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Q: Did Mama Cass Choke to Death on a Ham Sandwich?

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A: You guys are awful to believe Mama Cass (the Mamas & the Papas singer) actually died by choking on a ham sandwich just because you’ve heard some people say so. How offensive to see her name dragged through the gravy like that.

The truth is Mama Cass (Cass Elliot) didn’t die from choking on any kind of sandwich, or choking on anything else. In fact, that whole ham sandwich myth is just that – a myth. When Mama Cass died in a London hotel room on July 29, 1974, an autopsy determined the cause of death to be heart failure due to fatty myocardial degeneration, a condition caused by her obesity.

As for the ham sandwich legend, however, that grew from the fact there one was found on her bedside table. Interestingly, when the ham sandwich itself was questioned by investigators, it was totally unresponsive – apparently in a state of shock over the fact its own life had been miraculously spared from certain death by mastication.

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  • I still contend there was a second helping on the grassy knoll.

  • Donnie Marler

    If she didn’t choke to death on ham sandwiches, it wasn’t because of lack of effort.
    LOL, funny article.

  • Will from mental_floss

    Good point, Donnie.

  • From what I’ve heard the Hammy, as the infamous Mama Cass ham sandwich was affectionately known, was rescued by the model Twiggy who carried it around in her purse for over a decade. I believe it is still alive and well and living with a coconut in Keith Richards’s garage.

  • Bliffle

    Just think, if Cass had shared that ham sandwich with Karen Carpenter they’d both still be alive today!

  • S.T.M

    LOL! Nice one Bliffle

  • Ah Bliffle…where were ya when those two grrls needed you most??

    As always…love the Floss!!!!

  • pod 112

    .. Well , really she shouldn’t have been such a porker then. The fact remains she abused her body and paid the price.

  • laslo sprocket

    I wonder if she was taking The Pill at the time of her death.

  • Joe Eckert

    What drags one’s name further through the mud. Accidental choking, or eating so many ham sandwiches that your heart fails?

    You be the judge.

  • j

    Not exactly a “myth”. Myths don’t have specific sources. The ham sandwich story came from the initial news reports at the time. That’s an error, but it’s not a myth.

  • mick

    a girl named “cohen” eating a ham sandridge??

  • mick

    I hope the hotel had the common DECENCY to deduct the cost of the ham sammy off the bill.

  • Brian 101

    Come on people thats not nice lol she was a great singer wasn’t she?

  • ed

    something just doesn’t sound kosher in this story.

  • Terrie

    Actually, though they were at opposite ends of the body weight spectrum, oddly enough both Mama Cass and Karen Carpenter died from starving themselves. Mama Cass was known to go on extreme crash diets. In the 8 months prior to her death she had lost 80 lbs by eating only every 5th day, this probably had a lot to do with her death, considering the pre-existing issues brought on by her obesity.

  • Myera Mailman