February 23, 2011

The Caribou Club regrets to inform that our old Van Nuys pal

Larry Billings

passed away today in Santa Cruz, California, Planet Earth.

Thanks to Jeanne for going up to visit with Larry in his last hours.

Thanks also to Larry's daughter, Cari and her husband Mike Furtado, for the care and compassion they gave Larry in his final days.

More photos and tributes will be contributed on this page. Check back. 

I've lost another brother from a different mother. I knew Larry for close to 55 years. The Billings Family lived a few blocks from the Atkinson's on Matilija avenue in Van Nuys. We first met because we were both delivery boys for the afternoon  papers, the LA Express and the LA Mirror. Larry was the only one that was bigger than the canvas paper bags that hung from the handlebars of our bikes. He was always friendly and always talking. Little did I know at that time that the doctors had him on some type of stimulant to help with his weight (thyroid) issue. We would also ride bikes to the Van Nuys Little League fields together and we were once on the same team. Naturally he was the catcher.

 Our friendship deepened in the High School years where Larry knew virtually every one at Van Nuys High School. We attended many events and parties together and shared a love of Cars, drag racing, sports and beer. We worked together over the years at many jobs including  pumping gas, delivering beds and booze all over LA. His first car was a metallic green 1956 Chevrolet which I bought when he purchased a brand new 1965 white Pontiac GTO with black interior. He loved that car and would cruz Van Nuys Boulevard endlessly, always ending up at Bob's Big Boy restaurant from which he got his nick name "Big Boy".  His GTO was the limo of choice (and he the driver) when my sister Jeanne was married to Mike McDuffee.

 I have many Larry stories but one that comes to mind is in the mid seventies Larry and I were working with Steve McAdam on a series of documentaries for the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. We were up in Oregon and Larry the grip decided he was Larry the Electrician and he would by-pass the electrical panel in order to get more juice for our lights. Steve and I were in another room when a loud crack was heard and all the lights went out. A minute or two latter Larry came up from the cellar with a half melted screwdriver, eyes bulging and fully dilated with his hair sticking straight up. He said the electric arc blew him across the room. No small feat! After confirming no damage to him or the house we laughed for days. Needless to say he never played electrician again on our many shoots.

A couple of years later Larry began the first of many moves that took him to many places in three States (California, Oregon and Colorado). He also was married 4 more times for a total of 5. Through it all we remained friends, stayed in touch and shared times of happiness and times of sorrow.  Larry always lived the life he envisioned even though it took him to some strange places. He was sometimes sarcastic but hardly ever negative about people or things. He truly lived a full life. I will miss him and his calls.

 He like others before him will always be remembered.

 Paul Atkinson


I was saddened by the news of Larry’s passing.  He was one of those guys that not only blocked a lot of sunlight, but also took a lot of space in the mind with nothing but good memories.  He had a contagious laugh that drew you in whether you knew why or not.   Anything I would say about how much I enjoyed being around him would be an understatement.  He was a lyrical soul who enjoyed the best and worst conditions with equanimity.  The Greeks didn’t write obituaries – they only asked one question after someone died – Did they have passion?

Larry did, for his life, his friends, his family – everything he did was from passion, enjoyment and celebration.  Larry once said to me, “Live every day like it’s your last, ‘cause one day you’re gonna be right.”

I sit here now thinking of that, of him, of life and appreciate having known, played, shared, worked and laughed with him – he was and will always be a special friend for me.


Steve McAdam

Please find below a photo of Larry as a member of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute film crew on location in 1974.

                     L to R: me, Tommy Atkinson, Myron Emory, Larry, and Paul Atkinson


Sorry to hear about Larry. Judging by his letter in 09', he seemed to have resolved things for himself. Moving closer to those he loved was a good move, and I hope it gave him the comfort and peace he wanted. We were those Valley kids doing whatever it took to survive, but I remember him to be open, kind, and full of life. Thanks to the Caribou Club for keeping us "fringe" people informed.

Ed Flynn


Larry passed away on (what would have been) Marsh's birthday.  I'm sure they're having their own Party now!!!

Thanks & Lots of love!!

Laura Brewster

I first met Larry at a party in high school. He was standing outside a house on the street with Paul Atkinson. He was a happy, smiling, friendly, heavy teenager This was in 1963, when the stop signs all had 4X4 wooden posts holding them up. Larry was playing on the Van Nuys football team and weighed about 220 lbs. We’d all had a couple of Coors and Larry said "Watch this." He started running at the stop sign full bore. He dropped his shoulder and kept running. It didn't even slow him down when he flattened the sign. It broke like balsa wood. He walked back like nothing had happened.
In the next two years Larry did this many times. In fact I think the LA division of Streets decided to change the wood to a "W" shaped metal pole after that, probably because of Larry. But that still didn’t stop him. I was with him at another party and we’d had, of course, a couple of Coors. I told Larry that the stop sign was now metal so be careful, but it didn't matter, wood or metal, there he was, running at the sign full bore. When he hit the metal pole, it bent like it was hit with a 1956 Cadillac. It went at a right angle to the ground. Then he walked back like nothing had happened.

Larry, When you see those pearly gates just start running at them, I'm sure they will open.

Your high school friend,
Jeff Meyer

I met Larry when we were both at Van Nuys High. He was always fun to be around and a great friend. I am grateful I was able to reconnect with him when he came to visit Tommy in Ventura, and at Marshall’s wake in Santa Cruz. It was fun to reminisce about old times together.

 Dennis Watson


From Walz Richfield to the Yolanda House to Santa Cruz, Larry remained a loving and devoted friend to everyone throughout his life. Cruising around in his white GTO, he was always ready to help his buddies and participate in whatever crazy dealings we came up with.


A bunch of us, (Larry, Paul Ebert, Pat Leahy, Tommy Atkinson, Marshall Brewster, and me), were living on Yolanda Ave. in Reseda, (February 9, 1971,  40 years ago this month), when the ground shook early in the morning with the Sylmar Earthquake. We’d had a big party the night before for Paul’s birthday, so the quake was an absolute rude awakening. Within seconds, people and furniture were being knocked onto the floor, plate glass windows were shattering, water mains were exploding,  Marshall was running around naked on the front lawn, and through it all slept Larry on the living room couch. But because he wasn't awake for all the shock and damage, he ended up being the calmest resident, and led the cleanup.


When Marshall passed away in Santa Cruz about a year ago, again it was Larry who sat by Marsh every day doing what he did best – being a good friend. Many of us saw Larry in February of 2010 when we traveled north for Marshall’s memorial service in Santa Cruz. Larry was already ill, but he was still the same wonderful guy, mellow, smiling, and reminiscing about all the good old days in the San Fernando Valley.

We’ll miss you, Big Boy. Don’t worry, you’ll always be remembered in our stories.

Gene Meyer





Thanks,  That is a nice tribute to put that on there, I am sad, Larry loved Tommy so much.
Love You too.




 Notes from Larry:

Well now, I guess I should fill everybody in on what I've been doing for the last 30 some years.Let me preface this by saying that I'm again living in Santa Cruz to be close to My Daughter and Her Family. I have 3 Beautiful Granddaughters and 1 grandson that I would like to be around and watch them grow.
O.K. back to where I've been and what I've been doing! I have been married 5 times and am currently, and pleasantly, alone.
In 1976 I, with My 2nd wife and Her 2 boys, left Van Nuys and  moved to Grants Pass Oregon. I opened My first of three Glass Shops, bought and sold houses, grew many wonderful Herbs, and went great guns until 1980 when good oldJimmy Carter ruined the Building Trades, right after I built My Dream House. So between Jimmy and the DEA, I gave 2 shops to My foreman, got divorced AGAIN!, and finally moved to Santa Cruz in 83` and started all over again, New Wife, New Step Kids, Great Earth Quakes, and a couple of New Businesses. I seem to go through 7 year cycles, so, Divorced in 92`, married again in 95`, sold My Business and retired to Colorado in 96`. Divorced again in 99`. Worked with my Younger Brother making the "Grammy Awards" for 6 years. Married again in 2002, she passed away in 2006. Volunteered with R.S.V.P. until I moved to Oregon in 2008 with full intention of having 2 knee replacements. That didn't work out, My kidneys decided to take a dump, spent a month in the Hospital and ended up in Bum-Fuck ( Powers ) Oregon, Thank God, on the mend. I'll sum this up by saying, especially to any of the Young Wolves who may read this, I spent 30 years using Heroin among other things, I've been Clean and Sober, as of February 13, 2009, it will be 16 years. Throughout all those years, My Friends have always been there for Me. Thanks to My True Friends, Jeanne (Atkinson ) Greco, Paul Atkinson, Gene Meyer, Dennis Watson, just to name a few, I've been able to stay in touch with everyone, even if it's only by proxy. Thanks to My Higher Power ( GOD ) and lots of prayer, I'm still kicking, and no Grey hair yet! ( good drugs )

I Love You All....Larry ( Big Boy )

Below: My Brother's Shop in Ridgway Colorado. A few of the Beautiful things He makes!
"The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes their way"....I Love You.....LB

Above, Paul & Larry defy the odds of getting beat up

Below: Here we are outside of Boston on a film crew for UCLA, 1974