The death of a friend of monumental proportions.
In 1978, when my wife and I were having dinner at Mr Chow and I was 34 years old and all of Hollywood seemed to be opening up to be my oyster, I met a couple named Sid and Martha Dauman. Sid was a super debonair, elegant, artist/designer/businessman. His wife was a beautiful, tall, thin mother of three in Chanel. They had become fans from reading my diary of my first year in Hollywood, DREEMZ.
We became inseparable friends and had dinner two or three times a week for about five years. Sid and Martha’s sons from this marriage, Jason and Claude, often joined us. They were teenagers or in their early twenties at that time. We sometimes say Martha’s daughter from her first marriage, Susie.
In 1983, Martha died of cancer after a brave and cheerful fight. Sid started keeping company with a lovely young woman named Leslie. She cared for him for the next twenty-five years, often with extreme skill and determination.
The family housekeeper, Anna, also took wonderful care of Sid, who was never the same after Martha died.
Sid developed Alzheimer’s about ten years ago. It went slowly at first and then revved into high gear. Along with pulmonary and throat infections, that disease took his life on June 25.
Sid had been a friend of monumental proportions to me and my wife. Supportive, caring, enthusiastic, Republican. A great, great man.
This is the eulogy I gave for him on Monday, a week ago, in Los Angeles:
To every thing there is a season,
And a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to reap.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to break down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
This is our time to mourn. But it is also our time to rejoice that we had the blessing to know Sid Dauman.
When I told my friend Barron Thomas about Sid’s entry into immortality, he gasped and said, “What a gentleman.”
And in a way, that sums it up.
Of course, the longer story is worth hearing and being amazed at hearing.
Sid Dauman. Born in modest economic circumstances in Brooklyn, New York. Father was a designer of handbags. Brilliant, ahead of his time designer of handbags. Sought out by the finest stores and shops.
But it was a hard living and when Sid was a small child, his family moved back to France, where they had extended family. Sid’s father joined the French Foreign Legion. Sid and his brother, George, and mother stayed in Paris. Once, when Sid and his mother were talking to each other in Yiddish on a Paris bus, a man shouted at Sid, “Parle Français, Jupain,” which is translated roughly as “Speak French, Jewboy.”
I doubt he would have said it to the teenage Sid.
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