September 26, 2016
In Cold, Hard Cash
by Ian Dreiblatt
In news that proves capital will piss absolutely anywhere you let it, the ashes of Truman Capote have been sold for $45,000 at auction in LA. Writing in the New York Daily News, Denis Slattery calls the sum “astonishing,” which is odd insofar as it suggests there are sums of money for which Denis Slattery would not be surprised to learn of someone buying Truman Capote’s ashes.
Capote died at fifty-nine in 1984, nearly twenty years after publishing his last completed book, In Cold Blood. His ashes were long owned by Joanne Carson, former wife of Tonight Show host Johnny Carson. Javier E. David writes for CNBC that Carson took “great comfort” in possessing them. Like you do.
Writing for CNN.com, Pilar Melendez and Ellie Kaufman reached out to Julien’s Auctions, which handled the absolutely normal and dignified sale:
“We had people from Russia, Germany, China, South America and here in the US who had interest in them,” President and Chief Executive Darren Julien said. “I anticipated it could sell for over $10,000, but didn’t anticipate it going to $45,000.”
After confirming that this is the first time on record the ashes of a dead celebrity have been sold at auction, Melendez and Kaufman add:
The buyer of his ashes is a collector that wishes to remain anonymous, according to Julien.
“They promise that Truman will continue his adventures,” he said.
Which is, again, very uncreepy and terrific, and does not at all sound like the winking aside of an evil warlock condemning Capote’s soul to wander the earth for an eternity of deathsome horror. Speaking of which:
Ian Dreiblatt is the director of digital media at Melville House.