'80s icon Rick Springfield bares all, again, in memoir

Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:29pm EDT
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By Marguerita Choy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rick Springfield, who became a pop icon with the 1981 song "Jessie's Girl" and appeared naked in the TV drama "Californication", is baring even more of himself in a new autobiography -- including a revelation that he killed a man during the Vietnam war.

In 1968, at age 17, the Australian musician was entertaining U.S. troops in Vietnam, when the Americans came under attack. Springfield helped load mortars to repel the onslaught, and one of them killed a Viet Cong soldier.

"That was a war situation but it is still something that to this day sends a shiver down my spine," Springfield said, calling it one of his deepest, darkest secrets.

In the memoir "Late, Late at Night", Springfield, 61, writes of his lifelong battle with depression in spite of sold-out concerts, more than 17 million album sales and his stint as Dr. Noah Drake on the soap opera "General Hospital".

At 16, he tried to hang himself in his backyard shed, but the rope's knot unraveled.

"Having suicide ride on my shoulders was not a lot of fun through a lot of my life and surviving that was a real high point for me," Springfield told Reuters.

"Once puberty hit, I was pretty much skimming along the bottom, and I am (now) living long enough to understand how to deal with it," said Springfield.

After surviving the suicide bid, Springfield saw a window opening: music, which led him to Vietnam, and then in 1972 to the United States, where he became a teen heartthrob and lived the Hollywood high life with girlfriend Linda Blair, at that time the teen star of hit movie, "The Exorcist."   Continued...