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lump516

USA
26 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2005 :  00:05:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Marvellous--just got the book in the mail yesterday, and, being currently unemployed, was able to polish the book off in about a day's concentrated reading--the best show-biz biography I've read since Stefan Kanfer's great book about Lucille Ball (another very funny person who was very difficult to live with--although Shepherd makes her seem like Little Mary Sunshine by comparison). And as an analysis of Shepherd's skills as a humorist, or what makes someone a humorist, it's absolutely top-notch.

And, although this probably sounds nasty, and I don't mean it to, in some ways, Shepherd got the death he deserved. In the essay by his son Randall that was published on this website, he talked about visiting his father's house down on Sanibel after the man's death and finding the place deserted and ill-tended. Usually, when someone dies, their family cleans up the stuff left behind, distributing it among relatives, selling some it, etc. I remember spending several months helping my mother to catalogue my father's books, which were distributed among friends and colleagues and several colleges in the area. In Shepherd's case, there wasn't even someone there to pick up his fallen radio antenna. And certainly no one there to provide any company when his third wife died before he did--at least not in the way that a family would. A life time of running away came to its logical conclusion, I suppose.

fudge

16 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2005 :  05:57:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've heard about children just giving away their parents house and possessions lock stock and barrel without even bothering to go thru it, after the parents die-and i often wonder how they could do this-but if the parents are like shep was, it's easy to see how...push people away, live only for yourself, and in the end you'll die alone-shep is lucky in that his work trancended his personality, and it'll live forever...just once i'd like to read a bio of a famous person who wasnt an ass: lucy, groucho, henry fonda, bing crosby,bob hope, cary grant -maybe jimmy stewart, he comes to mind...but surely somebody'll find skeletons in his closet too...
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Skoonj

USA
24 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2005 :  08:43:02  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I went to the house after he died. Some of the photos are here on this site. The antenna was not fallen down, it was OK. People had already gone through the place and taken what they wanted. I believe Mr. Zwilling was first there. Later Randall came. I didn't see either, since I came a couple of months later.

I didn't get to see inside that much, though the bedroom did appear a mess. I saw only what one could see from outside. A neighbor said he had been inside and the place was extremely unkempt. Outside the house, there is vegetation overgrowing the area, meaning no one had bothered trimming trees for a very long time. The entire rear was overgrown, unlike other houses in that neighborhood. In the front, trees were so untidy that they obscured the front of the house. If you look at the photos, you might wonder why there is no picture of the entire front of the house. The problem was a huge, untrimmed tree that was in the way. If you saw the way it was presented later by a realtor, with the tree trimmed back and prettied up, you would be able to see how much Shep hadn't done for an extended period.

As far as dividing things up, I don't think any of that could happen. Mr. Zwilling took what he wanted, and Randall Shepherd took what he wanted of what was left. Dividing up means you acknowledge legitimacy of existence. In Jean Shepherd's will, he said he has no living relatives. No wife, no children. Mr. Zwilling was left some money and intellectual rights, as was another friend. Randall and Adrian were not given anything in the will.
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lump516

USA
26 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2005 :  11:28:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think I was using the idea of cleaning up what's left as sort of a metaphor--for the idea of having loved ones behind to handle your affairs when you've gone--and thanks to his behavior in earlier years, Shepherd didn't really have any loved ones when he died . . .
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Skoonj

USA
24 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2005 :  16:41:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Metaphor? Metaphor? We don't need no steenkeeng metaphor!
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lump516

USA
26 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2005 :  23:08:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Steenkeeng? Surely not! All of my metaphors have been washed in Lux and dried with big, fluffy towels . . .
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