Looking back, I notice that a number of my blog entries are eulogies or discussions of death.  Odd, I know, intermixed as they are with my more irreverent and humorous musings.  But I suppose it’s an homage to age – the older I get, the more people around me die.

I’m struggling with how to present this entry without being crass, impolite, self-centered, or disrespectful, but here goes…

Death has done a number on my career.  There are people walking around who inherited fortunes because someone died and there are people who received the opportunity of a lifetime because someone blocking their way died and they were moved up.  For me, when people die, it always seems to set me back.

Yesterday, famed motion picture director and producer Anthony Minghella, Oscar winner for “The English Patient,” director of “Cold Mountain,” and producer of “Michael Clayton,” died.  We never met, yet I mourn his loss with altruistic humanism as well as with selfishness.

Along with triumphs and despair, life is often a series of near misses.  I try not to talk much about the near misses for they remain just that.  Near misses are the basis of tears-in-beers bar talk that many often disbelieve.

At the time of his death, Mr. Minghella had been pitched, had requested, and was considering optioning THE FOURTH HOUSE for film.  To have this “hot” Academy Award winner associated with my little book would have been akin to hitting the lottery.  Forget the “B” list; this would have been a major budget, major Hollywood production with the biggest and the best names in the industry.  But alas …

This has happened to me before.  When “Fourth House” was making the rounds in New York prior to publication, the first editor to show interest in it was the legendary Leona Nevler.  Leona is famous for having discovered and shepherded “Peyton Place,” which, for those of you too young to remember, was the Harry Potter/DaVinci Code/biggest selling book of its era.  No sooner had she expressed her enthusiasm in acquiring “Fourth House” than she, too, passed away.  Luckily, I was blessed with the equally illustrious Carole Baron who took a like interest in acquiring and editing me.

About ten years ago, I was running all over Broadway looking for someone to produce my musical, “The Honeymooners,” based upon the famed TV sitcom.  David Merrick, for whom the word “legendary” is too small, read it and requested a staged reading – a trial performance, as it may.  Merrick, quite simply, was Broadway’s single most famous producer EVER.  “Mame”, “Hello Dolly”, “Carnival!”, Oliver!”, “Stop the World – I Want to Get Off”, “I Do! I Do!”, “Promises, Promises”, “Gypsy” – the list is simply endless.

I put the staged reading into rehearsal.  Mr. Merrick died.  We performed anyway.  The project lays stillborn — as I’ve referred to it: “The Greatest Musical No One’s Ever Heard”.

And so, again, death visits me from a distance.

Peace … and rest in peace,