Penthouse Retrospective

by Deborah Spungen Originally Published: October, 1983

Nancy Spungen | BONUS Penthouse Legacy

Nancy was just a poor baby, desperate for love. It made me so happy to give her love, and believe me, no man ever loved a woman with such burning passion as I love Nancy. I never even looked at others. No one was as beautiful as my Nancy. Enclosed is a poem I wrote for her. It kind of sums up how much I love her.

I would love to see you before I die. You are the only one who understood.

Love, Sid XXX

PS. Thank you, Debbie, for understanding that I have to die. Everyone else just thinks that I’m being weak. All I can say is that they never loved anyone as passionately as I love Nancy. I always felt unworthy to be loved by someone so beautiful as her. Everything we did was beautiful. At the climax of our lovemaking, I just used to cry. It was so beautiful it was almost unbearable. It makes me mad when people say, ‘You must have really loved her.’ So they think that I don’t still love her? At least when I die, we will be together again. I feel like a lost child, so alone.

The nights are the worst. I used to hold Nancy close to me all night so that she wouldn’t have nightmares and I just can’t sleep without my beautiful baby in my arms. So warm and gentle and vulnerable. No one should expect me to live without her. She was a part of me. My heart.

Debbie, please come and see me. You are the only person who knows what I’m going through. If you don’t want to, could you please phone me again, and write.

I love you.”

I was staggered by Sid’s letter. The depth of his emotion, his sensitivity and intelligence, were far greater than I could have imagined. Here he was, her accused murderer, and he was reaching out to me, professing his love for me. His anguish was my anguish. He was feeling my loss, my pain — so much so that he was evidently contemplating suicide. He felt that I would be able to understand that. Why had he said that?

I fought my sympathetic reaction to his letter. I could not respond to it, could not be drawn into his life. He had told the police he had murdered my daughter. Maybe he had loved her. Maybe she had loved him. I couldn’t become involved with him. I was in too much pain. I couldn’t share his pain. I hadn’t enough strength.

I began to stuff the letter back in its envelope when I came upon a separate sheet of paper. I unfolded it. It was the poem he’d written about Nancy.


You were my little baby girl.
And I shared all your fears.
Such joy to hold you in my arms
And kiss away your tears.

But now you’re gone there’s only pain.
And nothing I can do.
And I don’t want to live this life
If I can’t live for you.

To my beautiful baby girl.
Our love will never die.

I felt my throat tighten. My eyes burned, and I began to weep on the inside. I was so confused. Here, in a few verses, was the last twenty years of my life. I could have written that poem. The feelings, the pain, were mine. But I hadn’t written it. Sid Vicious had written it, the punk monster, the man who had told the police he was “a dog, a dirty dog.” The man I feared. The man I should have hated, but somehow couldn’t.

A few days after that I got a second letter from Sid, this one even more anguished than the first. Sid’s second letter also gave me insight into what might have happened that night at the Chelsea.

“Dear Debbie,

I’m dying. Slowly, and in great pain. My baby is gone, without her I have no will to live. I love her so desperately. I know I can never make it without her. Nancy became my whole life. She was the only thing that mattered to me.

I’m glad I could make her happy. I gave her everything she ever wanted, just for the asking. When we only had enough money for one of us to get straight, I always gave it to Nancy. It was less painful to be sick myself than it was to see her sick.

Few can tell a tragic story as well as a mother, and the Nancy Spungen story qualifies as one of the most sad. Beware the dreams of the Punk Romantic..