How David Bowie saved Marc Bolan’s son

David Bowie

In 1977, glam rock star Marc Bolan was killed in a car crash that also seriously injured his girlfriend, Gloria Jones, who had been driving the car. Their son, Rolan, was uninjured, due to his parents’ habit of of leaving him with his grandparents when they went to dinner.

Though Bolan had a sizable income that was protected by a trust fund, Rolan and Gloria were entitled to nothing, given that Bolan was still married to another woman. The mother and son then faced a drastic change when they moved back to the U.S.: they were plunged into poverty after living the millionaire lifestyle provided by Bolan. Rolan recalls that he didn’t believe he would have survived, given his mother’s critical medical condition and the tough times they were facing in Los Angeles.

That’s when Bowie stepped in.

Bowie had known Bolan for years, and was Rolan’s godfather. He paid for Rolan’s education and provided whatever financial aid Rolan and Gloria required. But, as Rolan recalls, his help extended further than just money.

David’s generosity helped us to survive. It wasn’t just the financial help – it was the time and kinds. He kept in regular touch by phone and his first and last words were always: ‘Don’t hesitate to tell me if there’s anything I can do.’ He’d shrug off our thanks, saying it was the least he could do for the family of a good friend.

In 1994, June Child, Bolan’s wife, died, thus resolving the financial issues Gloria and Rolan had faced. Gloria now runs an orphanage in Sierra Leone, and Rolan receives a monthly allowance from the trust fund. Rolan hopes to meet Bowie, and finally thank him for the years of assistance and continued support.

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