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Even after earning a fortune - Mr. Korn estimates it was anywhere from $10 million to $20 million - the family was left broke in a matter of years, Mr. Korn said. The siblings drifted apart, pursuing musical careers of their own. Susan joined a band called the Continental Drifters. Bill was in the Blue Shadows. John became the drummer for the Beach Boys.

The Cowsills’ mother, Barbara, died in 1985, Bud in 1992. Barry would die in Hurricane Katrina in 2006. He was missing for four months before his body was found under a wharf in New Orleans. On the day they were to hold a memorial service for Barry in Newport, family members learned of the death of Bill, who had struggled with heroin addiction and other illnesses and lived in Canada.

While some of the siblings performed together on and off after the band’s breakup, Barry’s and Bill’s deaths served as a catalyst for them to make music once again, according to Miss Palanker.

“They felt like they really needed to be together as often as possible, and that was the best way to do it,” she said.

Bob Cowsill, who lives in California and still performs, said his family’s story - “intense,” as he described it - is one of the last Hollywood stories to be told. And its telling has helped the family process and understand everything it went through, including the fame and their fall from it.

“You have to make the decision: Am I going to let this harass me for the rest of my life?” he said.

“We’ve gotten to a better comfort level with the openness of this process,” he said of the documentary. “It’s pretty cool. It’s a whole new world, and we love it.”