Saving Each Other’s Lives, Quite Literally

Mr. Gari, a native New Yorker who started writing songs at 12 and at last count had tallied 900, including the handful in his 1987 Broadway musical “Late Nite Comic,” had never experienced that kind of domestic upheaval. For 57 years, including the extent of a brief first marriage that ended in divorce in 1987, he has lived in the same Upper West Side apartment.

His parents, the composer Janet Cantor Gari and the actor Roberto Gari, now both deceased, moved in when he was 12. When they divorced a few years later, Mr. Gari’s father moved five blocks away and his mother moved to Midtown. Mr. Gari, then 15, stayed put in the rental. “My mother said, ‘You’re on your own,” he said.

He didn’t realize how right she would be. He was getting used to being an unsatisfied serial monogamist when he fell in love with Ms. Cathcart after the Players Club date. “I knew right away we were right for each other,” he said. “We had been talking so long. And she was so cute.”

She knew, too: “When you’re later in your years, you have a better understanding of the kind of person you want to spend time with,” she said. “Brian was everything I loved: this lanky, just adorable guy.” Within weeks, she had left her messy roommates in New Jersey and moved into his place. Six months later, in April 2011, he proposed while they were crossing the street at 71st and Broadway.

“We were in the middle of a conversation about how she felt lost,” Mr. Gari said. Ms. Cathcart had been having trouble adjusting to life without the support of a spouse.

“I felt a little insecure,” she said. “I didn’t have any money saved, and I didn’t have anyone to help me.” Half a year of living together without any compatibility issues seemed like long enough to both to make a lifetime commitment. They were married in their living room on Oct. 15, 2011, by their friend Sandra B. Wells, a Universal Life Church minister.

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