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Buddy Holly's Widow Threatens to Sue 'Peggy Sue' Over Book

Buddy Holly's widow is trying to keep the woman whose name was made famous by the hit song "Peggy Sue" from selling a book about her friendship with the late rock 'n' roll star.

Maria Elena Holly said Friday that Peggy Sue Gerron's "Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?" is unauthorized and will harm Holly's name, her reputation and that of her company, Holly Properties.

"It's very interesting that this woman makes up all these stories," Maria Elena Holly said from her home in Dallas. "He never, never considered Peggy Sue a friend."

Gerron, who lives in Lubbock and wrote the 283 page-book in the past year with another woman from West Texas, said she wrote the book because 2008 is the 50th anniversary of the release of "Peggy Sue." Holly also recorded "Peggy Sue Got Married."

Gerron said material for the book came from about 150 diary entries she made during the time she knew Holly.

"I wanted to give him his voice. It's my book, my memoirs," she said from Tyler where her publishing company held a news conference Friday defending Gerron's right to write her biography. "We were very, very good friends. He was probably one of the best friends I ever had."

Maria Elena Holly said she will sue if the excerpts she's read are in the book, which is available online and will be in bookstores soon.

"I don't understand why people do that, especially when she knows that people know the truth," she said.

Gerron said a potential lawsuit is "just another matter."

"I feel I have every right to write my book. That's why we live in America." she said. A lawsuit "won't taint the book."

Earlier this week, Maria Elena Holly's attorney in Dallas, Richard Wallace, sent a cease-and-desist letter to TogiEntertainment Inc., an Oklahoma City-based publishing house. Wallace declined to comment Friday.

Holly was killed Feb. 3, 1959, in a plane crash that also claimed singers Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. Holly was 22.

Maria Elena Holly, who married Holly in August 1958, has for years owned the rights to her husband's name, image and related trademarks, and other intellectual properties, the letter said.

No one involved in the book's publication asked for consent to use Holly's name or image — "his likeness will be featured prominently" on the book's cover and the subtitle reads, "Memoirs of Buddy Holly's Peggy Sue," the letter said.

"Confusion and tarnishment of Buddy Holly's name and Ms. Holly's reputation are likely to result from this unauthorized book," the letter states.

The letter demands the ceasing of promotion and sale of the book, removal of the subtitle and cancellation of all book orders. It also asks for refunds on any deposits for the book and for an accounting of revenues from any sales.

Mark Faulk, chief executive officer of TogiEntertainment, said the threat of a lawsuit won't deter Gerron or his company.

Buddy Holly's brother, Larry Holley, said "Peggy Sue" was not the original lyric in the song of the same name. The name Holly originally intended to use was Cindy Lou, Holly's niece, Larry Holley said.

Maria Elena said her husband changed the name to Peggy Sue after Crickets drummer Jerry Allison, the man who married Gerron in July 1958, asked him to because he had a crush on Gerron at the time.