July 29th marked the 33rd anniversary of The Mamas and the Papas singer Cass Elliot's death. You would think a music legend would be most known for what she brought to the industry, but she is most often remembered by the myth tied to her death.
Many rumors began to circulate after her death which included she died from a drug overdose, the FBI planned to assassinate her, and she was pregnant with John Lennon's baby. However, the most well known was she died from chocking on a ham sandwich. This is simply not true. The official cause of death was a heart attack brought about by fatty degeneration of the heart muscle fiber. Her prolonged obesity and crash diets weakened her heart to the point of failure.
She was the subject of many cruel jokes because of her physical appearance. This infamous myth gave the impression that she committed the deadly sin of "gluttony" and therefore, brought death upon herself. A mistake made by the first physician to examine Cass Elliot's body helped start the legend. Dr. Anthony Greenburgh offered an explanation to the press stating "she appeared to have been eating a ham sandwich and drinking a Coca-Cola while lying down - a very dangerous thing to do." He overlooked the significant fact that the sandwich by Cass's bed had not been touched.
"Mama" Cass Elliot was an inspiration to plus size women during a time when female singers were known to be thin and gorgeous and will continue to be.