Wed, 25 Apr 2007 00:35 UTC
The Caddyshack star, who first hit the big time in 1975 on Saturday Night Live, told author Rena Fruchter that he lived in "deathly fear" of his unstable mom, Cathalene, and her second husband, John Cederquist, according to the New York Post.
Cathalene, a concert pianist who suffered from depression and panic attacks, would brutally beat Chase seemingly at the drop of a hat and mete out punishments that ranged from locking him in a closet to waking him up in the middle of the night to slap him "continually and hard, across the face," the actor said.
"I lived in fear all the time - deathly fear...I don't remember what it was for, or what I had done," Chase recalled. His mother and real father divorced when he was four. Cathalene also married a third time after splitting up with Cederquist. She died in 2005 and is buried at the Artists' Cemetery in Woodstock, New York.
"She would say to me, 'Ten lashes on the backs of your legs every day for a week at 5 p.m.,' " Chase said. "How can you hold on to that kind of anger against your kid? I knew I was a 'bad boy,' but I didn't know that everybody wasn't punished the same way I was."
"My mother, at her worst, was like an unleashed animal," Chase's half-brother, John, told Fruchter. "It was at her hands, in her feral states, that Chevy suffered the darkest of his secret torments."
Cederquist, meanwhile, engaged in "emotional and physical abuse that sometimes bordered on torture," Fruchter writes in I'm Chevy Chase...And You're Not, which is set to be published next month by Virgin Books.
Despite the face that both alleged abusers are dead, Chase, 63, doesn't care to let bygones be bygones.
"I always turn to it in my mind...and I'll never forgive them," he said. "At their graves I didn't. It was too hard for me. You would think a grown man could shake it off, as the coffin was being lowered, to say, 'I forgive you.' I don't forgive."
The National Lampoon's Vacation patriarch himself is twice divorced but has been married to third wife Jaynie Luke since 1982. The couple have three daughters.
A three-time Emmy winner, Chase was last seen taking a dramatic turn in an episode of Law & Order last year, helping Mel Gibson get the ripped-from-the-headlines treatment as an anti-Semitic actor who's pulled over for drunken driving and gets mouthy with Dick Wolf's finest.
Fruchter is also the author of Dudley Moore: An Intimate Portrait.