March 01, 2013

The Allan Sherman Story

I had no idea it ended like this:

After soaring, Sherman’s career un-soared, starting down hill in 1965. But those first two or three years, Allan Sherman later got summed up by Joe Smith as “he was The Moment. Even more than Peter, Paul & Mary, at that time, Allan Sherman was The Moment. You’re The Moment for a very short time; then you’re not The Moment anymore.”

By 1966, Warners dropped Sherman from its artist roster. Poor sales did it. 1966 also revealed real downs in Sherman’s own behavior. He ate and drank heavily. His Broadway musical failed. He tried to sing “well.” His wife sued for divorce and child custody. As Lou Busch recalled, “If ever I saw success ruin a guy, it was Allan. He blew the wife, the kids, and eventually, the money, too. He got difficult.”

Sherman began living on unemployment benefits again, staying in the Motion Picture Home in Calabasas, California. Feeling the hurt, Joe Smith in 1973 offered Sherman $5000 in advance for an album of golf routines.

76 Saul Cohens in the country club,
And a hundred and ten nice men named Levine!
And there’s more than a thousand Finks
Who parade around the links –
It’s a sight that really must be seen!

On November 20, 1973, WBR engineer Rudy Hill got a call. Sherman wanted a copy of what he’d recorded so far. Rudy took a copy up to Allen’s house in West L.A.

There, as Sherman began to eat some cabbage soup, he suffered a massive heart attack, caved to the floor, his head hitting with a clunk. Rudy Hill, alone with him, called the doctor. Hill tried giving Sherman mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, till Sherman regurgitated in Hill’s mouth. Paramedics came and began pumping Sherman’s heart. Twenty minutes. Then one of them said, “Let him go.”

“It was so cold,” Hill remembered. “I’d never seen anything so cold. I felt that I was in this other world. But there he was, that fat, obese man who’d made so many people happy, lying there on a cold floor.”

Allan Sherman died in West Hollywood in November, 1973, at age 49.

Posted by Dr. Frank at March 1, 2013 01:55 AM