Born Stephen Ross Porter, the renamed Steve Peregrin Took borrowed his rock 'n' roll stage name from a character in The Hobbit, then rose to fame after joining Marc Bolan in 1967 to form the duo Tyrannosaurus Rex. By 1969, Took's push to perform more of his own material – as well as his drug use – had driven a wedge between the pair, and Took was fired from the group.

He went on to a series of short-lived bands, but never came close to the success Bolan achieved without him. Took died on Oct. 27, 1980, from asphyxiation after choking on a cocktail cherry. Though he and his girlfriend had ingested both morphine and hallucinogens the night before, authorities ruled that neither contributed to his death.


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