Wednesday, January 6, 2010

RICHIE DIENER - ACCORDING TO LIFE MAGAZINE

Life Magazine: May 5, 1972
George Richard "Richie" Diener
June 5, 1954 - February 27, 1972
Buried in Long Island Cemetery

East Meadow High School,
East Meadow, New York
Class of 1972
February 27, 2013:
the 41st anniversary of Richie Diener's murder.

Does anyone know the real name of "Sue Bernstein" in the article?



































































































































































                      




















 

100 comments:

  1. Hi,my name is Lenny. You might know me better by the name Brick.That was my name in the movie and book.If you knew Richie please let us know by leaving a message.

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  2. I remember Richie. I was living in Florida a few years later, when the movie was on TV and I couldn't believe it because I said, "Oh My God, I knew him". I remember all our friends were at the wake and it was absolutely horrible. It was a time in our lives when we were all partying, taking reds (downs), doing acid, smoking, etc. We saw nothing wrong with it at the time. But that was no reason for his father to shoot him. That's my honest opinion. I remember going there and we were all crying. It was such a tragedy.
    Carol

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  3. So, I don't understand. You say at the top of this page that the real story hasn't been told, but you have put nothing here but the Life Magazine story. Is there going to be something else here other than the magazine article or...? If there really *is* another side of the story, I'd be interested in reading it.

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    Replies
    1. I think the story that hasn't been told is what we all say.
      So here is my say.
      Robby Benson did one of American T.V's best acting performances ever.
      Thus taking a heart felt interest in George Richard Diener that otherwise would not happen at this magnitude.
      He did such a great job that to this day I remembered and did a search for the story.
      Robby Benson should receive some sort of award.
      George Richard Diener Jr. is remembered.

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  4. I know what really happened because I was with Richie 15 minutes before it happened. Richie was in no shape to hurt anybody.We had done a bunch of seconals and Richie could hardly walk, let alone hurt someone.I went back to pick him up and it was already done. Not even 15 minutes went by before the bastard killed him.If you want to know more, e-mail me at mrtattoo25@aol.com. I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have.

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  5. Lenny: Yes, I will E-mail you. Anxious to talk to you as I have been assaulted by Russell Diener as was his ex girlfriend (we are both under an order of protection) He's in jail for the 3rd time since I've accepted him into my home as a month to month tenant in Sept. He is completely in denial and out of his mind. I need information as he talks about the shooting death of his dad as if it was JUSTIFIED. NO ONE ON SECONALS IS A THREAT. RUSSELL TOLD ME IN A DRUNKEN STATE: "YOU KNOW MY DAD WAS A MARKS MAN W/ GUNS".. WHY THEN NOT SHOOT YOUR BROTHER IN THE LEG I ASK. RUSSELLS ANSWER: WELL I WAS MAD AT MY DAD FOR AWHILE BUT HE WAS JUST DEFENDING HIMSELF: AND WHEN I ASKED IF HE WAS EVER ABUSED BY THE DAD: HIS ANSWER: JUST BELT BUCKLES & WHIPPINGS. I WILL E-MAIL YOU BRICK AS I DON'T KNOW YOUR LAST NAME AND CAN'T FIND YOU. I LIVE IN THE NEXT TOWN.

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  6. To whoever wrote the last thing. My email address is mrtattoo25@aol.com If you have any questions just write. I'll be happy to answer.

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  7. Was there anything factual at all in the movie?

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  8. The whole movie is factual but it mostly came from Richies father. There were some real things in the movie but that is the stuff that me and my friends told the author of the book. If it sounds like bull s--t,it definitely came from his father.If you need to know more, e- mail me at mrtattoo25@aol.com I'd be happy to answer any questions.

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  9. According to another acquaintance of Richie's (his online handle was "Keeno"), Richie and Russell didn't even get along, and that Richie had beat his brother up a few times for "acting gay".
    I also have to wonder if the whole dance thing was B.S. If Richie hated his father so much by 1971, why would he let his dad help him sell raffle tickets for a car?

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  10. keeno was one of richies friends.he was really just an aquantance.He didnt know richie but only for drugs.Im not sure about the dance,but I know for sure that richies father wouldnt do anything like that. His father told most of the story.We told the author a lot of stuff about what we did together.Some is true and a lot is his fathers bulls--t.If you need to know more, my email adress is mrtattoo25@aol.com






















    i

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  11. stevenmonson@att,netJuly 13, 2010 at 8:22 PM

    wow ive kown about this story since the age of 13. im 46 now. it was once a english project for mr in 1979. the teache (mrs harris) made us write an essay about the movie. this story has effected me my whole life and probably thousands and thousands more. i can totally relate to this story. i was a heavy drug user in the late seventies to the late 90s. how is russell doin these days ? the father and mother are both dead i assume ? fascinating and sad. had i known richie im sure we would have been partners in crime. i almost killed my dad w an iron once over the same kinda shit richie went thru. very sad...however my dad stuck w me even thru that because he knew i would eventually grow up and outgrow the teen angst. his dad should have realized that too or he just used poor judgment. im sure this could have been avoided and richie could have grown up and understood. youth is wasted on the young this brings to mind.

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  12. I have read this book over 20 times since i got it in 1978(12 years old) and still find it a great book.Its hard to think that its been almost 40 years since this sad story came to an end.Hopefully,everyone who hung out with Richie is doing ok and Russell can find peace...

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  13. GEORGE DIENER, Richie's father, died April 1981 in East Meadow, NY, age 52

    CAROL DIENER, Richie's mother, died Nov 2000, in East Meadow, NY, age 67

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  14. rusell is still messded up bc of this being drunk and getting arrested brick u are a looser and honestly dont know how it really went down in the house so shut your mouth lets all pray for russ

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  15. Brick died over the past week. RIP Lenny

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  16. I am so saddened I never got to meet Lenny. RIP Lenny
    -Crispin

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  17. I'm Lenny's daughter Kristine. He was a very good man and I'll miss him with all my heart.

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  18. oh and to the "anonymous" who said what he said about my father--let's get something straight asshole...my dad never ever stopped thinking about or missing Richie. Not a day went by that he didn't talk about him. He did know what happened in that house. Plain and simple Richie's father shot him with intent to kill his son. If it were just simply out of self defense he couldnt have shot him in a place where he would have been wounded but not killed. You don't kill your child. End of story.

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  19. oh yeah and if you're going to try to insult someone...maybe you should correct your spelling, as to not look like such a "LOSER" yourself.

    -Kristine

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  20. Kristine,if your really his daughter,im sorry for your loss.I wrote your father a few months ago and was wondering why he didnt respond.I have read the book many times over the years and kind of thought "Brick" was a bad guy.But after reading some of the things posted here i realize he was a real person in the story,not just a character in a book.Hopefully he had a good life and things worked out.

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  21. He did have a good life. He was with my mother for 25 years and had me and my sister. I'm his youngest. He was never a bad guy. As a kid though he got himself into some not so great situations. He grew out of it though and became an amazing husband and father.
    -Kristine

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  22. They also potrayed my father in a more negative light in the book/movie.

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  23. I never got to meet "Brick" (Lenny) in person, but I would have liked to. I corresponded online with him for several years about this movie/book/ news article. The guy that I got to know was not the dangerous thug in these works of fiction based on real life. He was a good, kind, caring man who had made some mistakes in the past (who doesn't?) & turned his life around. He was a loving father to his 2 daughters, loving son to his parents, a loving brother to his siblings, loving husband to his wife, & a loving granddad to his grandchildren. Even though we only corresponded online, I felt like I knew him. I remember he always closed his emails out by saying "Take Care & Have a Great Day!" Lenny, you ARE sorely missed! RIP, my friend!

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  24. Dear Kristine Lancome,

    Please post your Dad's obituary, or send it to me at likeitwas4richie@gmail.com

    From our brief correspondence this year, I knew he was a decent man who was still sad about his friend's tragic death at the hands of his own father.

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  25. HI there Im Michelle, Lenny's other daughter.
    My dad was your average teen who got into the drug seen. My father tuned into a real awesome man, who after the marrage with my mom went on to meet his soul mate Tish and had my sister Kristine in 1986. Daddy was an awesome father to my sister and the best husband to my step mom.
    I had an awesome friendship with my dad and listened to all his stories of growing up in East Meadow. Daddy always talked about Richie and how it never should have happened.
    Richies dad was very embarassed by his sons illness and didn't do anything to get his son help. The courts had explained to him how drug/family counciling would help , yet the man never took that route. Instead the "great maks man" that he was, took a shot right into his sons chest. That was intent to kill and he walked away a free man! SICK!
    As for Richies brother Russel well his life isn't to good now. I have hung out with him Back in my drinking days and he was always getting into trouble. Im sober now for over two years and can see both sides to the Richie story. I pray for Russel on a daily.
    My dad may he rest in peace now with no more pain and hopfully he's hanging out with Richie now haveing the best time.
    Michelle Langone

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  26. LANGONE - Leonard R. Jr., of East Meadow, NY on August 25, 2010. Beloved husband of Patricia. Loving father ofMichelle and Kristine. Cherished grandfather of Dana and Derrick. Devoted son of Ruth and the late Leonard. Adored brother of Linda Jahn (Richard). Reposing Sunday, 2-5 and 7-9 pm, at The Charles J. O'Shea Funeral Home: 2515 N. Jerusalem Rd. (Exit 25N SS Pkwy) East Meadow, NY. Service in Funeral Home Monday, 10:00 am. Interment to follow at Greenfield Cemetery. www.osheafuneral.com

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  27. I finally feel as if there's closure to this sad scenario. I had seen the movie "Richie" with Robby Benson back in the late 1970s--I thought it was pretty good but hadn't read the book. I found the book in the late 1980s and have kept my copy ever since, it's falling apart. I came across the LIFE magazine article in the mid-1990s and I was glad to finally put a face to the names in my well-worn book.

    After reading the book for the first time, I had always wondered what I would do if any of my 4 kids got involved with drugs. I just prayed that they wouldn't. My middle daughter did start taking cocaine but only after she moved out and I didn't now it for a long time. She's been clean for a few years now, thank God. My heart ached for the Dieners--for the parents and their sons. I like to think that if Richie hadn't been killed, he would have eventually weaned himself off the pills and done something productive with his life. But we'll never know.

    Because the book made such an impresson on me, I desperately wanted to know what happened to Richie's family and his friends. This past January I managed to track down Lenny on the Internet (Brick Pavall in the book) and he filled me in. I really appreciated him taking the time to answer my questions, I was sorry to hear about his recent passing. I'm glad to hear that he was a wonderful husband and father. RIP, Lenny.

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  28. George Richard "Richie" Diener grave site memorial:

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Diener&GSfn=George&GSbyrel=in&GSdy=1972&GSdyrel=in&GSst=36&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=10281484&df=all&

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  29. Im glad to hear Your daughters been on the right track.."one Day At A Time" Thats the only way.I myself have been sober for 29 months, I can see clearly the pain Richies family went through and feel as if I know how Richie felt as well.
    Being a sick person with the diesese of addiction I had also felt, like Richie{said in the movie} Just kill me...That for sure is a bottom for some. Im sorry for Richie and his family, God knows what he's doing and I believe everything happens for a reason. A big thing is acceptace.
    I know Richie's brother Russell, I did hang out with him from time to time back in my drinking days, I pray for him that he may find a higher power and find the help he needs to get sober.
    Thank you for sharing the find a grave site.
    I have plans to visit Richie now that my dad can't. Daddy used to go there alot...I miss my father very badly but know he is with us.
    Michelle Langone

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  30. I was in middle school in the '70's...scanning the shelves for catchy titles helped pass the loneliness of those years. When I found the book "Ritchie" I was perplexed about the whole drug scene, family dynamics, etc. I never shared the book or its story with anyone, but the 13-year-old me clung to the people and the idea that I could make choices that would lead me on a more peaceful path. I actually called information and obtained their home phone number, called and spoke with Mrs. Diener. I was surprised but figured if she published the story she knew people like me would be reading it. I think it was very empowering for me to express my regret to her, and to tell her that though I was so sorry about what had happened, I was determined to stay far away from drugs. She was very kind, polite, and did not seem to mind my intrusion.
    I went on to keep my promise to never get involved in drugs. I also became a social worker, then quit for 15 years to be home raising my 4 kids.
    I think violence in our society and the stress families are under exacerbate those difficult teenage years so much! Anyway, back in the '70's, and now as the parent of teenagers, I am just glad that the Diener family was willing to share their tragedy publicly because it helped me in my life.

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  31. I'm glad that Richie's story influenced you to go in the right direction. I as well am going tos school to be a social worker and never touched a drug. This is truly because of how my father raised me. I was able to learn from his mistakes.

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  32. RIP Richie, Lenny, and Joel(Mark).

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  33. Kristine & Michelle,

    My condolences on your father's death. I too read the book and saw the movie years ago and never forgot it. The funny thing about the book was that even though the focus was on Richie, I always thought Brick(Lenny) was the more interesting character. I had always wondered what happened to Brick and was able to correspond with him via email( still have them). I could tell through his words that he carried a sadness about Richie and missed him alot.

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  34. Kristine and Michelle,
    I'm so sorry to hear about your father's death. I grew up in the same neighborhood as he, our house was behind his on the same block. I'm not certain, but I think my father was Lenny's probation officer in Family Court. Lenny had a reputation as a tough kid in the neighborhood, but I remember liking him and I think my father liked him, too. I remeber that time pretty clearly and I can't recall my father ever saying anything negative about him. I was probably 3 or 4 years younger than Lenny. It was a very chaotic and crazy period. Things were falling apart pretty much everywhere you looked.
    I didn't know Richie well, just enough to say hi. There were a lot of kids in the neighborhood at the time and the ones my age were all pretty intimidated by him. It never seemed right to me that his Dad couldn't have disarmed him without shooting him. It still upsets me to think about it.
    I'm happy to hear that Lenny was a good father and husband. I regret that I didn't find this blog until after he passed away. I would have liked to speak with him and get his sense of what our neighborhood was like then.

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  35. To me, the math is surprisingly simple:

    doing drugs = false sense of security
    being a gun freak = false sense of security;

    therefore, on at least some level, for some people:

    guns = drugs

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  36. i see that someone said joel ( mark in the book also died. Any info on him & other one mentioned in book, " Peanuts"?
    thanks, & RIP Richie & Lenny

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  37. I don't know what happened to Peanuts, but Lenny had said that Mark kept trying to party hard, despite the wear and tear his system had undergone from years of drug use.
    I hope Peanuts is doing well.

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  38. i remember, somebody saying "fuck you!" to a salesman at the furniture store, cause the guy who said that, was sitting in a chair there, eating a snadwich. he then threw the rest of the sandwich into the guy's face.

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  39. The 38th anniversary of Richie Diener's murder by the hands of his own father, is rapidly approaching. Anyone out there know Sue Bernstein, pictured in the Life magazine article above?

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  40. Michelle and Kristine: sorry about your loss, but glad to know Lenny was such a good father and husband. I remember when the movie was shown in 1977 and it was a big deal at that time. I got interested in it again about 3 years ago and found both the book and the Life magazine, which I now own. I got to know your Dad by emailing him back and forth and posting on Facebook. He also told me the address of the house as I was interested. I lost touch a while back and just foud out now here that he passed away. I am very glad you have such great memories of him and that he overcame his younger troubles. We all make mistakes but a real fighter overcomes them. RIP Lenny

    ROB B

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  41. an interesting side note: the car crash that occurred near the end of Richie's life, that really seemed to push his father over the edge-there was Richie, Lenny, Mark (I think) and a fourth member, whose name was John, I believe. If I remember correctly, the next day or so, his family sent him away to rehab, far from East Meadow and the drugs, etc...he was found dead of an OD on New Year's Eve, 1979 (I think). The above is all according to the afore mentioned Keno, whose blog/story I have read.

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  42. Hi, I posted a few months ago but I'll post again, someone was asking about other kids in the the book "Richie," namely Peanuts and Mark. I had e-mailed Lenny (Brick) more than a year ago and asked him. He said that Thomas Thompson used pseudonyms for some of the people. Brick's real name was Lenny; Peanuts' real name was Joel, and Mark's real name was Billy. Joel eventually OD'd--I think before the 70s ended-- Billy moved out to California & Lenny lost track of him over the years. I wanted to know what happened to Joel's sister (Vivian in the book) but never found out. Anyway, just thought I'd let you guys know for those who are wondering. . . .

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  43. I'd meant to ask Lenny what happened to "Fritz" from the book. Sadly, I no longer have that chance. :(

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  44. Ask one of his daughters, who post on this blog.

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  45. WHO THE HELL IS "SUE BERNSTEIN" PICTURED IN THE LIFE MAGAZINE ARTICLE ABOVE????????????????????

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  46. I'm guessing that's "Sheila".

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  47. Lenny had mentioned that the relationship between Richie and Sue/Sheila was exaggerated, and that while they liked each other and were good friends, they didn't actually date.

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  48. I saw the movie back when it was on TV for the first time in 1977. I must have been 15 years old then. This was several few years before the Betty Ford Center had even been conceived and virtually nobody knew what "rehab" was. It seemed somehow logical at that time that a father could have ended up killing his drug addicted son as a last resort. Times have changed; for the better. Today, the father would have at the very least been indicted for manslaughter. Richie Diener died around the same time the phrase "war against drugs" was coined. Only now, almost forty years later, are we starting to figure out that the "war against drugs" is really a war against people. While drug abuse is not a positive lifestyle decision, there are some very successful and productive people living today that used drugs recreationally as teenagers. Who knows what Richie Diener could have become if he had been given the chance to live.

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  49. I knew Richie from Camp Eagle Feather in the Adirondack Mountains the Summer of 1968 and 1969 (give or take a year). He was very charismatic and had lot of friends but he displayed sociopathic behavior: He had affected speech (often sticking the word clitorus (which he pronounced Klie-toe'-rus)into sentences, he was destructive, senselessly damaging the inner wall of his bunk (which got him kicked out of camp, and he had no moral compass, one time stealing fishing lures from a general store near Bolton's Landing and then attaching them to his hat and taunting the general store's owner with them until he gave chase (but he could not run as fast as Richie). He was not using any hard drugs at this time. I believe that Richie's life would have ended in tragedy even if he was not using drugs. I was referred to in the book as the others who found marijuana growing in the woods. I showed Richie a weed growing in the woods which looked similar but not exactly like marijuana. It had a sweet smell when you burned it but not exactly like the distinctive smell of pot I do not know if it really was a wild version of pot but Richie accepted my claim that it was and dried the branches conspicuously in his bunk window for all to see and smoked it openly!

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  50. Camp Eagle Feather sounds like fun! Got any pictures?

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  51. No. Camp Eagle Feather, on Raquette Lake in New York, was a great water skiing camp. One of Richie's bunk mates for a while was the world famous waterskier, Wayne Grimditch! Richie's last year at camp was also the last year the camp was in operation. The Piciniches owned and ran the camp. The owner's wife was Eleanor. She treated everyone like family. Signed: Wild in the Woods

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  52. Hi, I don't know any of these folks (I'm about 10 years younger than Richie and from a different state) but I read the book many years ago and saw the movie. My impression at the time was that the book was heavily biased in favor of Richie's dad, or else that there was more to the story not told in the book. I never forgot the end where the dad says at the funeral, "maybe this will teach the other kids a lesson" and one of them says, "what's the lesson? Be good or your father will shoot you?" It just didn't make any sense for the dad to get away with killing his kid when if Richie had killed his dad even by accident he probably would have been put away for a long time. It's good to know that Brick/ Lenny was able to turn his life around, find happiness and raise two great kids. I always wondered what happened to Richie's friends. Thanks for the posts everybody.

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  53. Richie's father suffered a sad, painful death.

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  54. I was a classmate of Richie's at East Meadow High School in the 10th Grade - this is 1970. A couple of times we crossed paths in school (the school had 4000 students) and if I recall we were in Spanish class when he said to me "I got to take a wizzz". I remember how he always exagerated and stretched his words - So he says come wih me so we can get out of this class. So I go to the boys room across the hall and he proceeds to pee outside the window instead of the urinal. Of course I am laughing but somehow someone saw the pee coming out of the boys room window and was searching class to class to figure out who did this. They never did. Until now.

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  55. Hi Rob B.
    I read your comments and they are fairly accurate (re car accident, etc).
    I am curious to who you are and what or where can I find Keno's blog.
    Many thanks.

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    1. A belated "hello" Bruce! Just came across this blog again and saw ur post from Nov 4. Sorry this took three months! Basically, I see someone provided u with Keno's Links. I don't know him, came across him when searching out Richie. He is a huge Rolling Stones fan and he has authored at least one book on them. He has probably seen them I don't know how many times. He knew Lenny and Richie and all those guys back then-was actually outside the house the very night it happened!

      I am just ur average joe, remember the movie when I was about 10 and it came on TV (btw, the very fine actor Ben Gazzara, who played Richie's dad George in that movie, passed away last week at age 81) and just followed up on it in cuiousity. That led to Lenny (RIP) and he told me where the house was and all about that night. I actually purchased the Oct 72 Life Magazine with he story and read the book "Richie" by Thompson. I am one who finds all these things fascinating and usually finds he facts and true story behind the story. (Another story I have researched and collected items on and gone to actaul locations is the story of Roseann Quinn; look her up). That's my story. Hope you found Keno's links and maybe even emailed him. I have once or twice and he is a good guy who will answer ur questions.

      Hope that all helped a bit and sorry it's 3 months late!

      ROB B

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    2. Rob, Thank you for the reply. I mistakenly assumed you knew some of these guys personally. I appreciate the help.
      Many Thanks and best regards,
      Bruce

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  56. http://www.keno.org/gasland/get.asp?M=245343&P=245336&T=245336

    http://www.keno.org/gasland/get.asp?M=245434&P=245418&T=245336

    Keno's story

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  57. Could someone post some pics of Richie?

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  58. I am sorry top hear Lenny passed away. We talked a few times in 2004 when I lived in Jersey. I asked him if he wanted me to setup a blog to help him with his research because he was writing a book telling Richie's story. I wish that he had lived long enough to see his project completed.

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  59. Hi, I read the book "Richie" when I was very young, and never forgotten it. I was horrified that the father killed his own son. Richie needed help from his dad, not to be murdered by him. It was just so very sad.

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  60. Richie's father was incapable of showing affection or loving his sons.

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  61. Is there pics of Richie? I know what Russell looked like,oand the the front of his car!

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  62. Anyone know what year Russell Diener was in High School? Did he graduate? By then I believe his father had died of brain cancer. Karma...

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    1. He was only a 3-5 years younger than richie,so I'd have to say if he graduated at all,it would have been around 78 or 79,which is a couple of years before his father passed away.

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    2. Anybody keep in touch with the family after Richie's death? Or were they too private despite all?

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  63. Where's Russell Diener today? I see that the father passed away some time ago, what about the mother>

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  64. It's been 40 years today. May Richie continue to rest in peace.

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  65. February 27, 2012: the 40th anniversary of the murder of Richie. Russell Diener is the last surviving member of the Diener family.

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  66. Can someone send a picture of Russell Diener from the East Meadow High School Yearbook to likeitwas4richie@gmail.com

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  67. I grew-up in East Meadow, on Midland Drive, a few blocks away from Longfellow Ave.. I went to EMHS and graduated in 1973. There was a classmate in my drafting class that knew Richie Diener very well. His name was "Bill Proctor". I'm not sure if I spelt his name correctly. Bill was a year a head of me. I believe Bill graduated in 1972 and joined the Marines. I knew that Richie was a troubled kid and I didn't want his kind of trouble around me. Not that I was any saint, but I wasn't into the drug thing. Anyway, the last time I saw Richie was maybe a few weeks or maybe a few mounts before he was shot and killed be his father. My friend Bill stopped my the house one evening with a few of his friends and Richie was with him. A short time after that, on a Monday morning, another classmate at school told me that yesterday Richie had been shot and killed by his father. A very tragic story, but for me it's important to see the story is still alive. I think about what happen to Richie every now and then. About 10 years ago I went and visited his grave at Long Island National Cemetery (my parents are buried there). I also went to the library and looked-up Richie's story in Newsday. That's how I found-out where Richie is buried. There are some photos. You may want to have a look at them. It's important to understand that drug addition is an illness, and if left unrecognized and untreated it leads to Jails, Intuitions', and Death... If Richie had gotten the help he so desperately needed, there's a chance he'd be alive today.

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    1. I lived on Midland Dr.as well.My Brother graduated in 73,and knew Richie as well.Not on good terms though...Did you live down on the end of the block near the Fitzgeralds,or were you closer to the Greene's?

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  68. RICHIE'S BIRTHDAY IS ONE MONTH FROM TODAY.
    SOMEONE - PLEASE PHOTOGRAPH (ONLY) RICHIE'S GRAVE AND GRAVESTONE, AND EMAIL IT TO ME AT likeitwas4richie@gmail.com

    ... THEY WILL BE POSTED ON THIS BLOG

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  69. Why? Why choose to try drugs? Why encourage a friend to try drugs? Why shoot to kill? Senseless ....
    God be with Russell and grant him peace.

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  70. Happy birthday.

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  71. Happy Birthday, Richie. You would have been 58 yesterday if your ARMED and DANGEROUS 'father' had not murdered you, when you could barely stand up. We hope your brother Russell Diener has found peace, despite the horrors he came from.

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  72. I saw the movie when I was 11. What a tragedy. May God bless Ritchie'soul. I lost my older brother that same year. He died in a car wreck while he was under the influence of alcohol and I'm guessing marijuana. Thanks to all posted. It's good to read on how many people were positively affected by Ritchie's story. I think the movie should be re-made with a positive message to make our youth of today aware of the dangers of drugs and to encourage parents to get help for their kids with drug addictions.

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  73. I just watched "The Death of Richie" for the first time, and I didn't realize that it was based on a true story until I saw the on-screen text at the end and looked up the story on-line. Apparently, what was shown in the movie has been distorted a lot by his father (see Keno link above), but some of the basic facts, such as the shooting, are just awful.

    First of all, although drugs were involved, this is absolutely not a story about drugs, however much the father wants you to believe that; it's a story about a controlling, abusive parent's inability to love. The drugs are a secondary factor and a coping mechanism, however destructive, for the child in that situation.

    I think the Time article says it all at the end when it says, "His father finally got his way," even though it came down to shooting his son. For some people, that's all that matters, no matter who else is involved, family or not.

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  74. RICHIE du är i Fred i evig vila.

    Your Friend

    Brunhart Jones

    Luleå Sweden

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  75. I've noticed several inconsistencies between the article and the book. The summer camp, the last day of his life, and other things.

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  76. I saw the Death of Richie when it first came out on television in the 1970's. I was probably about 14 years old. I can honestly say that this movie is the reason I never tried drugs, I was too scared. I have never even touched them. Now 33 years later I watched it again on youtube. It still has an affect on me. ALL YOUNG TEENS SHOULD WATCH THIS MOVIE. In fact I am watching it with my 16 year old tonight. It was tragic what happened but back in the 70's not many fathers knew how to show love.

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  77. The book was from Richie's father's perspective and tales of parenthood.

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  78. I'm happy to see people are still interested in this story and posting on this blog.

    -Kristine
    (Lenny aka Brick's Daughter)

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  79. I first read about Richie Diener's death in a Readers Digest article when I was 13 years old in 1978. It made such an impression that I never ever wanted to try drugs...not even pot. The person I feel the worst for is his mother, Carol. Sounds like a very decent lady who could not do much about the turbulence affecting her son & husband. I often think of what life must have been like for the family after Richie was buried. I did see in a year-end issue of Life for 1972 that the Dieners moved out of their house on Longfellow Av, apparently to another address in East Meadow. I also can't help but think that George Diener could have tried harder thru counseling or other methods to "reach" his son. A very thought-provoking and sad tale indeed. If other kids have stayed away from drugs because of this story, then perhaps some good came from it.

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  80. I'd rather see parents try to be more understanding and aware of the help that is available out there as a result of this tragedy.

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  81. I first saw the movie at age 16 or thereabouts (probably around 1981 on late-nite TV) and it always stuck with me. I was a teenage stoner smartass at the time and spent a lot of time watching the 'scare' films of the time and laughing at them...but Richie's story always seemed a lot more real to me, and a lot more sad. The father was clearly unwilling to open up to any notion of therapy, let alone open up IN it....which in my opinion was an epidemic problem for the 'what-will-the-neighbours-say' generation. Clearly Richie had some problems and according to some, more than a bit of corruption in his character makeup...but the father did not help matters. Thanks to you Kristine and Michelle, for putting this site together. I've wanted to know for years how it was for the real Richie. I really didn't like the news article that much--things such as 'long hair' and 'rock music' seemed to be some kind of satanic bugaboo in and of themselves for George Diener and his generation, which annoys me. If you're worried about your kid because he has drug problems, fine...but don't give me 'oh my god, his hair is long, he must be a criminal degenerate.' Anyway, thanks again. RIP Lenny. Your father sounds like he was a pretty great guy.
    P.S. it's not really apropos to anything, but when I was a teenager I really wanted a 'secret room' like Richie's. I tried for years to find an opening in my closet and never did. Finally, being a lifelong light-show fan (but ironically past the teenage drug nonsense), I build a replica in part of my living room at age 25. :-)

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  82. Having read the book as a teenager and then watching the movie, I was concerned my older brother would meet the same fate as Richie. Police were always at our house breaking up fights between my brother and my father. It must be hard to be a Jr. like my brother and Richie. Now I am a high school teacher and show the movie to my students, although its a little outdated. The message is still the same: addiction destroys families.

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  83. Great blog. I read the book back in the mid 70s when I was 12-13, about the time I started smoking pot. I went on to do lots of drugs while doing well in school and college and turned out a responsible husband, father and employee. Everybody's mileage varies, however the pills and powders can definitely make you reckless.

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  84. I grew up on Longfellow Ave across the street from the Dieners. Carol babysat me when I was younger, after the incident happened. I got to know her and remember her being a nice woman. Russell used to torture and tease me, and I hated him for that. I am still terrified of some things to this day at 38 yrs old b/c he used to scare me all the time.
    Richie had a secret hideaway in the wall in the den. I remember seeing it and things that were left in there years after the incident. Does anyone else remember this in the back den?

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  85. I also apologize to the family that moved in after the Dieners (I will keep un named). We told the kids about the incident the night they moved in to the house. They evidenatlly didn't know about it, and they at first didn't want to live there. Longfellow Ave was a great street to grow up on, despite the history

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  86. I assume the back den I am referring to was his bedroom years before and they never closed off the open space that still had the psychedelic posters in

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  87. Im sorry about your friend, Lenny

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    1. Lenny is no longer with us.

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  88. Watched Richie's movie on TV when I was 8. Scared the shit out of me. Helped me to never try drugs, along with warnings from my Dad who was somewhat like Richie's dad, except I chose to listen to him. Thank God. Just re-watched this movie with my 11 year-old son. Hope it has the same affect on him.

    This has got to be the best drug movie of all time. And that's saying something considering it was just a TV production from the 70s. I think it holds up very well indeed. The mom and dad were good, but if Robby Benson didn't get an Emmy for his portrayal of Richie, shame on the judges.

    I watched several of my childhood friends start with chew (tobacco), graduate to cigarettes, then alcohol, then drugs. I know some ended up in jail, some may have died (not sure).

    God bless Richie, his family, and all those who suffer from the insanity of drug abuse.

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  89. I was born in 1953 and got into the hippie scene in 68...and in GEORGIA WHEW! I was a wonder some red neck didn't shoot me.....My dad didn't like my long hair but had fought the NAZIS in ww2 for me to have that freedom..we,thankfully never had the trouble at all like poor RICHIE HAD!! SO VERY SAD and didn't have to have ended like that! My older brother went after my dad once and my dad knocked him on his ass and that ended that.I did know kids that had a lot of trouble with their dad's back then...but none like RICHIE HAD! After all these years it still hurts to read the book! YEP back then if you had long hair [long could be just over your ear lobes!!] you were automatically brandied as being on drugs ..I was.. but had friends that had long hair that wasn't...it was a tough time..some dads and sons never mended things from that time..my pop was tough ..but fair and loved me..I know he never would have even thought of shooting me...but I never did downs and I have seen people on them that they did become mean and even violent..I was surprised by the book in that the PEACE AND LOVE ASPECT of the time was never part of it..

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  90. Like most people posting here, I also read ‘Richie’ and saw the movie. Interestingly, I did so during a time when my son was 16 and struggling with pot addiction. The things that I identified with in the book/movie are the emotional hurt and the hopelessness. In our case, I think everyone was involved with these desperate feelings: myself, my wife, my daughter (12 at the time), and our parents. Sure, a parent grieves the loss of their child who sadly turns to drugs to deal with life. They grieve for the loss of the child’s innocence, joy, intellectual ability, ability to love and be loved, and a productive future. But, for us, after we were at our lowest point, we just grieved that our son had so much emotional hurt and despair. He had become hopeless. Oh, it’s just pot, you say??

    We ran the full gamut: New Year’s eve when he was 15, he didn’t come home and spent the night with some potheads many years older; finding pot in his room months later- I called the police; he spent two years on probation; he flunked classes at school; we found a suicide note and had him admitted for observation for a few days; he went to treatment-twice. Our son grew his bangs long to hide his blood shot eyes. He went from using to dealing.

    But, eventually, after treatment (rehab), we started to become educated about addiction and started to heal ourselves. Since our son was a minor at rehab (there were about 6 kids that were 16 or 17 years old with about 40 adults); we had to stay at the facility for 2 weeks (out of 30 days). We (my wife and I) also had counseling, went to group therapy, and went to Al-Anon. Rehab and all the therapy and meetings were giving us hope that our son may be ‘cured’. Then the director of the rehab one day put her arms around us and kindly said, “Your son can’t be cured of addiction. He is probably going to use again. But in time, he will hopefully be able to stay sober.” That was our turning point, we finally just accepted that for whatever reason, this is the way it is….the way he is….the way our family is. My son did use again. He relapsed many times over the next 3 years. He has been clean for the last 3 years, graduated college, and has a good job. He is getting married soon.

    I wish the Diener family had tapped into the help that we were able to find. Maybe that kind of help was harder to find then. Maybe the Diener parents were just too proud to get help. Maybe they got the help that was available, but to no avail. George Diener did a terrible thing. But, I doubt anyone knows exactly what was in the minds and hearts of all those involved.

    I offer prayers to the souls of Richie, George, and Carol Diener and for Lenny. May God wrap His arms around Russell. If you are reading this please say a prayer for me, my son and our family. Our family still has much healing to do.

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  91. If you care to leave a comment on this blog, please leave your state or country. It underscores the fact that drugs & addiction exist everywhere.

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