But by the time of the Beatles' breakup, Mal Evans was feeling underappreciated. While others in the entourage were earning plenty of money, he was still making a standard weekly salary. Headed for financial trouble, he was too proud to ask for a raise. "He was too nice for his own good," his ex-wife later said. The Beatles, she claimed, treated him "like a dishcloth."
With the collapse of both his marriage and the Beatles, Evans settled in L.A., where he joined Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson and other drinking buddies during Lennon's long "lost weekend" of separation from Yoko Ono. A couple of years later, Evans was writing a book, 'Living the Beatles Legend,' when his drinking and drug use finally took their toll.
Incoherent on a heavy dose of valium, he began brandishing a gun as his co-writer and his live-in girlfriend tried to calm the big man down. Though he had been named an Honorary Sheriff of Los Angeles County, when the police arrived they took quick action. Mal Evans died instantly in the early days of 1976 when he was shot four times by a member of the LAPD. His gun, it was later reported, was an air rifle.
No Beatles attended the memorial service. His friend Nilsson made arrangements with the funeral director to send Evans' cremated remains to his mother in England. Friends were briefly horrified when the airline feared it had misplaced the ashes.
"They should look in the dead letter file," Lennon reportedly joked.