• Ralph Ruiz

40 years ago: the mysterious murder of Bart van der Laar


Exactly forty years ago, on November 10th, 1981, Dutch record executive and producer Bart van der Laar was shot in his house in Hilversum, the Netherlands. The following day, the Dutch press covered the sad news.



Algemeen Dagblad, November 11th, 1981

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Het Parool, November 11th, 1981

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Trouw, November 11th, 1981

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De Volkskrant, November 11th, 1981

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Leeuwarder courant, November 11th, 1981

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De Telegraaf - November 11th, 1981

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Het vrije volk - November 11th, 1981

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Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, November 11th, 1981

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On November 13th, 1981, Bart van der Laar died from his wounds. His passing was front-page news in Holland.



Het Parool, November 13th, 1981

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Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, November 13th, 1981

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Leeuwarder courant, November 13th, 1981

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De Telegraaf, November 14th, 1981

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Van der Laar was involved in Carrere/CNR records in the late 1970s. Luv' signed a 750.000 Dutch guilder deal with him in October 1979. He followed the ladies on a memorable promo tour in Mexico in May 1980 (click here to read an article posted on May 10th, 2020). The group received two gold records there (one for "Si, Que Si" (the Spanish version of "Ooh, Yes I Do") and another for the 50.000 sales of their True Luv' album in Holland).


From left to right: Patty Brard, Manager Pim ter Linde, Record executive Bart van de Laar, Mexican director of Discos Musart, José Hoebee and Marga Scheide in Mexico in May 1980


Previously, Van der Laar introduced Los-Angeles based Italian record executive Carlo Nasi to Patty Brard. It was first love at first sight between Carlo and Patty. Shortly afterwards, Miss Brard left Luv' and was replaced by Ria Thielsch. In the August 30th, 1980 edition of De Telegraaf, it was announced that Patty had a meeting with Bart van der Laar (who was launching the TTR label with his business partners at the time Ruud Wijnands and German publisher Rolf Baierle). The fact that Patty met Van der Laar implied that she might work with him on a solo project. But it didn't happen. She went solo in early 1981 without him.


TTR was short-lived. Van der Laar's artist roster included Francis Goya, Babe, Benny Neyman and Lenny Kuhr. He co-wrote "Het is een wonder", the Dutch entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 1981 performed by Linda Williams. This song reached the 9th position. A feud over the authorship of this track followed.


In the May 14th, 1981 edition of De Telegraaf, Patty said that she and Carlo wanted to marry. Carlo proposed to her as the lovebirds were on holiday in Bart van der Laar's house in Portugal. Patty wanted Van der Laar to be a witness at her wedding. The couple got married two years later. Van der Laar did not attend their ceremony as he was murdered.



De Telegraaf - May 14th, 1981

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After Van der Laar's assassination, gay prostitute Martien Hunnik was arrested and convicted based on a confession he made but later retracted. He was released from jail in the early 1990s. Van der Laar's death remained a mystery.


Hunnik then tried to get hold of his file and when he was refused, his lawyer and the public prosecutor requested a new trial. It became apparent that Hunnik was probably innocent. Two people known to Van der Laar most likely killed him on the orders of a business partner. In addition, medical experts said that Hunnik was ‘very susceptible to suggestions’ and inclined to exaggerate at the time of his confession. In 2016, he was acquitted (click here to read an article posted on June 5th, 2016). One year later, Netherlands Public Prosecution Service announced that he received damages and apologies from the State (click here to read an article posted on April 25th, 2017). A musical based on this showbiz murder was prepared by Janke Dekker Producties. But this project was cancelled.


In April 2009, Marga Scheide and José Hoebee appeared on RTL 4's paranormal show "Het Zesde Zintuig" (the Sixth Sense) to tell their memories of the record producer. This TV program featured mediums who analysed the crime scene and felt that his assassination might be linked to his activities. A cold case team set up by "De Telegraaf" investigated the homicide in 2010 and revealed contradictions.



José and Marga interviewed by Beau van Erven Dorens on "Het Zesde Zintuig" (2009)


In late 2017, Peter van der Vorst's program "Onschuldig?!" on RTL 4 featured Marga and José discussing the Bart van der Laar's case (click here to read an article posted on November 1st, 2017).


Marga and José on Onschuldig?! (2017)


Between May 19th and June 30th, 2020, Dutch station AVROTROS/NPO Radio 1 aired the podcast series De Showbizzmoord (The Showbiz Murder) about Van der Laar's case. Click here to listen to the seven episodes.



Dutch journalists Lammert de Bruin and Babs Assink investigated Bart van de Laar's mysterious death.


In the final episode of the podcast series, De Bruin and Assink discussed an alternative scenario. It was suggested that two people known to Van der Laar (who are still alive today and whose names remain anonymous) most likely killed him on the orders of Ruud Wijnants (who died in 2001).


According to the Supreme Court, the alternative scenario is 'very plausible'. Because the case is time-barred, there is no further investigation. The murderers' names should not be mentioned. One of them was Bart van der Laar's handyman and he knew him well. He would have pulled the trigger. He can be heard in the podcast in a distorted voice. But he continues to deny his involvement in the death of the flamboyant record producer.


Source: Delpher Kranten, Luv' blog archives

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