YAHOO NEWS Peter Tork, the endearingly goofy musician and actor who came to fame in the 1960s as a member of the Zeitgeist-capturing television rock band the Monkees, has passed away at age 77. While no cause of death has yet been confirmed, Tork was diagnosed with a rare form of tongue cancer, adenoid cystic carcinoma, in 2009.
The Monkees were often unfairly dismissed as a “Prefab Four” TV creation or boy band, and the creators of The Monkees series did not allow the group to play to play on their first two albums. But Tork, who often played the dopey buffoon on the show, actually came to The Monkees with a serious musical background.
Born Peter Halsten Thorkelson in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 13, 1942, he started studying piano at age 9, eventually learning to play the guitar, bass and banjo, and he studied French horn at Carleton College in Minnesota before moving to New York City.
There, he fell in with the bustling Greenwich Village folk music scene, hanging and playing with other rising musicians, like Stephen Stills. It was Stills, who had unsuccessfully auditioned for a new musical sitcom called The Monkees, who recommended Tork to the show’s producers in 1965. The rest is Monkee history. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and fans around the world.