Billy Joel: Piano Man’s Mother Dies at 92By: Kimberly Ripley - July 15, 2014
Billy Joel–often called the Piano Man–is mourning the passing of his mother, Rosalind Joel. She died on Sunday in Long Island. The namesake for his song ‘Rosalinda’s Eyes,’ Rosalind Joel was a single mother who divorced his father when the singer was eight years old. Rosalind worked from her Hicksville home as a clerk for various businesses throughout the years.
In 1986 Billy Joel endowed and named a scholarship for his mother. The Rosalind Joel Scholarship is awarded each year to a student studying the performing arts at City College. Joel’s mother and father actually met back in 1942 at a City College musical production.
Billy Joel’s ex-wife Christie Brinkley wrote a touching tribute to Rosalind Joel, and posted it on Instagram along with a decades-old photo of her former mother-in-law.
“At sad times we look for ways to find the good to lift our spirits, So I have only to imagine what Rosalinda’s Eyes have seen to find cause to celebrate a life well lived ! Just in this year alone she saw her son , Billy Joel receive the Kennedy Center Honor , the highest cultural honor possible, from the President of the United States no less, and Rosalind greatly appreciated the Arts!) She also saw her son get a regular gig at Madison Square Garden ( where he already holds a record and where Roz is welcomed on a first name basis! And her eyes sparkled with pride and joy as the former Gilbert and Sullivan chorus girl, watched her granddaughter Alexa perform at the famed Cafe Carlyle surrounded by a large group of her friends enjoying themselves. I know as a mom myself that when you see your kids happy healthy and enjoying their passions you feel content and happy. Rosalinda’s Eyes will live on not only in the song inspired by her, but in Billy, and Alexa… and Nanny Roz herself would find that worth celebrating. @alexarayjoel #cherishedgrandmother #restinpeace,” she wrote.
Billy Joel confirmed his mother’s passing on Facebook.