Country Music legend Glen Campbell could well win his first Academy Award tomorrow. Campbell, the original rhinestone cowboy, has had a career spanning over 50 years and was honored with a Best Original Song nomination for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” the track at the end of the documentary film Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.
Sadly, Campbell was diagnosed with with Alzheimer’s disease before the start of his 2012 farewell tour, which became the subject of the documentary film. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” was co-written for the film by longtime collaborator Julian Raymond, who was inspired by the country legend and was the last song that Campbell ever recorded.
Campbell’s wife of 33 years, Kim, will attend the Oscars ceremony in his place, and she opened up to ABC News about why Campbell’s nomination is so important.
“It’s just so wonderful to have Glen acknowledged like this. He’s such a great entertainer, a great singer, and this song is him pouring his soul out about what he’s going through,” said Kim. “It’s a song that speaks to me. In my mind, it’s like him saying, ‘Don’t worry about me.’ It’s sad, but it’s also comforting.”
Campbell now lives in a care facility and his wife said that these days, the 78-year-old singer is doing very well physically, but cognitively, he’s declined “quite a bit.”
Kim Campbell explained, “He’s lost most of his ability to communicate but he can say short phrases like, ‘I love you.’ He likes to strum on the guitar a bit, and he still prays. He’s got a heart of gratitude and a positive attitude. He’s cheerful and content.”
Mrs. Campbell explained that when she told Glen about his Oscar nomination, he didn’t understand what it meant. She is hoping that if Campbell’s song wins the Oscar, then Glen might understand it if she can place the statue in his hands.
“If he could just hold it. I hope it happens,” she said.
Julian Raymond co-wrote the song with Glen Campbell and has said that finding out about the nomination was a bittersweet experience because of Campbell’s illness. Raymond says that Campbell joked about Alzheimer’s and says that he made light of the disease. Raymond says that Campbell would not want anyone to feel sorry for him because he has “lived a thousand lifetimes.”
Kim Campbell says she is going to enjoy watching Campbell’s old friend Tim McGraw perform the song at the Oscars ceremony. She also hopes that Campbell’s nomination will help to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. By an ironic coincidence, Campbell’s nomination is one of two with a link to Alzheimer’s.
Julianne Moore is favored to win the Best Actress award for her portrayal of an early-onset Alzheimer’s patient in Still Alice. If both win their respective categories, it will do much to raise awareness of the disease. If Glen Campbell wins, there is unlikely to be a more popular winner nor a dry eye in the house.
[Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]