I was working as his editor on his last book, a tribute to the Joe DiMaggio/Marilyn Monroe love story, and he called me just minutes before he collapsed to talk about the book. It was nearly finished; we had only the last chapter to fix, and he had all but “I dunno — maybe 15 or 16 pages” ready to roll. His death was sudden, and when his friend Francesca called me to tell he he had died, all I could think was, “But he promised he’d call me tonight.”
I will ever hear the echo of that last conversation, will have in my ear the sound of his belabored breathing on the other side of the phone line, his gravely voice signing off with, “Okay. I’ll talk to you later. I’ll call you tonight. Is around 9 okay? I just wanna get this thing done.”
It’s a good book, perhaps his best; he was so careful, meticulous about the details, wanting everything to be right so that the book honors the memory of two people for whom he had a clear admiration and, especially, the name of DiMaggio’s poor, lost son, who died the same year as his father. He fussed over the three of them, worried about every little word he said of them; they were his children.
Working with/for David was an adventure, and being his friend was a daily revelation. As his wife Bea once told me, “Life with David’s never boring!” I wrote a farewell piece for my company DAPTD’s’s blog, and I’ll share it here. http://daptd.com/home/2012/05/17/farewell-to-great-gossip-and-a-fondness-for-cigars/
DAPTD will miss you, David. But I’ll miss you more!