Freddie Mercury, the legendary singer and songwriter from the classic rock band Queen is in the news again thanks to the new hit movie Bohemian Rhapsody. Now, many fans are digging back into the Mercury legacy to learn more about his life. Mercury was known as a very caring person, who once went to a children’s birthday party to fulfill his birthday wish.
Mercury also had a big love for cats. In fact, dozens of pictures can be found online with the late singer and his cats.
Mercury allegedly got his first cats in the 1970s when his girlfriend Mary Austin had a pair of cats named Tom and Jerry. Mercury’s personal assistant Peter Freestone, says that he would take care of the cats for Mercury.
“He’d get to a hotel, we’d dial through, and he really would talk to his cats. Writing in his memoir, Freddie Mercury, he added, “Mary would hold Tom and Jerry in turn up to the receiver to listen to Freddie talking. This continued throughout the years with succeeding feline occupants of his houses,” Freestone said.
Sources say that Mercury had up to 10 cats living with him at one time.
“His cats were his family,” Freestone said.
Jacky Smith, the founder of the Queen fan club, says that most of these cats were rescues.
“Most of them were from rescue centers. We have a charity [in the United Kingdom] called The Blue Cross, which takes care of sick animals. Freddie got at least two from them. Innuendo, the last album he recorded with the group, included artwork of Mercury dressed as a jester with cats on his shoulders. It also featured an upbeat song, titled Delilah. At first listen, you may believe it’s about a woman – at least until the line about her ‘peeing all over [his] Chippendale Suite,” Smith said.
Smith said that a cat named Delilah was the most well known of the pack, and also a cat that Mercury wrote about.
“She was a real character, that lady! Delilah was just kind of funny. She was a bit of a bully to the others, but was always first on his lap, first for food,” Smith said.
Jim Hutton, the singer’s longtime boyfriend said, “Freddie treated the cats like his own children. He would constantly fuss over them, and if any of them came to any harm when Freddie was away, heaven help us. During the day the cats had the run of the house and grounds, and at night one of us would round them up and bring them inside.”
As a member of Queen, Mercury was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004.
Estimates of Queen’s total worldwide record sales to date have been set as high as 300 million.
The recent hit film, Bohemian Rhapsody, has been a financial success but opened to mixed reviews. The film has been accused and over-fictionalizing aspects of Mercury’s life and creating conflicts that never existed. The film has also been critisized for glossing over the HIV pandemic that took Mercury’s life.
“Mercury, along with all the other men and women who tested positive for HIV in the 1980s, was a victim not just of a pandemic but of the failures of his own governments and of the scorn of his fellow citizens. The laughable initial response to the HIV pandemic helped seal Mercury’s fate. None of that is in the movie,” writes, Laurie Marhoefer of the Conversation.
According to his partner Jim Hutton, Mercury was diagnosed with AIDS in late April 1987. He then passed away at the age of 45 on the evening of 24 November 1991.
Bohemian Rhapsody is the highest-grossing musical biographical film of all time.
Below are some pictures of Mercury and his cats: