Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Posthumous Fame

Regardless of our personal beliefs about life after death, what’s incontrovertible is the existence of literary and artistic life after death, where fame comes after burial. Those in creative fields, therefore, would be wise to prepare for posthumous recognition.

Today’s New York Times tells about a pending law suit, at issue whether or not the lawyer who compiled 122 poems written by Dorothy Parker published after her death is entitled to payment. The owner of an Andy Warhol self-portrait is battling the late artist’s foundation for refusing to authenticate his painting, accusing them of competing with him to enhance the value of the Warhols in their possession. Last month a diary was released written by 14-year-old Rutka Laskier in 1943 shortly before she was deported to Auschwitz, where she died.

These accounts, as well as the belated acknolwedgments that came to Van Gogh, El Greco and Franz Schubert, are causing me concern. It's conceivable that TV shows I’ve been involved with, series that weren't award winners in their time --“Mr. President”, “Under One Roof” and “Clarissa Explains it All” -- might achieve renewed (okay, new) regard after I’m gone. And there's the added likelihood that Bicoastal Broads may be ahead of its time and garner attention long after Judi and I are online or on land to respond.

I never aspired to be famous and did what I could to elude becoming overwhelmingly successful. That’s borne out by my professional resume, which doesn’t include some of TV’s hottest series because I systematically turned down offers to have my name attached to hit shows, such as Cosby and Alice. It's not clear how long I can avoid fame, and it may be impossible once I'm gone, so I'm taking this opportunity to issue directives should I become well-known posthumously.

None of my belongings, literary or otherwise, is to be sold on e-bay, mainly because I'm concerned what might be found in my pockets. Judi and I have children. We ask that the media afford them the privacy they deserve. No double-decker tour buses, please, stopping and pointing out where they live.

If there's a movie made on our lives, even loosely based, I know Judi will want to be sure her name is spelled correctly. Her name ends in an “i”, not a “y”, except for Sadowsky, which does end in a “y”. The lyricist would be well advised to go on I-Tunes and listen to Liza with a ‘z’. While we don't have casting approval, please honor our memory by casting actresses who know where the laughs are and don't belong to the Church of Scientology.

11 comments:

Lee's River said...

Loved your post. Landed on it while doing google-research for a post to be called "Tombstones of the Unpublished and Posthumously Ignored" (working title). Love your blog and plan to fritter away even more of my time by dropping by regularly!

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