“If it wasn’t for it being Truman Capote, it would have been disrespectful,” said Darren Julien, President and Chief Executive of Julien Auctions in LA. This was the first time the company had auctioned off human remains. In addition to his ashes, other Capote belongings were auctioned today including the shirt he was wearing when he died.
“Julien said he understands how some people may see the auction as disrespectful. But Capote wouldn’t think so, he said. “Truman Capote loved the element of shock,” Julien toldVanity Fair. “He loved publicity. And I’m sure he’s looking down laughing, and saying, ‘That’s something I would have done.”
Capote had befriended Joanne Carson, Johnny Carson’s ex-wife, and moved in with her in LA later in his life. After Capote died on August 25, 1984, some of his ashes remained with Carson in a carved wooden Japanese box. Joanne Carson’s estate put Capote’s ashes and belongings up for bid. Julien Auctions expected the ashes to bring between $4-6K but closed on $45K to a buyer who has remained anonymous.
Capote, one of the great American authors of the 20th century was best known for authoring “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1958) and “In Cold Blood” (1966).
Though born in New Orléans, Capote’s parents, Arch Persons and Lillie Mae Faulk, were Alabamians. In 1930, at age six, Capote was sent to live in Monroeville, AL, where he was cared for by four elderly, unmarried cousins. According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama “he also forged what would become a life-long friendship with next-door neighbor Nelle Harper Lee, who later won the Pulitzer Prize for her book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Capote appears in the novel as the character Dill.”