It the height of his popularity in the late 1960s, Rod McKuen was raking in $2 million a year from concerts, records, and book sales. In a list of "Top 10s" for 1968, Mr. McKuen has three of the bestselling books. The sentimental poet and composer generated 24 percent of Random House's income that year. He won Oscar nominations in 1969 for the scores to "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" and "A Boy Named Charlie Brown."
Ten years later, he stepped away from it all. In 1981, he stopped touring. He was burned out, he said, and wanted time off - a decade off, it turned out. He was also dealing with fallout from an abusive childhood.
" 'A while' turned out to be longer than I planned," McKuen said in an interview published on his Web site (www.mckuen.com). "Nobody came banging on the door.... I was happy and didn't need much attention."
Today, McKuen is working again, doing voiceovers. He was recently Archimedes in a TV episode of "The Little Mermaid," and has narrated films for IMAX and PBS. He does charity work. And for the last 15 years he's been president of the American Guild of Variety Artists.