Eugene Landy, 71, the psychologist who gained notoriety for his controversial “24-hour therapy” treatment of Brian Wilson, died March 22nd in Honolulu of respiratory complications of lung cancer, according to a longtime colleague.
Under Landy’s treatment, which started in 1975, Wilson’s mental health improved enough that he performed at The Beach Boys’ 15th anniversary New Year’s Eve concert in 1976. Landy was later fired by the band’s manager, largely over a fee dispute.
Six years later, after Wilson had regressed back to drugs and obesity, Landy was rehired. The psychologist said he was paid $35,000 a month for conducting 24-hour therapy from 1983 to 1986.
Landy pioneered what he called “24-hour therapy,” in which he worked with patients for long, uninterrupted periods.
The California Board of Medical Quality Assurance began investigating Landy in 1988 after he entered a business and creative contract with Wilson where the two shared profits from such ventures as recordings, films, soundtracks and books. The psychologist drew attention when he received co-author credit on songs from Wilson’s first solo album.
The board accused Landy of “grossly negligent conduct,” alleging that his business dealings with Wilson had caused the singer “severe emotional damage, psychological dependence and financial exploitation.”
Landy denied the charge and Wilson defended him, attributing his solo career to Landy’s therapy.
Their doctor-patient relationship eventually ended, but the two remained so close that Wilson’s family took legal action in 1991 to stop Landy from unduly influencing Wilson in personal financial matters. The action was dropped after Landy agreed to stop seeing or talking to Wilson for 90 days, a split that Wilson later said was permanent.