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CBS (ended 1967)

Bennett Cerf - Unknown Cause of Death

  • Avatar of Stan16mm


    [1]Mar 19, 2008
    • member since: 03/28/06
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    His ashes were scattered at his Mount Kisco Home, he taped a week's worth of WML shows three weeks before he died, but does anyone know the exact cause of his death? Perhaps a heart attack, but I'm not certain.

    And while I'm at it, does the Cerf family still own the family home?

    Edited on 03/20/2008 10:22pm
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  • Avatar of stopettearoma


    [2]Mar 20, 2008
    • member since: 11/23/06
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    The family sold the Mt. Kisco home sometime in the 1970s, but they kept the Manhattan townhouse on East 62nd Street until 2007. I cannot post a URL link here, but all you have to do is Google the name "jonathan cerf" and you will get an article about this sale. Don't Google Chris or Christopher Cerf because he likes being in the public eye much more than his brother. You will get many hits for Chris' collaboration with Marlo Thomas on this or that, and the political correctness dictionary, etc. Jonathan's name turns up almost exclusively in stuff about his mother Phyllis and the sale of the townhouse after her death.

    The 2007 Midwest Today article on Dorothy Kilgallen, which is easy to Google, used Dorothy's hairdresser Marc Sinclaire as a source. The magazine has video and audio of Sinclaire talking about other people he knew besides Dorothy, and wouldn't you know he did Phyllis Cerf's hair many times over a period of many years ? Sinclaire provides details about the Cerf family that have never been published. He says that about a year before Bennett died, Phyllis' cousin Ginger Rogers was vacationing with her fifth husband in Paris when the husband dumped her, taking all her money and all her clothes. The only thing Ginger could do was make an emergency transatlantic phone call to Phyllis, who bailed her out. Phyllis paid for a plane ticket and gave Ginger a place to sleep in the servants' quarters on East 62nd Street. If you check books about Ms. Rogers, you will notice that they sidestep the issue of how the fifth husband disappeared and who came to the actress' aid. As for Bennett, the only part of Marc Sinclaire's information on him that I care to repeat here is that Bennett suffered from Alzheimers during the last few months of his life. He played with children's toys, including a hat with a spinning propeller on top. Sinclaire witnessed this when he showed up at the townhouse at Bennett's request to cut the hair he had left.

    Bennett insisted on answering the townhouse telephone, which made Phyllis very concerned about the effect this might have on Random House. She and Chris still did a lot of work for the company. If you check the New York Times on its web site, you will find that the cause of death was initially reported as a possible heart attack but the reporter was awaiting word of an autopsy. The follow - up articles never discussed the autopsy. They focused on the last will and testament. There were two other New York City daily papers in 1971, the Post and the Daily News, but their articles from that era are not online. You must read microfilm at the New York Public Library or the Library of Congress.

    Edited on 03/20/2008 10:20pm
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  • Avatar of astorino


    [3]Mar 21, 2008
    • member since: 06/07/03
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    Stan16mm wrote:
    And while I'm at it, does the Cerf family still own the family home?

    Stan, we have a 2006 forum thread about Bennett's home. I'll bring it to the front so you can read it.

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