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American singer and songwriter Neil Diamond was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 24, 1941. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia and Poland. He went to New York University on a fencing scholarship, and throughout his career, he warmed up prior to concerts with fencing exercises. He has said that he wanted to be a laboratory biologist, but while he was finishing his senior year, he was offered a job writing songs for $5. a week, and he took the job. He married his childhood sweetheart, Jaye Posner, in 1963, and together they had two daughters. They divorced in 1969. He married production assistant Marcia Murphey and they had two sons. In 1994, he collapsed while on stage in San Francisco. He was rushed to the hospital and it was discovered that he had a tumor on his spine. Although the tumor was successfully removed, he has suffered severe back pain since then. In April of 2012, he married his manager Katie NcNeil. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984, and in 2011 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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