Malcolm “Mal” Evans is best known as the road manager, assistant, bodyguard and friend of The Beatles.
Evans separated from his wife in 1973, and subsequently moved from the UK to Los Angeles, where John Lennon had moved to live with May Pang after his own separation from Yoko Ono. Here’s a photo of Mal a few years before his death with John Lennon and May Pang.
Before his death Evans was working on a book of memoirs called Living The Beatles’ Legend, which he was supposed to deliver on 12 January 1976. Friends said that Evans was depressed about his separation from his wife Lil Evans — who had asked for a divorce before Christmas — although at the time he was already living with new girlfriend Fran Hughes, in a rented duplex at 8122 W. 4th Street in Los Angeles at this location below.
On January 5, 1976, Evans he was so despondent that Fran Hughes phoned his collaborator on his book, John Hoernie, and asked him to visit them. Hoernie saw Evans “really doped-up and groggy”, and Evans told Hoernie to make sure that he finished Living The Beatles’ Legend. Hoernie helped Evans up to an upstairs bedroom, but during an incoherent conversation Evans picked up a 30.30 air rifle. Hoernie struggled with Evans, but Evans (being much stronger) held onto the weapon.
Hughes then phoned the police and told them that Evans was confused, had a gun, and was on valium. Four policemen arrived and two of them, David D. Krempa and Robert E. Brannon, went up to the bedroom. The police report stated that as soon as Evans saw the policemen he pointed the air rifle at them. The officers repeatedly told Evans to put down the rifle (which they did not know was an air rifle) but Evans constantly refused. The police fired six shots, of which four struck Evans, killing him instantly. Evans was cremated on 7 January 1976, in Los Angeles. None of The Beatles attended his funeral, but Harry Nilsson and other friends attended. Evans’ ashes were sent by post back to England, but were misplaced and lost in the postal system.
Upon learning of the lost remains, John Lennon joked by saying,
“They should look in the dead letter file”
Here is a nice remembrance to Mal Evans in the pages of the George Harrison “Harrison Alliance” magazine.