If you’re not familiar with Truman Capote‘s literary output, then you probably know his name from the dueling biopics, Capote (2005) and Infamous (2006). The first garnered the late Philip Seymour Hoffman an Academy Award for Best Actor and dozens of other awards and nominations, whereas the latter scored Toby Jones few accolades. Aside from Capote himself, both films concerned his book In Cold Blood, which earned the writer great acclaim and — among other things — the friendship of Johnny Carson‘s ex-wife, Joanne.
That friendship explains why the late Joanne Carson’s estate is auctioning off Capote’s ashes. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Beverly Hills auction house Julien’s will be handling the transaction:
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).
So, um, why did Joanne Carson possess Capote’s ashes in the first place? Turns out the two became friends because, following her divorce, Carson was attempting to write and edit a memoir. Capote offered his expertise and edited a chapter of the book, though she ultimately abandoned it. Instead, theirs became a friendship that would last until Capote’s death on Aug. 25, 1984, at Carson’s home. He often visited her and, when working, used her office.
If you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, isn’t auctioning off somebody’s ashes after the prior owner’s death unethical?” then you’re not alone. Never fear, for Julien’s CEO Darren Julien suggests Capote loved press so much he probably wouldn’t mind. That, and since they sold “Napoleon’s penis years ago” and “William Shatner’s kidney stone for $75,000,” then ashes probably aren’t that bad after all.
(Via the Hollywood Reporter)