Friday, September 05, 2014



1987: "David got in touch with a seemingly reliable source, someone from Dorothy's [Dorothy Dean] old Warhol days, now a successful movie publicist [Rafe Blasi] who told him the following story: an extraordinary tale, but one not so far out, considering its subject was Dorothy, that it couldn't conceivably have happened. It seems that she had attended a cocktail party at the penthouse of a well-known Broadway composer [Tom O'Horgan], the gathering composed of the usual witty, brittle people who congregate at such affairs; the kind of event to which Dorothy had probably been to hundreds of times. At one point in the evening, her usual two sheets to the wind, she found herself in the middle of a particularly bothersome conversation with a musician friend of the host. Finally when Dorothy could take no more, she allegedly leveled at the offending party just the sort of attack that she'd launched on hundreds of such boors in the past: "You are a boring, insensitive lout who has misused and mangled the English language exactly 20 times in the last five minutes while in my presence," she said, "and if you had any feelings of regard toward the human race, you would march over to the edge of this terrace and throw yourself off.”

Which, according to David's informant, is exactly what the man did, killing himself and in the process causing Dorothy to have a total nervous collapse, resulting in weeks spent in a mental hospital. Afterwards, she had gone to Boulder, Colorado, to stay in a commune run by Off-Broadway playwright, Jean-Claud Van Itallie.

In truth, I was to soon learn , there was not much veracity to the story (the part about Colorado, though, was accurate). Apparently an individual who happened to have been at a party with Dorothy a few days earlier, had killed himself; then somehow the two unrelated incidents had become conflated. An apparently apocryphal tale, but Dorothy would have loved the idea of someone killing themselves over bad grammar. All the years of drinking had finally caught up with Dorothy both physically and mentally. Thrown out of her longtime Morton Street apartment, she was rescued by sympathetic friends [including playwright Van Itallie] who began the process of trying to help Dorothy put her life back in order.

After obtaining Dorothy's address in Boulder, I wrote her a simple chatty letter, making no reference to the recent unpleasantness. I received no reply from her. Then in February 1987, the same week that Andy Warhol died, I opened up the paper to the Death Notices to learn that Dorothy had succumbed to cancer."

She was the last person David and I saw before we moved from NYC to L.A.

early plastic by bill reed available at ebay

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