Ozzy Osbourne may be the patriarch of one of TV’s most loving (and best-paid) families, but his own family life was so hellish that he tried to kill himself when he was a teenager. So reports author Sue Crawford in her new biography, ”Ozzy Unauthorized,” which has been excerpted in British newspaper The Sun.
In the book, Crawford says Ozzy came from poverty-stricken, violent family, quoting him as saying, ”My mother was an amateur singer, my father was an amateur drunk.” She says that witnessing his father’s beatings of his mother led him to become a violent kid himself, organizing ”hanging squads” at age seven that would string up other kids in bathrooms. He’d get into gang fights involving trash can lids, fireplace pokers, and meat cleavers. Crawford quotes him as saying, ”I can remember one pitched battle where I deliberately tried to drown some kid. Where I came from, it was kill or be killed.”
When Osbourne was 14, Crawford writes, he ”made a noose out of his mother’s clothes-line, put it over his head, fixed the other end securely to a high gate and jumped from a chair. The teen-ager who was to become one of rock’s most outrageous men may have died right there except that he was caught in the act by his father — who then gave him a sound beating.”
Crawford adds that the teenage Osbourne was a petty thief (he indulged his growing love of music by shoplifting Beatles records) and a drinker himself. He was jailed for six weeks on a theft charge and defended himself against an inmate assailant by smashing him over the head with a metal chamberpot. When he got out, the book says, he left school early and got a job in a slaughterhouse, where he killed 250 cattle a day. ”It fostered his weird reputation for a fascination with animals and death,” Crawford writes.