Meet Maria Elena Holly, the wife of now-deceased of Buddy Holly. See her biography and photos here.
Buddy Holly died on February 3, 1959, but his name is in the news again as Peggy Sue Gerron wrote a book called “Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?”. Maria Elena Holly, Buddy’s widow, has said she will sue if the book is published.
As a biography, Maria Elena Holly was born Maria Elena Santiago in 1935 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, so her age is 72. Her parents died when she was very young. Maria was working for a New York music publisher as a receptionist when she met musician Buddy Holly. Buddy Holly proposed on their first date, and although she thought he was kidding, they were married in Lubbock, Texas, August 15, 1958, less than two months after they had first met. She says,
“I fell in love with that man the minute he came through those doors.”
Maria sometimes traveled with Buddy’s band, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, doing laundry and setting up equipment.
After the band broke up, Buddy Holly began a solo career. While on tour with Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” J.P. Richardson, the three were killed in a plane crash on February 3, 1959. Don McLean calls this date “the day the music died”. Buddy was only 22 years old. Maria was pregnant at the time, but she miscarried shortly after Buddy died. She was so upset by his death that she couldn’t listen to his music for many years and she left the theater during “The Buddy Holly Story” thirty years later.
Maria eventually remarried and had three children. She is now a divorced grandmother living in Dallas, Texas. Maria has spent her life protecting Buddy Holly’s legacy. She caused some controversy when she wanted to charge the city of Lubbock to use Buddy’s name in naming a street the “Buddy Holly Walk of Fame” and a terrace “Buddy Holly Terrace”.
Buddy had written and released the song “Peggy Sue” in 1957. A second song written by Holly, “Peggy Sue Got Married”, was released after his death. The namesake of those songs, Peggy Sue Gerron, has now written a book called “Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?”, and it’s got Maria ready to take legal action. Maria says that the book is unauthorized and will harm her and her company’s reputations.
“It’s very interesting that this woman makes up all these stories. He never, never considered Peggy Sue a friend.”
Gerron’s book is based on 150 or so diary entries written while she knew Buddy Holly. For her part, Peggy Sue says Buddy “was probably one of the best friends I ever had.”
Maria owns the rights to Buddy’s name, image, trademarks, and other intellectual property, and her attorney has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Gerron. Maria even says that the original lyrics to the song were “Cindy Lou”, for Buddy’s niece, but that bandmate Jerry Allison wanted to change the lyrics because he had a crush on Peggy Sue, who he later married.
See more photos of Maria Elena and Buddy Holly below, and Buddy Holly and the Crickets performing “Peggy Sue”.
“Peggy Sue” Video – Maria Elena Holly