Born in the Bronx in 1944, Evan Robert Charmatz showed an interest in the entertainment industry at an early age. While attending the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, Evan and classmates Phil Feliciotto and Tom Johanson, as well as Evan’s brother Ray, formed a cover band called The Candy Men. With Evan on rhythm guitar, Phil on lead vocals, Tom on lead guitar, and Ray on bass guitar, the band had fun playing college gigs and frat parties. “Then one summer Phil and Evan got together and wrote that first song. We ended up getting a contract with Columbia Records,” Tom Johanson said. After that, the band changed their name to The Fugitives, and they put together an album. “The whole album didn’t get released, but we had three singles that were released,” according to Tom.
Their double-sided single “Mean -Woman” with “I’ll be a Man” on the B side was released in 1965. “We did get to play a lot and did some TV shows… got a lot of coverage. We lived the rock star lifestyle for a while anyway,” Tom reminisced. They appeared on local programs in the New Jersey and Philly area. “We played with The Birds. [Bob] Dylan used to come in and listen to our songs,” remembers Phil. With the one single’s moderate success on the East Coast the band had high hopes; they felt that they were going to make it big. “We looked good and everyone wanted us because we had the perfect rock and roll look.” The band soon changed their name to Fantasia and signed with Kama Sutra Records.
For the most part the band members all got along with the exception of Phil and Evan who, according to Tom, had “little personality squabbles sometimes—they didn’t get along that well. Evan was the business manager and he was very outgoing, and Phil was kind of introspective and a little wimpy, so I guess that kind of bothered Evan.”
At the new label the band recorded a song entitled “Got to Get Away” and had high hopes for the single’s success and the possibility of appearing on national TV. “We were excited for the Sullivan Show and everything. And then the third song kind of bombed out. I guess Phil was the one who got discouraged and he decided to go on his own. That kinda broke up the band,” said Tom.
Asked if Evan had taken a break from school at this point to focus on his music career, Phil Feliciotto said no. “Oh, he continued with school. I went to a party at his apartment one time and there was nothing but med students there. They were all doing drugs and here I am thinking, I’m the one who looks like the hippie that everyone assumes does drugs. It really made me look at that profession differently. They were all high.”
Apparently Evan had something of a reputation as a ladies’ man too. “Well, you wouldn’t want to leave [Evan] behind to watch your girlfriend. One time he dated this girl named Barbara Fontana. She was the daughter of a mob guy and it got messy. Things always got messy between Evan and these women that he would date. A cat would bring home a bird…Evan would bring in these women. I guess it was his gift to us,” he laughed.
Evan’s brother Ray would later exaggerate his brother’s supposed good looks, going as far as to claim he was better looking than Rob Lowe. He claimed that Evan “never had a problem attracting women. Blessed with movie star looks, a keen sense of fashion, and far more intelligent than the average bear, they flocked to him like ewes to a rutting ram. His problem was holding on to them.” In later years Evan would have numerous plastic surgery procedures that would ultimately disfigure his face and make him nearly unrecognizable. Because of that, claims of his extraordinary good looks still remain unproven.
After the band broke up, they all went their separate ways with Evan continuing his education to become a dentist, reluctantly following in his father’s footsteps. He obtained his dental license in 1972 and was working in New York when he met June Rochelle Wong, a beautiful woman of Asian and African American ancestry who had briefly worked as a model. The two married and moved the following year to West Palm Beach, Florida where Evan set up a dental practice. But Evan “hated being a dentist” a family friend told journalist Mary Fischer, “he always wanted to be a writer.”
His aspirations to break into the entertainment industry followed him throughout his life. Evan saw his former band mate and nemesis, now calling himself Phil Cody, living in California and having great success as a songwriter. Phil co-wrote “Solitaire” with Neil Sedaka, a song that would be covered by both The Carpenters and Elvis Presley. Evan in turn, determined to make it in the industry in some way, changed his name to Chandler—a former colleague told Fischer that he believed Charmatz was “too Jewish sounding” – and moved to Los Angeles with his wife June in tow, hoping to make it big as a screenwriter in Hollywood.
But Evan Chandler was having little success in both his screenwriting career and his dental one, and by December of the following year he was in trouble. In 1978 he was employed at a family dental center in a low-income area of LA. Evan performed restoration work on sixteen teeth in the mouth of a single patient, all during the same visit. An examination of the work by the Board of Dental Examiners revealed that Chandler, “left decay under the alloy, decay around the preparation, fracturing and crumbling restoration” of many of the patient’s teeth. The dental board sighted “gross ignorance and/or inefficiency” and revoked his dental license, all while Evan and June were expecting their first child and finances were tight. The revocation was later stayed; the Board instead suspended him for ninety days and placed him on probation for five years. Chandler later petitioned the dental board to terminate his probation, stating that he had been a sole practitioner in private practice since June 1983, which was not true since he had actually incorporated a self-named private practice 5 years early in August,1978. But despite the blatant lie, the board granted his petition and terminated his probation in December 1983.
By that time, Evan’s marriage to June was in trouble and the couple divorced in 1985. An unnamed friend of June’s would later say that, “one of the reasons June left Evan was because of his temper.“ June received full custody of their son Jordan, who was five years old at the time, and the court ordered Evan to pay $500 per month in child support.
June moved on from Evan very quickly; that very same year she married David Schwartz, founder of the very successful Rent-A-Wreck company, and like Evan he was many years her senior. June and David went on to have one child together, a daughter named Lily born in 1987.
Note: It appears that Evan Chandler never gave up his dream of being rich and famous. He later filed a claim against Michael Jackson for breach of the settlement agreement. He was such a loving protector of his allegedly abused son that he wanted the following for himself –
What parent would want to sensationalize their child’s alleged abuse?
The settlement agreement did not stop your child from testifying in a criminal proceedings so why stop co-operating with authorities? ( The Chandler’s claimed threats and harassment)
If you were so fearful of threats and harassment – Why claim your son will now testify and ask the courts to allow camera’s into another civil suit you filed against against Jackson, ABC and others.
And most disturbingly. why would you pen a song entitled “Duck Butter Blues” given what your brother later claims in his book about the perverse meaning of the term.