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Bobby Driscoll Paintings at The Santa Monica Museum of Art

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Posted by Brian Keith O'Hara

Most people, if they remember Bobby Driscoll at all, remember him for dying alone of a heart attack at age 31 in an abandoned tenement in New York City. He now lies buried in an unmarked pauper's grave on Hart Island in New York. Bobby won an Oscar at 12-years-old, but was fired by Walt Disney because he developed acne. After that his life collapsed. He was 16 when he was fired for pimples and 17 when he injected heroin for the first time.

The Pauper's Cemetery is run by the New York Department of Corrections and staffed with prison guards and prisoners. Hart Island lies along Long Island sound within yards of millions of people, but No visitors are allowed. It truly is a prison for the dead.

If I could have my way, I would turn Hart Island into a park. I would run a ferry there and never charge anyone to go there. I would welcome all who are willing to come and visit. Having never gotten enough love during their lifetimes, the people buried there should receive all the love we have to share. And all of our love would still not be enough. Like Oliver Twist, they deserve more... They deserve paradise, because they have already been to hell.

My opinion is irrelevant because I don't count, The Department of Corrections opinion is irrelevant because they don't care; and The State of New York is irrelevant because to them it is a question of money.

It should be a question of love. I believe that the only people who have earned the right to decide the fate of the people buried on Hart Island are the people who loved them. Bobby deserves that much, anyone does.........everyone does.

In 2005, The Santa Monica Museum of Art, in association with The Getty Museum, will have a retrospective of the works of Modern Artist Wallace Berman. Mr. Berman's collected works and letters are in The Smithsonian Institution. The exhibition at The Santa Monica Museum of Art will include works by his colleagues and proteges. Among the paintings exhibited will be three paintings by Bobby Driscoll. Mr. Berman was a Mentor to Bobby. Bobby also studied under Andy Warhol and was a frequent visitor to his studio, The Factory, on 47th Street.

No one should be remembered for the way they died; they should only be remembered for the way they lived.
I never met Bobby though I have met some of his friends. I like him and I know that I would have been lucky to have had him as a friend.
People should remember Bobby as an actor, an artist and a poet: not a bad legacy that.

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