Village People policeman Victor Willis underwent surgery at a local hospital on July 7, reportedly to remove nodules from his vocal cords.
The former singer tried to launch a comeback last year with his first concert performances in over a decade and a planned autobiography. The surgery caused several dates of his Victor Willis Dance Tour to be canceled in Europe, the U.S., and Canada.
The 57-year-old Willis cowrote Village People hits such as “YMCA” and “In the Navy.” He’s claimed the band fired him in 1980 for being the lone heterosexual member.
“Victor Willis wrote about the YMCA and having fun there,” his publicist said in a 2007 press release, “but the type of fun he was talking about was straight fun. When he says, ‘Hang out with all the boys’…he’s talking about the boys, the fellas, but it’s one of those ambiguous songs that was taken that way because of the gay association with Village People.”
Willis briefly reunited with the People between 1982 and 1984. He spent the next 20-plus years refusing to perform Village People songs and do interviews. During this period, he racked up eight criminal convictions and was featured on a 2005 episode of America’s Most Wanted.
While serving time in prison, he became engaged to a San Diego woman named Karen, with whom he shared a home in La Jolla for a time. In March 2007, she told police that Willis had assaulted and choked her, but city attorneys declined to press charges.
– Jay Allen Sanford