These victories made Richman a rich man. They also benefited his hated rival, Roesler, the Indianapolis attorney who lured away several of Richman's dead clients, including Marilyn Monroe.
Roesler is the attack dog of the dead-celeb biz, employing 12 lawyers to sue anybody who dares use one of his deceased stars' images without ponying up the dough. For example, he sued Spike Lee, director of the movie "Malcolm X," on behalf of Malcolm's widow, Betty Shabazz, over control of Malcolm memorabilia.
"Shabazz won undisclosed damages that Roesler can only describe as being 'in the seven figures,' " Brott writes, "and then proceeded to put out her own line of mementos, which included air fresheners."
These days, Roesler is using new technologies to find work for his dead clients. He recently licensed Laurence Olivier's morphed image for a posthumous movie appearance. Now he's negotiating with a studio for a new film that will star a morphed Marilyn Monroe and a morphed James Dean.
"It is unclear," Brott writes, "whether their estates will allow them to have sex."
Los Angeles magazine is widely available in Los Angeles. Fortunately, it can also be found at larger newsstands in the Washington area.
For All Time's Sake
Rolling Stone has published a "special collectors issue" titled "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."
Actually, "All Time" turns out to be "the rock & roll era." A panel of distinguished savants -- including Joni Mitchell, Ozzy Osbourne and Jello Biafra -- voted for their favorite songs and the accounting firm of Ernst & Young tabulated the votes. And the greatest song of all time is (drumroll, please) . . .
"Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan!
Following close behind are "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones, "Imagine" by John Lennon and --
Wait a minute! Hold it right there. Didn't Rolling Stone do this same thing last year?
No, it just seems that way. Last year, Rolling Stone published "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time." And in 2002, RS published "Readers Poll Results: 100 Greatest Albums of All Time." Which came out six months after "The 50 Coolest Albums of All Time."
Meanwhile, this year RS has published a cover story on great rock musicians -- "The Immortals: 50 Greatest of All Time" -- and a special issue of rock photographs -- "The 50 Greatest Portraits and the Stories Behind Them."
All of this raises some questions: Is Rolling Stone becoming a nostalgia magazine for aging baby boomers? Or is rock-and-roll a dying art form that isn't producing new music worth writing about? Or both?