3:38pm PT by Andy Lewis
Truman Capote’s Ashes - Formerly Owned by Johnny Carson's Widow - Up for Auction
Beverly Hills auctioneer Julien’s has something special (or especially icky) up for sale. The auction house is selling In Cold Blood author Truman Capote’s ashes. Yes, human remains are up for sale.
As described by the Julien’s: “The ashes of Truman Capote are housed in a memorial Japanese carved wooden box. The ashes were kept by Joanne Carson, who was one of Capote’s closest friends. She often said the ashes brought her great comfort. The box is also marked “Date of Cremation: August 28, 1984. (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000).”
A bit of backstory: Capote had a writing room in his home and died there on Aug. 25, 1984. Joanne Carson and Capote became friendly in 1974 when he edited a chapter of a memoir she was writing (and later abandoned).
Joanne Carson died on May 8, 2015 and the executor of her estate did not know what to do with them, explained Julien’s.
Julien’s touted the “unprecedented and certainly extraordinary” nature of the remains. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Julien’s boss dismissed any ethical concerns, noting that body parts present a legal problem but ashes do not.
CEO Darren Julien added, “I will say, Christie’s sold Napoleon’s penis years ago. And we sold William Shatner’s kidney stone for $75,000. There’s all kinds of precedents for this. Like I said, if it wasn’t Truman Capote, we would pass because we wouldn’t want to be disrespectful. And the antics he was always up to, and how much he loved press — it’s no question that that is something he would have wanted done.”