2014-06-21 16:54:34 UTC
Las Vegas Online
Las Vegas - June 13, 2014
Received this from Bart Williams on Monday... I just got the confirmation that Mickey Deems died from cancer at home, as he wished to, on April 14th. His helper, James, who has been living with Mickey, is not "Show-biz" and did not inform the Unions or the Trades or the L.A. Times. I wish he had called me. When I spoke with him briefly today, he was on his way out the door to go to his own Doctor, as he himself is very ill. He promised to call me back, with more information. I will take the responsibility of getting the info to the right places, once I have a good talk with James. I loved Mick. He was always so generous with his time and talent. He was a very funny man, and a real throw-back to an earlier time of stage and film Comedy. Watch a clip from "Mike and Myer for Hire" on the Internet, and watch him work with Joey Faye. Those are Comedians! I feel very privileged to have worked with him closely on stage in the Cole Porter musical, Anything Goes, and in the U.S.O. days, with him Directing Mike Frome, Ann Gibbs, Ginny Tyler, Joel Kimmel and myself, in the fine art of "Burlesque Sketches." He made a terrific contribution to our documentary film, The Last First Comic, about the life and work of Irving Benson, who, still hale and hearty at 100 years old, is the last living "First Banana" of real Burlesque Theatre. Our cast list from the film is getting thinner and thinner. While I was in L.A. late last year, I visited Mickey at home, and we spent several hours talking about a million things. His working with Buster Keaton, Burlesque, Broadway, and the creation of a comedy performance. Years ago he gave me all of his scripts from the Broadway shows he was in. They have all his direction notes and his own comedy notations and alterations. They are now more precious to me than ever. When I was leaving, Mickey said, "I don't expect I'll be seeing you again, Bart. It's been great having you in my life, kid. Keep comedy alive, and think of me once in a while". I hugged his now skinny frame and kissed his cheek, and then sat in my car and cried, before driving away. I knew his death was coming, but I am feeling very low, over his now suddenly not being here to call for advice, or just to share some show-biz talk. Mickey Deems. A very funny man. With a heavy heart, Bart Williams.
Note from Cousin Claire - The gentleman eulogized in the above article was not married to Judy Garland. Her similarly named husband (one of many) was Mickey Deans.