toots (like the one on Mandy Mercier’s website) and will pass them on to Richard Marcus to be published in his book !

    Take care.

  361. csk permalink
    10. Januar 2010 9:32 am

    Isn’t it wonderful that this page never gets bored, or cheap or mean, always someone there to put things in the right place and make the memory richer.

    I easily believe that the „French idea“ comes from Toots – she must have been fascinated by the bohemian characters living there at the time in all expressions of art, not only Piaf, very excentric scene

  362. Crissie permalink
    10. Januar 2010 5:36 pm

    Dear Mandy,
    thanks a lot for clearing up many things about Susan/Toots and her husband and for sharing your memories. I am sure you have had a very true and human friendship with both of them for many many years. The picture I have from Toots is getting clearer and clearer and I think she was a wonderful, strong and unique person and a wonderful mother for her son Sean.
    But in every blog/fanclub i.e. you will find some people with neurotic thoughts. Its a shame but a reality too – forget about them and dont let them hurt your feelings or your memories.
    (English is not my native language, but I hope you understand what I am trying to say…)
    All the best for you

  363. Tammi permalink
    10. Januar 2010 6:58 pm

    Ciao Tina,thanks for the link! I think it will be nice that evening!

    Hi Crissie! You are right, I also feel that way and I think a lot of Willys Fans too!

  364. 10. Januar 2010 7:37 pm

    Can only second the previous posters – thank you, Mandy, thank yo, Linda, for stopping by and sharing your memories. And, LInda, even though you wrote this would be your only post: It would be delightful to learn more about the progress of Richard Marcus‘ book, so if you hear of any news as it develops, please let us know about it!

  365. Carol permalink
    10. Januar 2010 8:11 pm

    I’m a little bit late to answer a post of „mari“/31.12.09 (last year…)Why didn’t you tell us,that you’d left an obituary (W.d.V.+“Toots“) on your „my-space-„site ?No new facts – but very personally,thank you!I really can understand your feelings,when you say „oh boy,do I feel old“: we are talking about history…Try to get a dvd like „Berlin concerts“,if you want to see/hear that „mellow Willy“-good luck!

  366. Tina permalink
    17. Januar 2010 2:32 pm

    Tammi, latest news is that on the 27th of february in Holland (memorial concert for Willy), Boris Kinberg, Willy’s percussionist, will also be present, as well as guitarist Freddy Koella (if his schedule allows it).

    David Keyes isn’t fit to fly yet but will be talking to us via Skype on a big screen.

    Ciao, Tina.

  367. Tammi permalink
    17. Januar 2010 6:23 pm

    Hi Tina! Great news on a rainy sunday, thanks a lot! Do you know, what is with David? I heard at another place that he is falling ill. I hope,that he will feel better soon! I wish you a nice sundayevening and a good start into the new week, also anyone who is interested in this theme! Unfortunately it was very still this week.
    A bientot, Tammi

  368. Tina permalink
    17. Januar 2010 7:44 pm

    Hi Tammi, from what I heard David had a rare form of cancer, I believe this was in 2007. He received treatment and it seems the cancer is gone now.
    I also hope he’s well now. Not only is he a great bassplayer but those who met him told me he is also a very kind, friendly person.

    Hope you have a nice evening too. Take care, Tina.

  369. Carol permalink
    18. Januar 2010 4:30 pm

    @all: did you see the new site? „Willy de Ville social network“ ???Unfortunately I’m not able,to copy the adress into this post,but I think,you’ll find it with the combination of words.Until now it’s not too busy,but they’ll need some folks more to make it….

  370. Crissie permalink
    18. Januar 2010 8:00 pm

    @all: here is the adress of the new willy deville social network site


  371. Carol permalink
    18. Januar 2010 8:12 pm

    Thank you,Crissie – I hope,that I’ll learn it by myself by time…It’s a shame,maybe I’ll need some more time.

  372. csk permalink
    22. Januar 2010 4:55 pm

    @all – very sophisticated the new site (willy de ville social etc…) I am so used to

  373. Carol permalink
    22. Januar 2010 10:02 pm

    ….but „ours“ is so unfortunately silent last time,isn’t it?Why?All done,written,said?I don’t hope so…

  374. Marianne permalink
    24. Januar 2010 12:25 am

    In this video Willy’s three wives!

    At the end Willy’s and Lisa’s wedding?

  375. 24. Januar 2010 10:45 am

    Hi to all of you, here is another youtube video with the 3 „Mrs. DeVille’s“ and some rare photos

  376. 24. Januar 2010 10:46 am

    sorry ….

    I’ll try again ..

  377. ljs permalink
    24. Januar 2010 4:40 pm

    Hi Marianne,

    Are you referring to the photo with Willy and Lisa in formal dress on a red carpet? That’s not their wedding, that’s the Academy Awards. I didn’t see any photos of Nina in this video, did you? Love the photos of Toots though. Does anyone know how tall Willy was? He looks very tall in some photos and then in others not so much.

  378. Carol permalink
    24. Januar 2010 5:50 pm

    Thanks @ „Crissie“ and „Marianne“ (and „aarboh“…)thanks for the nice pic of W.d.V. and Joschka Fischer;I guess,that it must be from the background of the movie „Va Banque“ from 1986 – both of them acted in this movie.Two men with a past…

    @“ljs“: Nina’s appearing at the beginning and the end (the repeated pics).And: I think,his height was about 1,8o(or a little bit more) – when I saw him on stage,he looked like that

  379. Tammi permalink
    24. Januar 2010 7:24 pm

    Hi folks, nice to see you again and thanks for the great pictures!

    Hi Tina, i forget to ask you, if you are at Hellendoorn for the Memorial-Day? Do you like to meet me there, let me know!

    Greetings from the Eifel, Tammi

  380. csk permalink
    24. Januar 2010 8:12 pm

    @all – also thanks for the pics – sad to see Willy seeming very ill already… the eyes … the look in the eyes, they say it all – live has been lived… the game is coming to an end –
    Like a yesterday’s party – Nina and the smoke, the two of them looking very weak and frail … the glory had left them – at least on the photos… all my love to her.

    Willy, who seemed strong enough to eat up the world… too proud to for any bad illness, above it all on the height of drugs and outraged talent…

  381. 24. Januar 2010 9:08 pm

    coming back to toots – I think we need to make some collages of toots and amy winehouse, to get her some of the recognition she deserves, and to show how rad she was (while poor wino meanwhile got a boob job and is apparently think of a butt job too).

  382. 25. Januar 2010 3:55 am

    Has anyone seen the photo of Willy on this website where he has bangs? Not one of his better looks. Someone changed the willy deville social network site so that we have to sign in and give a lot of personal information. Since this is officially a „Toots“ blog, is there anyone that can start a „Willy“ blog that similar to this one where we can talk and not have to turn over our personal info to everyone?

  383. 25. Januar 2010 4:35 am

    Sorry, I tried to put the willy deville social network site URL in but it didn’t work. That is the website I was referring to in regards to willy’s pic.

  384. 25. Januar 2010 8:31 am

    Just a Fan: Was it the general URL to http://willydeville.ning.com? You pasted that one in the „Website“ field, if one clicks on your name, one get’s there. If you want it to appear in the message text, you need to paste it in the message field.

  385. Marianne permalink
    26. Januar 2010 2:10 am

    Sean and Kevin at uncle Willy’s funeral.

  386. Marianne permalink
    26. Januar 2010 2:13 am

  387. 26. Januar 2010 2:46 am

    Please let it be known that:

    1) Sean is one of the sweetest, kindest, funniest, most generous people you will ever meet in your life.

    2) Kevin actually was a male model and does some acting from time to time. Never met a bigger-hearted individual with that high of an IQ! I am amazed at how much of Willy I see in him and in Marlene.

    3) Nina is very smart, savvy, and gave me some very poignant advice at just the right time in my life.

    4) I have heard nothing but the very best about Willy’s women from their friends and family. Mandy, thank you so very much for putting things back in their proper perspective–I would love to meet you!

    5) I met Willy’s sister (Mimi) at his memorial and she was absolutely angelic. I cannot understand how anyone could post something so bitter and nasty about this delightful woman.

  388. 26. Januar 2010 9:12 am

    Life is what we make it, while we are all still alive. God bless ‚em, Toots and Willy both died in the past decade. Crossing my heart. My son lives and plays like the devil (Angels cost extra).

    Just don’t know. People keep on making a mighty loud sound. Why the fuck not?

    Toots would approve, no doubt.
    Willy, Toots, Sean…Vaya con Dios, mi amigos.
    Over and out.

  389. 27. Januar 2010 12:21 am

    I thought Willy was the one who claimed the Puma Indian & French heritage?

  390. ANOTHERGUEST permalink
    27. Januar 2010 9:17 am

    Willy DeVille was born as William Borsey in Stamford, Connecticut (he took the name Willy DeVille in 1974). His maternal grandmother was a Pequot, and he was also of Basque and Irish descent.

  391. Carol permalink
    29. Januar 2010 4:16 pm

    So what???Do you have any source?(It’s not meaned that „Borsay-thing“,that’s well-known…)but the descent of W.d.V.?Did you see something like a family-tree?Or did you hear that too by an interview?Thanks a lot –

  392. ANOTHERGUEST permalink
    29. Januar 2010 5:38 pm

    Source: interview.

    Carol if you want to know something for sure you should try and ask on the new Willy Deville forum, link above.

    Kevin Obrien’s (willy’s nephew) girlfriend Stephanie Crow is also a member. She should know.

    I can’t get used to the new forum, sorry, don’t know what it is, too busy, too much info, guess i’m getting old.

  393. Carol permalink
    29. Januar 2010 9:39 pm

    @: „anotherguest“ – Thanks for the information,I had a speech with Ms.Crow,but not about this…I think,that’s the interview,he told about these grandma,who was weeping by beating him?With a look on northamerican history: everyone (except native Americans and Afro-Americans) MUST descend from any European nation – if Russian,Polish,Jewish,German,Dutch and so on…
    Hey,try it with that new forum: you can’t be older than me,you can’t!I think,it’s a bit of confusion on this forum,because it’s new: give them a little bit of time(and yourself too…),and it will work,I’m sure.Look at „Just a fan“: she joined it ,although she was hesitating!Keep cool – nowadays nobody gets too old for anything (Can be discussed,I know)

  394. ljs permalink
    4. Februar 2010 11:09 pm

    Couple of cool Willy photos:



  395. 5. Februar 2010 9:39 am

    oops – ended up in the spam queue, retrieved it (spammers always post links, that’s why).

  396. guesst permalink
    5. Februar 2010 1:54 pm

    Yummy !!

  397. Megan permalink
    9. Februar 2010 2:50 pm

    Hi everybody,

    I would just like to say something in response to what Gail said in November.
    Willy was very close to his sister Mimi and would be very unimpressed to read what you wrote Gail.
    You have added nothing but highly offensive comments on this site. I was close to Willy and he would talk about his mother all the time about how much he loved and missed her.
    Eddie passed away in March 2008 and would also be highly offended by what you have said.
    I know this information because those kids that came to Florida, I was one of them. I always thought your father was a delightful man. I loved my grandmother, Marion very much and cannot believe you wrote comments on an internet site when you clearly don’t know these people. You spoke to Willy on the phone, loved Eddie yet you’re happy to post vicious rumors about their loved ones on the internet. My mom is the kindest woman I have ever met. She has raised a great family and she cared for Marion until the end. Willy was always grateful for that.
    And as for Sean, you couldn’t find a nicer guy. I am proud to have these people as my blood and family.

  398. Eire Cailin permalink
    15. Februar 2010 11:33 pm

    French TV of Willy and Toots from 1982

  399. Amish Barbie permalink
    17. Februar 2010 1:46 am

    YAAAY Megan! So glad to see you setting the record straight as well. I can’t wait to come to Australia and hang out with you and your awesome folks! 🙂 xoxo

  400. longtimefanofWilly. permalink
    17. Februar 2010 12:25 pm

    I agree. To read all these lies about your family must have really pissed you off.
    Well, you have every reason to be proud. I wish I could say Willy Deville was my uncle !

    @Eire. That was a great vid !, also part II.
    Toots looks so old ! She must have been 32 in 1982, she looks much older. Maybe it’s the heavy make-up or the drugs. Anyway, great to see Willy and her together.

  401. 17. Februar 2010 7:42 pm

    @eire: toots and willy together – and both of them alive! thank you so much for this wonderful video!
    a big hug for posting this!!!

  402. Eire Cailin permalink
    17. Februar 2010 8:39 pm

    Another one…

  403. longtimefanofWilly. permalink
    18. Februar 2010 9:46 am

    I think you mean this one. Part II.

  404. 18. Februar 2010 7:31 pm

    @ eire: you’re great!!! thanx a lot

  405. Eire Cailin permalink
    19. Februar 2010 1:36 am

    From the book Iggy Open up and Bleed by Paul Trykna…
    Page 196…
    „Jim had resumed his wanderings, sleeping outside or with one of the many LA women who wanted to nurse a down-and-out rock star. One promising venue was the Park Sunset Plaza, just opposite the Coronet, which was a favored place for Hollywood’s wealthy businessmen to install their mistresses. Naturally, the women had a lot of spare time on their hands. Even more incongruously, by now Jim had an established hideaway in the shape of a huge beachfront property in La Jolla, near Sand Diego. Mike Page, a San Diego musician, had brought his girlfriend Lisa Leggett toLA for some clothes-shopping on Melrose, and a mutual friend offered to introduce them to Iggy, who was crashing on his couch. Within a few minutes of their meeting, as Mike visited the bathroom, Lisa had invited Jim to come and stay at her parents‘ home in San Diego. Somehow, Jim sensed this was no ordinary property, and he was soon a regular visitor to the Leggetts‘ house, which had been built by the hotelier Earl Gagosian, founder of the the Royal Inns chains; the place was crass and tasteless and looked like an overgrown Ramada Inn. Mike Page would have long, earnest discussions about blues music with the impoverished but charming Osterberg; only later did he realize that during her visits to LA, Lisa was inviting Iggy to stay in their suite at the Chateau Marmont, where he would drink Dom Pérignon and order Lisa around like a flunky. „When my friends told me he was getting it on with Lisa, and that he was treating her like shit, it broke my heart,“ says Page, although he adds, „it’s possible Jim didn’t know we’d been an item for a long time.“

    Page 197…“Jim was to proud to call Bowie for help, and instead he fled to San Diego, where Lisa Leggett, eager to help him go on his feet, funded a three-day $600 „Success and Reinvention“ motivational course…“

    Notes and Sources page 346 „Lisa Leggett, according to Mike Page, subsequently married Willy DeVille…“

  406. longtimefanofWilly. permalink
    19. Februar 2010 6:08 pm

    This is highly interesting Eire. Finally some background info on Lisa. So she and Iggy Pop were an item and she cheated on her boyfriend Mike Page ?

  407. Eire Cailin permalink
    19. Februar 2010 7:16 pm

    According to the book…that’s the way it reads. Mike Page went on to play with Iggy Pop for a few years. You can google him…Mike Page San Diego musician…

  408. longtimefanofWilly. permalink
    19. Februar 2010 10:00 pm

    Lisa’s father ?:

    Leggett, Charles E., c.1921- , U.S., theft-tax evas. A notorious criminal, Charles Leggett, embarrassed the U.S. Justice Department after becoming one of the government’s star informants. Leggett began his criminal career in the 1930s. He was convicted of interstate transportation of stolen cars and sentenced in 1959 to one year in prison. Later, he was convicted and sentenced in 1962 to eighteen months in prison for wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property. Leggett was convicted again in 1971 and sentenced to eighteen months for charges of tax evasion. He was released after serving only two months of his term, however, and he became an informer for the U.S. Justice Department’s Organized Crime Strike Force in Chicago. He proved very effective, helping to regain about $11 million in stolen Treasury securities, bonds, and stocks.

    In May 1973, Leggett turned on the government. He asked for a large sum of money so he could pose as a rich prospective buyer of stolen securities. The FBI and the strike force secured a fake, nonnegotiable certificate of deposit (CD) for $1.75 million from Continental Illinois National Bank. The strike force assumed responsibility if the CD was negotiated. It was, and the government was held liable for the actions of the wily Leggett. He first bought a thirty-five room mansion in La Jolla, Calif., from Earl Gagosian. Under the contract terms, Leggett was to pay $1.8 million for the property, with a $704,000 down payment. Using the La Jolla real estate and the fake CD as collateral, the crook negotiated a $1.5 million loan from Baltimore Federal Savings & Loan Association in Maryland. He paid the down payment on the estate and kept the rest of the money. Gagosian did not receive the final settlement, and in August 1974, Leggett defaulted on the Maryland bank loan and Continental would not redeem the fake CD. The savings and loan, Gagosian, and a California title company all sued the government and Continental.

    In October 1976, Leggett was convicted of grand theft for stealing money from Baltimore Federal Savings & Loan Association. He was sentenced from one to ten years in San Quentin. The mansion was repossessed and sold, although the bank had difficulty evicting Leggett’s wife and daughter. In a proposed settlement, Continental Illinois was to put up $200,000, paying $75,000 to the Maryland bank and $125,000 to Gagosian, and the government was to pay $600,000, including $225,000 to the Maryland bank, and $375,000 to Gagosian.

  409. Jenny permalink
    20. Februar 2010 1:50 pm

    This used to be the Gagosian Mansion which Charles Leggett bought. The original house is gone though.


  410. Carol permalink
    20. Februar 2010 2:38 pm

    @“Eire Cailin“ Thanks for that tip!For readers in German language:

    Trynka,Paul,“Iggy Pop“ Rogner&Bernhardt („2oo1“?) 2oo8 euro 29,9o

    Seems to be worth the money….

  411. guest permalink
    22. Februar 2010 12:54 pm

    Well, it seems that Lisa is just as interesting as Toots ! Love all these posts.

    By the way, I think Toots looks very Jewish in those vids. She also resembles Edith Piaf, maybe she wanted to look like her; Check out the eyebrows. Love her coat !

  412. anotherguest permalink
    22. Februar 2010 12:57 pm


    Picture of Lisa’s father ? She has his nose.

  413. 25. Februar 2010 8:11 am

    i lived with willy and susan in stamford along with robert mac kenzie (fast floyd) who was also my boyfriend for 3 years and i was the lead singer in fast floyd

    i am researching my current book which is about this period of my life

    sean was not willie’s son, and anyone who knew them well knows that

    susan’s last name was berle, she was jewish

    susan was a miserable woman in every imaginable way…we were all waiting for willie to dump her and were surprised it took so long

    susan had borderline personality, as did nancy spungen

    i have no agenda, i got out of that insane, very nasty and venal world when i was 24 because these people were not even people…they were animals

    you may reach me at clieff1@aol.com

    if you care for more authoritative details about this

  414. 25. Februar 2010 12:43 pm

    Just wanted to say – people, be nice. Carol, what ever drives you to have your say about people you claim to have been friends with and call them animals and miserable people: go ahead, it’s your karma. just don’t expect to find many friends on this thread, as this thread is dedicated to gathering information, and not to obstructing our view by prejudice and bias.

  415. 25. Februar 2010 1:13 pm

    As an old Fan of Willy DeVille, thanks a lot to everybody, telling storys of the background of him and his wifes!

    Thanks for the Videos! I`ll not be able to go to the Memorial-Night, on February 26th!!! But I hope, there will be another Event, I can attend!!!

  416. Guest permalink
    25. Februar 2010 4:49 pm

    Here’s a vid of Fast Floyd.

    I just hope Willy’s not included in the „animalclassification“.

  417. Justa Fan permalink
    25. Februar 2010 6:08 pm

    @ digiom: If this thread is dedicated to gathering information, then you should be open to ALL information–the good, the bad, and yes, the ugly.(As long as it is truthful).

  418. alsofan permalink
    25. Februar 2010 6:38 pm

    That’s right. Carol was there, this was obviously her personal experience at that time.

    An experience very different although from the ones Mandy Mercier and Linda Nafey describe.

  419. 25. Februar 2010 6:45 pm

    You may ascribe whichever motives to my remarks as you see fit. I lived with McKenzie, who, in fact, lived under the assumed name of Robin Corey, and who before me, lived with a woman from Brooklyn in San Rafael CA, by the name of Rhonda Moskowitz. Floyd (aka Mc Kenzie) dug up a fake birth certificate in the library by finding the dead babies file and that’s how he established a second identity. When I tried to leave him, he locked me into a small apartment, and then put a gun in my mouth and said we were going to do a double-homicide-suicide „like Sid and Nancy.“ The first time I tried to leave, he held a straight-edge razor 1/4 inch from my face for an hour and a half, threatening to slice my face open. After I left, he took up with a very pretty girl named Eva Marie Tuffanelli, whose father Dennis, was, and is, a well-respected dermatological surgeon in SF. The next time I saw Eva, Robert had slashed a 4-inch scar down her right cheek with a broken beer bottle. I assume she still has it. You might want to check in with Eva to find out a little more about this swell crowd. Willie and Robbie were thick as theives. Robert broke into the loft I shared with The Mutants at Third and Folsom in SF and threatened to kill me again, and just then Vicki Schrott who also lived with us, walked in and he split, until he stalked me all the way to NYC. I met McKenzie at a party at my friend Mark Dunwoody’s. Mark played with the Flamin‘ Groovies, and another band called Kid Courage in San Francisco. At the time, Mark and Larry Ogden, who was also in Kid Courage, lived across the hall from me on Presidio Street in Pacific Heights. So yes, you’re probably right. I’m making all this up. I didn’t know Reuben or Manfred or Susan (who, since you’re so fascinated with these people, was never called „Toots“ by Willie in private….and did not start serious implementation of her new moniker until much later. The reason Willie stayed so long with a singularly unattractive woman, was because her unhip, suburban father paid all their bills. This is why Susan got away with all her Borderline Personality nonsense, killing any chance that all but the most devoted would go anywhere near Susan, and thus Willie, so she really destroyed him in some ways. There is a striking coincidence in the timing of his ditching Susan and his starting to make a little money, so he didn’t need Mr. Berle anymore. Were they sad misfits? Yes. But they were also adults, raising a little boy who watched a houseful of adults shooting drugs around the clock, myself included. I could write a whole book about these people, but in my current project, they are only getting two chapters.

  420. Yodel permalink
    25. Februar 2010 8:14 pm

    Robert McKenzie (aka Fast Floyd) was indeed a bad guy and extremely violent. In May 1993, Floyd shot and killed his pregnant girlfriend in San Francisco and then turned the gun on himself. He was facing a life sentence in prison on drug and weapons charges. His girlfriend, he believed, and ratted him to the police.

  421. Yodel permalink
    25. Februar 2010 8:17 pm

    Robert McKenzie (aka Fast Floyd) was indeed a bad guy and extremely violent. In May 1993, Floyd shot and killed his pregnant girlfriend in San Francisco and then turned the gun on himself. He was facing a life sentence in prison on drug and weapons charges. His girlfriend, he believed, had ratted him to the police.

  422. alsofan permalink
    25. Februar 2010 8:29 pm

    He sounds like a monster.

    Carol is your book about the connecticut music scene ? When is it coming out ?

    Two chapters isn’t enough, it’s fascinating.

  423. Eire Cailin permalink
    25. Februar 2010 9:21 pm

    „There is a striking coincidence in the timing of his ditching Susan and his starting to make a little money, so he didn’t need Mr. Berle anymore.“

    This doesn’t say a whole lot for Willy’s character now does it? He was just using Susan and her father?

    Interesting that your experience is so vastly different from what Mandy and Linda had to say. Wonder what they would have to say about you?

    So classy of you to disrespect both Willy and Susan in a forum that their son might read, never paying attention to the fact that others have asked for that exact thing not to happen.

  424. Justa Fan permalink
    25. Februar 2010 10:09 pm

    The truth isn’t always pretty, nor should it always be sugar-coated just because other people want it to be that way.

  425. Eire Cailin permalink
    25. Februar 2010 10:16 pm

    Point well taken…but, how do we know who is telling the truth then? Who do we believe? Dominic, Mandy and Linda or Carol?

  426. Justa Fan permalink
    25. Februar 2010 10:25 pm

    I think they all have their own stories to tell. I don’t think they are trying to disrespect anyone. They all have their own take on the situation. What I don’t like is when people get on here and tell others what they can or can’t say just because they are trying to protect someone’s memory or spare someone’s feelings. If this blog is truly trying to find out information, then no one should be censored.

  427. Exactly permalink
    25. Februar 2010 10:49 pm

    Exactly, Eire you yourself were also speculating about Willy’s supposed „cheating behaviour“ in your earlier posts, while we learned from Mandy that he was utterly faithful.

  428. Eire Cailin permalink
    25. Februar 2010 10:57 pm

    But…how do we determine what is true? Maybe Carol too had some interest in Willy that was being thwarted by Susan? Did Susan have some kind of personality disorder? Is Carol a physician who can make such a diagnosis? Maybe Carol was the one with issues…after all she hooked up with a nutter boyfriend and lived with him for 3 years. Because of the way her posts were written (a little venomous) in contrast with the way that Dominic, Mandy and Linda wrote theirs I would tend to believe the latter. As far as I can tell no one has been censored, just questioned about their intentions. And, excuse me but I think the remaining family members do deserve some respect as well as the dead.

  429. Eire Cailin permalink
    25. Februar 2010 11:01 pm

    So it’s okay to take Mandy’s word that Willy was perfect but not that Susan was a good friend, mother and wife? How is that fair? And, I am glad to believe Willy was not runaround jerk.

  430. Justa Fan permalink
    25. Februar 2010 11:15 pm

    My point exactly–people will believe what they want to anyway, so why not let people who were there speak about what they saw or give their perspective. I don’t think Carol has any motive whatsoever. And just because a person has died, does this mean that no one on this site can ever say anything negative about them, even if it is the truth? This isn’t a fan website!

  431. 26. Februar 2010 1:01 am

    I went back to the university, got my English Literature degree, amongst others, and became an economist and somewhat well-known art dealer on the New York and international contemporary scene. I dare say you’d be hard-pressed to find any major comtemporary art dealer in Manhattan who doesn’t know who I am. Carol Leigh is a pseudonym. I am well-known by my proper name (which you don’t know) as an analyst of the art business through my publishing concerns. So I really have no bones to pick…I find these people inordinately pathetic. Why I was with Robbie had a lot to do with things that you can read in my books. I was 19-23 when I was with him, so I’d hardly think my those long ago and niggardly few salts in the hour glass of my life says anything definitive about the ensuing 30 years and how I chose to live them, which is who I am now. Which is what matters. I feel I lead a charmed life, as few who were as entrenched as I made it out of Mink de Ville bedlam. I worked with Bill Graham, Jerry Pompeli, Clem Burke, Brendan Early, poor misunderstood Frankie Infante, Jerry Nolan, The Hooters, and many others before I got out of Dodge. I still have our original recordings, which are quite compelling. Oddly, when I was living in Tiburon and using limousines to go to LAX on business, one day they sent a new driver who looked very beaten, and old enough to be my father, but eerily familiar. It was Reuben. He was working for Corporate (or was it Executive?) Limousine in Marin County. My husband did not know that part of my life and I was petrified that Reuben (who was a very nice man) would inadvertently give me away. He recognized me instantly: „Wow! You’re still a babe!“ Yes, Reuben, because I got out of Borderline Personality Disorder-Land in time. So as you can tell, this is all complete fabrication.

  432. 26. Februar 2010 1:31 am

    And oh yes…..I bewail, whilst not pining away, to this very day of the calendar year 2010, for the affections of our sociopathic (for the curious amongst our ilk, this be shorthand for the cluster of character traits of the Pathologically Lying Parasitic, yet worthy of an entire six-page DSM III-Classification) lead singer of Mink de Ville. What a life I’d have had, if the Darling of Avenue C, no….The Adonis of Tompkins Park, had nary glanced my way! For the record, I was one of the few women intimates of that crowd, because for some reason Susan liked and trusted me. Far more than I can say of my feelings for her. She was more than a loose cannon and I was good at dissembling and staying out of the range of her Howser. In the beginning, before I understood, I was smitten with Robbie and quite certain it showed. I had no interest in Willie, other than the shared interest we all had in old rhythm & blues music. Please bear in mind, I lived with Susan, Willie, Robbie, Manfred, Reuben and Sean for quite a while. Susan Berle was a land mine…as soon as Willie could financially afford to get away from her, he did. ‚Nuff said.

  433. 26. Februar 2010 8:26 am

    @Carol If being „well-known by your proper name“ is so important to you, I am wondering why you are not giving it away here. Do you fear it might look back if you badmouthed people in public who are no longer? You might be right. And I am sorry that Susan „liked and trusted you“ – what if she knew what you’d say about her in public a few years later! And thanks for the name-dropping, wow, you really knew them all. Some people just can’t live without surrounding themselves with names.

    @Just a Fan This thread is perfectly open to anyone, as I am not deleting any comments even though some people have asked me to via mail and other channels, people who felt that this would be hurtful to Willy’s family. I am just tired (this being my blog) of people stopping by and unloading their grudges on Toots and/or Willy (because they probably cannot stand the fact that they didn’t manage to get laid with Willy), especially if they are mainly coming her to plug their book. I might close this thread eventually if this keeps happening.

    And no, unloading your grudge is not the same as offering information. Carol’s comments are obviously more about her and about reinstating that she’s „still a babe“, while Susan allegedly was „a landmine“. I don’t need people on this blog who mainly comment to make themselves look good.

  434. 26. Februar 2010 12:27 pm

    I do not give my name because I’m a legitimate business person and frankly, my previous association with these folks has little to do with anything in my life for the past 30 years. No one I know would even know who any of these people are. And I think of them rarely. The reason I think of it now, and looked on the web, was to jog my memory for a book I’m writing. I am hardly looking for publicity or to sell books. If I were, I would be shouting my name from the rafters. I’ve not given the names of my books, so how could I possibly be promoting anything? My books are not about Willie or Susan particularly, as far as Susan, she gets barely a mention, other than a line or two about her attire. The musicians I mentioned were all people with whom I sang or cut records. And I only mentioned them as my veracity was questioned. So I gave chapter and verse. I had no idea this was a website for a Fan Club, and had I known I’d have written nothing. My intent is not to hurt the feelings of those enamored and dedicated to preserving a myth about people they seem to love. I am in the truth business. And believe me, there is nothing anyone can tell Sean Borsey that he is not more than well aware of himself and in spades. Doc Pomus, with whom Willie worked, is writing a biography and is in need of historical data. And he is getting it from many sources. He is not a man who will make himself foolish by writing a puff-piece for a Fan Club. All of this will come out very soon, and I assure you that I am far from the only person who knows these facts. Doc will ask Reuben, Louis, and Manfred who are well aware of what went on, and are not married to any idea about preserving a myth about Susan and Willie. Reuben and Manfred were treated very badly. They got Willie where he was, and as soon as he got things going, he dumped them, just like he dumped Susan when he didn’t need her father’s money anymore. There is a pattern here, whether a pleasant revelation or to the contrary. So you think this man was a good man? He leaves a wake of tragedy and broken lives behind him. So you can be the first to know these things before Doc’s book comes out and then everyone will know…or not. I think your fans are very defensive about knowing the truth, and I’m not sure why that is.

  435. 26. Februar 2010 12:59 pm

    And one more thing…I never had the impression that Willie was a womanizer…there was always much speculation about whether he and Susan even had sex. Of course how many heroin addicts can you name who care about sex? Willie used women who had something he needed. I don’t think the man was capable of loving anyone….he certainly didn’t love or respect himself, so how could he love or respect anyone else? My impression was that he could take it or leave it. Robbie said they were like brother and sister, draw your own conclusion.

  436. 26. Februar 2010 1:27 pm

    Comments are now closed. I might open them at a later stage. I am not deleting anything, but I certainly do not need people who flood this thread with speculations which deliberately cross the line. I am leaving Carol’s comments here so that you can assess for yourself what kind of a needy and attention-seeking person such a flooder must be.

    EDIT: Sorry to the others who enjoyed this thread. You may thank Carol Leigh, who even lowers herself to speculating about other people’s sexual activities. How low can one sink. She gave you her email address in a previous post. It’s very easy to google and find out her real name.

    See also the beginning of this blog post for an explanation why I closed this thread.

    EDIT: Ha ha ha! One of you readers was so kind to point out to me that Doc Pomus – who according to Carol Leigh is writing a biography and gathering historical data, after which everything will come out – died in 1991. Oh yeah, that is how much she is in „the truth business“. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doc_Pomus


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