Could a Drug Class Could Have Kept Thomas Kinkade Alive?

by: Mike Miller

Thomas Kinkade is arguably the most marketable American painter in the past 50 years. His paintings have brought joy to millions. As beautiful as his creations are, his private life was a mess. Unfortunately part of his history will include chronic alcoholism, drug abuse, driving under the influence behavior, and a death attributed to overdose.

Perhaps even more unfortunately he will not be able to rest in peace as his heirs battle over his estate. This as reported in

The dispute over Thomas Kinkade's multimillion-dollar estate has come down to two barely legible wills that leave his girlfriend his mansion and $10 million, and three burning questions: Did he write them? Was he coerced? And, finally, as the letters state, was he really of "sound mind and body"?

A judge will start considering those issues next month. And if the case goes to trial, whether in open court or private arbitration, expect a parade of experts, drinking buddies and relatives to weigh in.

A handwriting expert took a look at the two scrawled letters, and claimed whoever wrote them was clearly impaired. He thought the writer had Parkinson’s Disease or was clearly intoxicated.

It is this expert’s opinion that Kinkade's live-in girlfriend Amy Pinto-Walsh will have to change in order to walk away from her 18-month affair a wealthy woman with a multimillion-dollar estate.

Legally, the opinion seems to be that California case law is very clear, alcoholics have mental capacity and the fact that they write a document, whether they're under the influence or not, case law is clear that people who have substance abuse problems and issues also have capacity.

But what if Kinkade -- the so-called "Painter of Light" whose images depict dreamy landscapes and tranquil country cottages -- was deathly drunk when he wrote them?

The 54-year-old artist was found dead by Pinto-Walsh, 48, in his home on April 6 after a night of heavy drinking and popping Valium. The coroner determined he died of a lethal level of alcohol.

What do you think? Would an alcohol and drug education class have avoided this tragic overdose?