Truman Capote’s life was a magnet for drama, whether it was his friendship with the reclusive Harper Lee, his presence in New York City social circles, or the line-blurring investigations that led to his acclaimed true-crime masterpiece In Cold Blood. That drama continued after the author’s 1984 death, as well. After Capote died in the Bel-Air mansion of Joanne Carson (wife of The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson), his ashes were kept there in an urn. They were actually stolen two different times over the years, but safely returned on both occasions. Following Carson’s death last year, Capote’s ashes are now set to be auctioned off in California next month, with a starting price of $2,000.
“With some celebrities this wouldn’t be tasteful, but I know 100% he would love it,” Julien’s Auctions president Darren Julien told The Guardian. “He loved to create press opportunities and to read his name in the paper. I think he would love it that he’s still grabbing headlines today.”
The ashes are set to sell Sept. 24, as part of Julien’s Auctions’ “Icons & Idols: Hollywood” auction that promises fans and buyers “a chance to peek inside the lives of some of Hollywood’s most famous stars.” Julien told Vanity Fair that the company did wrestle with the ethical implications of selling human remains, but ultimately decided that it was acceptable in this case, given Capote’s love for the dramatic.
“It’s really body parts [that you have to worry about],” Julien said. “You can’t sell things like that. But, I will say, Christie’s sold Napoleon’s penis years ago. And we sold William Shatner’s kidney stone for $75,000. There’s all kinds of precedents for this. Like I said, if it wasn’t Truman Capote, we would pass because we wouldn’t want to be disrespectful. And the antics he was always up to, and how much he loved press—it’s no question that that is something he would have wanted done.”