Longform

Baby Man

Page 5 of 8

"I remember he had a very childlike quality about him," says Bremers, who now teaches acting and voice lessons in Southern California. Once she learns of Windsor's present-day lifestyle, she says:

"I didn't think he was that childlike. I guess that explains why we haven't seen him at any of the cast reunions."

Once Hair closed on Broadway in 1972, Windsor toured for about three months with Jesus Christ Superstar, in the title role. (Programs from the time confirm it.) But while he believed he "had the world on a silver platter," Broadway productions never satisfied his first love: country music.

"When I was growing up, I wasn't really into the whole hippie thing, which I guess was kinda strange, considering," he says. "I loved Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and George Jones. The country standards."

So in 1976, he made his way to Nashville, where a friend had hooked him up with talent scouts and a network of songwriters and producers.

One was Rory Bourke, who had just written the country classic "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" for singer Charlie Rich. It wasn't long before Bourke, now a member of Nashville's Songwriters Foundation Hall of Fame, tried to get Windsor a singing and songwriting deal.

"Willie was such a talent," Bourke says from his home in Nashville. "And that voice! Wow, did he have a voice.

"I still can't quite figure out why Willie didn't make it."

Windsor, of course, has his own theory.

"I was always so afraid that if I made it, if I became more popular," he says, "someone would find out about the baby thing.

"I think I kind of sabotaged myself. I wouldn't go to auditions. I just didn't work very hard. I'd rather have the baby thing than the success."


Soon after he got to Nashville, Windsor met Barbara, a woman, he says, who "thought I was gonna be a famous country star!"

He provides little information about Barbara, whom he went on to marry, he says, in 1979. He says they had a child, John, a year later.

Windsor refuses to provide Barbara's contact information -- nor her current last name (she's remarried) -- because, he says, his son, who's now 24, lives with Barbara and his stepfather, somewhere in Montgomery, Alabama. He says he's not sure if his son knows about Dad, the Infantilist, but he'd rather John -- whom Willie says he hasn't spoken with in "about eight months" -- not find out from a newspaper story. (Windsor's brother, John, did confirm the marriage and the existence of Willie's son.)

After failing to garner a recording contract, or a lucrative songwriting deal, Windsor says he found himself playing Nashville bars, both solo and in his own band. But the bar gigs failed to make ends meet. So he was fortunate to meet Nashville Tennessean editor John Siegenthaler, he says, at a local talent contest.

"I think [Siegenthaler] was pretty impressed with me. I know he liked me," Windsor says. (Siegenthaler did not return repeated messages requesting comment.) A few months of low-paying gigs prompted Windsor to visit Siegenthaler at the Tennessean offices, and ask for a job.

"The only job I could get was as a copyboy," he says. The Tennessean personnel department confirmed that Windsor worked there as a copyboy for almost two years in the late '70s.

But after leaving that job, Windsor felt staying in Nashville was no longer a fruitful endeavor. So he, his wife and their son moved to Alabama, where Willie continued to work in local bars, and toured with traveling country bands.

Meanwhile, he says, Barbara sort of got into being "mommy" to Windsor's "baby." She would change his diapers; she had sex with him in his diapers.

"Heck," he says, "I even proposed to her in a diaper."

But things weren't always so sweet.

"Any time we'd get into an argument," he says, "she'd bring up the baby thing in front of my son. So he probably has an idea that I do this."

The "baby thing" got to be too much for Barbara, Windsor says, and they eventually divorced.

Most of this period in Windsor's life -- from the time of his divorce through 1996, when he first returned to Phoenix, briefly -- is a blur to him, he says, and he avoids sharing much about it. He says he continued to play in bands, he moved around quite a bit, and he tried staying away from liquor. He even gave up being an adult baby for three years during one stretch in the mid-1990s.

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Joe Watson