"Piano Man" is not British actor, search down to three leads
Correction — May 30, 2005
As noted below, there is no relationship between the "Piano Man" and Geoffrey Betts. While the speculative nature of this article was clearly pointed out from the beginning, Wikinews would nevertheless like to apologize to Mr. Betts for any inconvenience it may have caused. (See also Wikinews editor CGorman's apology.)
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Wikinews reported on May 17 that several weeks earlier British police had picked up an unidentified man wandering the streets of Sheerness, United Kingdom. The man who has thus far refused to talk, has demonstrated himself to be an excellent pianist—earning him the nickname Piano Man.
Since publication of our first article, we have been contacted by a fellow wiki contributor informing us that the Piano Man may be a British actor named Geoffrey Betts. Although our contact strongly believed he knew the identity of the man and contacted the relevant authorities in regard to his belief, this has turned out to be false. While Betts was not reachable by phone or e-mail, his website was recently updated to the effect that he is not the man in question. In the meantime, the search for the identity has been narrowed down to three leads by authorities.
The original interview between Wikinews editor CGorman and contributor Steve Magruder is reproduced below.
CG: Who do you think the pianist is?
S: Geoffrey "Geoff" Betts, an actor and British citizen, who I last knew to be living in Euless, Texas (a suburb of Dallas), and who, the last time I saw him was living temporarily months at a time in Louisville, Kentucky.
CG: Why do you think it is him?
S: The person I knew should be 26, perhaps almost 27 now. The personal resemblances are the eyes, facial shape, asymmetric jawline, ears, nose and short hair. The person I knew had colored his hair blonde at least one time when I knew him. His mother is Italian, and his father is British, and the "Piano Man" has the appearance of such an ethnic combination. I also knew that he composed music, but frankly, I did not know he could play the piano. Both the man found and Geoff are thin and physically fit. I also knew Geoff to be a smart dresser.
CG: What is your relationship with Mr. Betts; were you good friends?
S: He is a former business associate of an ex-partner of mine in an upstart film production company that has since gone out of business. Geoff actually lived with us for periods of time in 2003. I would call him a friendly acquaintance, if not a friend, during that time.
CG: What is your knowledge of Mr. Betts' musical ability?
S: I knew Geoff to compose his own music, but I cannot remember offhand what kind of music.
CG: When was the last time you met Mr. Betts - was it long before the man turned up in England?
S: Early 2004, when Geoff last moved out of the residence where I and my ex-partner were living. I had heard various stories for months after that point regarding him continuing to live in Texas and occasionally visit Louisville, but I had no firsthand knowledge of that.
CG: What was Mr. Betts involved in in the weeks before the appearance of the man in England? Was he working on a film, on a break etc?
S: According to IMDB, Geoff was working on a film recently, but I am not sure of the timing of that with respect to the time the man appeared in England. I have no information on where he might have been in the weeks before the man's appearance.
CG: On a scale of 1 to 10, how sure are you that the man is actually Mr. Betts?
S: 8. I admit I am not as confident as the Polish man living in Italy was (with his 99% certainty that it was his friend Massone), and it turned out he was incorrect. I have to say, however, that I am haunted by how much the "Piano Man" resembles Geoff. Further, the reports indicate the man is 6' while Geoff is 5'10"--I don't know whether the man found was measured with his shoes on or not. Last, my attempts to contact Geoff by a direct email address I found has failed to get any response. I am almost tossing and turning with cognitive dissonance about whether the man found could be Geoff or not.
CG: I know you have already contacted the relevant authorities, but if there was one thing about Mr. Betts that you believe could help further in verification of the pianists identity; what would it be?
S: Geoff's website at http://www.geoffreybetts.com for physical comparison. Also, his mother may still be living in Euless, TX. Last, strangely enough, he also had a wish list at Amazon.com, and one of the last two items he added on April 4 (apparently just before the appearance of the man in England) is an audio CD titled "Silence."
A comparison can be made of images of the Piano Man and Geoff using the below links:
- ""Do you know this pianist?" asks helpline" — Wikinews, May 17, 2005
- "Fantastic response to 'piano man'" — BBC News, May 16, 2005
- Sue Leeman. "Mystery Briton Doesn't Speak, Plays Piano" — ABC News (US), May 16, 2005
- "Leads, twists in 'piano man' case" — CNN.com, May 16, 2005
- "British hospital seeks ID for mystery piano player" — MSNBC, May 16, 2005
- Alison Purdy and Anna Farley. "Piano Man 'Is French Street Musician'" — The Scotsman, May 17, 2005
- David Sapsted. "Does this man strike a chord with you?" — The Daily Telegraph, May 16, 2005
- Geoff's website (requires Quicktime plug-in to be viewed)