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ON THIS DAY: THE ESTATE OF GEORGE HARRISON STARTED A $10 MILLION LEGAL ACTION AGAINST DR. GILBERT LEDERMAN

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On This Day… The estate of George Harrison started a $10 million legal action against Dr. Gilbert Lederman of Staten Island University Hospital, claiming the doctor coerced George to sign souvenirs. The main allegations of the legal action was that Dr. Lederman got an extremely sick Harrison to sign his son’s guitar and autographs for his two daughters.

When the notorious cancer doctor Gil Lederman cadged an autograph from a dying George Harrison, the world was appalled.But as Lederman scrambles to salvage his reputation, the very nature of his experimental practice has come under attack.

On an evening in mid-November 2001, Gil Lederman made a judgment call that would bring him the kind of fame that even he had never dreamed possible. A bespectacled cancer doctor, he was already something of a local celebrity; his distinctive nasal monotone had been heard for years on New York talk-radio stations, promoting his revolutionary cancer treatment, fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery, at Staten Island University Hospital. But Lederman’s fame—as a kind of Dr. Zizmor of radiation oncology—paled in comparison with that of his patient, George Harrison, who was lying in a rented house near the hospital, dying of lung cancer that had invaded his brain.

Though he’d been treating Harrison for only about a month, Lederman thought they had bonded enough to warrant an unconventional house call. “I feel like a brother to him,” the doctor confided to another physician at his hospital. So, as any man with an ailing sibling would do, Lederman showed up that night on Harrison’s doorstep with his three children in tow, so that they might say hello and good-bye to Uncle George, who was leaving the next morning for California, where he would die two weeks later.

That night has become something of an outer-borough Rashomon. Depending on whose version you believe, Lederman either had a touching visit with Harrison or bullied a dying man in a declining mental state into creating a valuable piece of rock-and-roll memorabilia. The Harrison camp claimed as follows: Lederman showed up uninvited and instructed his 13-year-old son, Ariel, to strum a song on his Yamaha electric guitar. When the performance was over, Lederman put the guitar in Harrison’s lap and asked him to sign it. “I do not even know if I know how to spell my name anymore,” responded an exhausted Harrison. “C’mon, you can do this,” said Lederman, guiding his hand and spelling his name aloud: G-E-O-R-G-E H-A-R-R-I-S-O-N.

Lederman insisted to friends that Harrison invited the children over and happily signed the guitar. The shaky scrawl of the signature itself is inconclusive—it could have been written under duress or simply signed by a willing star on a great deal of medication. Nevertheless, once the Harrison estate sued the doctor for $10 million and the press got their mitts on the legal complaint, Lederman became a popular tabloid target. At the peak of the frenzy, he was labeled a “ghoul” and a “scumbag.” “Page Six” even ran a cartoon depicting him chasing Keith Richards with a pen and guitar. “I’m not on my deathbed!” Richards yells. It seemed like the ultimate disgrace for a Harvard-trained, triple board-certified physician who should have been amassing yacht money or doing Lasker Award–quality research at that point in his life. Then again, Lederman’s behavior at Harrison’s deathbed wasn’t a complete surprise to those who’d been watching his curious approach to his career. “My sense of the guy is that he’s just somebody who doesn’t get it,” says a prominent radiation oncologist who’s met him on several occasions. “His social skills aren’t there.” But it turns out that questionable manners may be the least pernicious of Lederman’s sins. The doctor is now facing half a dozen multi-million-dollar civil suits, some of which accuse him of bilking terminal cancer patients by luring them with promises of a miracle cure.

Lederman’s defenders claim that the Harrison matter has turned a caring, innovative physician into the kind of wounded game that trial lawyers love to hunt. “Lederman prides himself on taking the most challenging cases that nobody else wants, cases where patients have not been given any hope whatsoever. He’s not offering them a cure but an option,” says Andrew Garson, an attorney who defended Lederman in two previous malpractice cases and believes the recent spate of lawsuits stems from his client’s bad press. Even a judge weighing a recent change-of-venue request acknowledged that Lederman had been through the ringer. His decision played off Harrison’s “Something”: “Something in the folks he treats / Attracts bad press like no other doctor.”

Lederman’s defenders claim that the Harrison matter has turned a caring, innovative physician into the kind of wounded game that trial lawyers love to hunt. “Lederman prides himself on taking the most challenging cases that nobody else wants, cases where patients have not been given any hope whatsoever. He’s not offering them a cure but an option,” says Andrew Garson, an attorney who defended Lederman in two previous malpractice cases and believes the recent spate of lawsuits stems from his client’s bad press. Even a judge weighing a recent change-of-venue request acknowledged that Lederman had been through the ringer. His decision played off Harrison’s “Something”: “Something in the folks he treats / Attracts bad press like no other doctor.” But others contend that the Harrison case was just a symptom of Lederman’s larger pathology of being singularly unable to grasp right and wrong when dealing with the fragile emotions of desperately ill people. “The real issue with Gil is the following,” says Jay Loeffler, chief of radiation oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Is he a genius, far ahead of his time? Or is he a scoundrel?”
Like any businessman, Lederman knew that testimonials work even better when they come from celebrities. He turned the walls of his waiting room into the kind of celebrity shrine you see in Italian red-sauce joints. Sick and dying patients could behold signed photos from the hodgepodge of luminaries he’d treated or met: Curtis Sliwa praised his “brainiac doc” near photos of Lederman chatting with Rudy Giuliani, not far from the shot of Marilyn Quayle visiting the department. Henry Kissinger, Elie Wiesel, and Charo received equal places of honor.
Lederman’s canny sense of self-promotion seemed to be paying off. By the late nineties, as many as 140 patients would cycle through the department on a given day. The linear accelerators whirred and pivoted around their bodies from 6 A.M. to midnight, five nights a week, and even on Saturdays. The hospital started an International Patient Program and opened an office in Naples, Italy. Soon, sick people from all over the world were flying in. Even an ailing Beatle was willing to give the magic ray gun a shot. Lederman was summoned to the Harrisons’ Swiss villa to make his case for treatment.

Once Harrison arrived in Staten Island, Lederman basked in his reflected limelight. He told a friend that he was spending so much time with the rock star that his kids wondered if he’d ever be home to cook dinner again. “Gil said George Harrison didn’t want anybody else taking care of him,” the friend says. “He wanted Gil to be on 24/7.” Lederman told another doctor that Harrison offered to autograph things for him, saying, “I can make you a very rich man,” and that Lederman had politely declined: “I’m already a rich man. I don’t need you to autograph for that purpose.” Some doctors who saw the two together say they looked like close friends. “That’s ridiculous,” says another source who was at the hospital every day. “You might have seen Lederman behaving tenderly. But George was barely coherent at times.” Lederman, the source says, spent only about three hours total in Harrison’s presence, and his behavior was “cloying.” As for that close bond? The morning before Harrison left the hospital, Lederman came into his room in a bright mood. As the doctor waxed on about his mother, Harrison, according to the source, spoke three measured words: “Please . . . stop . . . talking.”

But it wasn’t these interactions that set off alarm bells in the Harrison camp; it was the feeling that Lederman intended to use Harrison to promote his treatment. Before long, Lederman popped up on The Early Show with Bryant Gumbel, who introduced him as the doctor treating Harrison. And when the rock star died, Lederman gave touching anecdotes to Good Morning America, CNN, NBC, Fox News, Us Weekly, Newsweek, the New York Post, the Daily News, a variety of British tabloids, and the National Enquirer, which somehow got the erroneous impression that Harrison had been convalescing in Lederman’s own Staten Island home. He told reporters about the spiritual quest that led Harrison to India, how the Harrison he knew was a simple man who would have been happy planting trees, and how Harrison was in no pain and wasn’t afraid of death. He even allowed the Enquirer into his home to take a photo of his son, Ariel, playing the guitar that generous George had signed for him. Of course, many of the stories also mentioned Lederman as a “top cancer specialist” who “pioneered” a “revolutionary cancer surgery” that had a “90 percent success rate.”

The exceedingly private Harrison family, however, wasn’t interested in allowing the former Beatle to become Lederman’s pitchman from the great beyond. To stop the doctor from talking about her dead husband, Olivia Harrison filed a complaint with the State Board of Professional Medical Conduct, which fined and censured Lederman for revealing too much about his patient. To prevent the autographed guitar from potentially ending up on eBay, she slapped him with a $10 million lawsuit. (As part of the settlement, Lederman relinquished the guitar and agreed not to speak further about Harrison or the case.) The same week the case was filed, SIUH announced that Lederman would be replaced as director of radiation oncology.

According to a doctor at the hospital, Lederman blamed this unfortunate series of events on the fact that Olivia Harrison was “a little jealous that [George’s] attention was being devoted more to Gil than to her.”
To put it kindly, Lederman seems to have a creative relationship with the facts, whether about his friendship with a former Beatle or the possibilities of a cancer treatment. From the beginning, the way that Lederman and the hospital advertised radiosurgery raised eyebrows in the medical community. “I’d pick up the Sunday Times and see these bold advertisements that said, ‘If you’ve been told you have an incurable brain tumor, come to Staten Island University Hospital,’ ” says Loeffler. “I thought that was a little deceptive, because if you’ve been told this, the reality is that it’s probably true.”

nymag

 




MERCEDES-BENZ 500SEL AMG ONCE BELONGED TO GEORGE TO AUCTION

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His black-on-black Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL AMG will be up for grabs at an Anglia Car Auctions sale next January.

For those times when a red Ferrari wasn’t appropriate, this still potent — yet more subtle — Mercedes fit the bill for Harrison. It provided all of the comfort and luxury of a contemporary German saloon, while also delivering thundering performance via the talented work of tuner AMG.This V8 super saloon received additional upgrades at Harrison’s request with items such as lower suspension, subtly aggressive bodywork, those distinctive Penta alloy wheels, and a wired phone.

George clearly loved his AMG as it is one of the few cars he kept for a prolonged period of time — some 18 years. He covered over 30,000 miles in the car before passing it on to fellow musician Ray Cooper, just a year prior to the Beatles legend dying in 2001.

Between 2013 and 2017 the car was stored, but has undergone some restoration work within the past year to the tune of £10,000 ($12,600). Today it has 61,000 miles on its odometer and comes complete with an extensive history file and original service book, not to mention a letter from the DVLA confirming the car’s rock star provenance.

The car actually made a brief cameo in the Beatles music video of ‘Real Love’, adding to its classic car fame.
According to the lot description, the Mercedes is only for sale due to ‘a change of direction of the collection it resides within.’ The AMG hits the auction block on 26 January 2019 with an estimate of £50,000 – £70,000 ($63,000 – $88,500).

autoclassics

ON THIS DAY: THE HOME OF GEORGE IN HAWAII WAS BROKEN

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On this day: The home of George in Maui, Hawaii was broken into by a 27-year-old woman called Cristin Keleher.

He had owned the property since the early 1980s, and had long sought to keep it a private residence away from public gaze. He and his wife Olivia were not present at the time of the break-in.

Keleher cooked a pizza taken from the house’s freezer, drank a bottle of soda and called her mother. Her presence triggered an alarm, and police were quickly alerted.

An aerial view of the hideaway home of  George, April 28, 2000 in Hana, Maui. Harrison’s stalker, Cristin Joyce Keleher, 27, was released from jail on August 18, 2000 after she was arrested trespassing George’s home.

By the time the police arrived, Keleher was doing her laundry at the George’ home. When asked why she had broken in, she told them: “I thought I had a psychic connection with George”. She said she had entered the property through an open sliding glass door.

Keleher was released on bail – he amount was reduced from $10,000 to $1,500 after her attourney told a court hearing that she would be able to stay on the island if she were released – with an initial hearing set for January 2000.

In April 2000 she pleaded guilty to theft and burglary, and was imprisoned for four months. The prosecution in the Hawaiian courtroom said she had been stalking Harrison for years.

In 2006 Cristin Keleher’s body was found in a car in California along with that of another man, Stanley Everett Merchant. Both had sustained gunshot wounds to their heads. “From the investigation it appears that she was shot first and then he shot himself, so it is a murder-suicide,” Nevada County Sheriff’s Sergeant Shannan Moon said.

ON THIS DAY: GEORGE PLAYED AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

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ON THIS DAY:  19 December, 1974: George Harrison played at Madison Square Garden.

It was the penultimate show of the Dark Horse tour. Hours before, George and Paul McCartney signed The Beatles disintegration papers. Sitting in the audience were Paul and Linda.

“[I]n retrospect, the tour was revolutionary in its presentation of Indian music, and for Harrison’s refusal to pander to his own ego as a performer. Inexplicably to many, Harrison did not take himself too seriously – to close the last night at Madison Square Garden he simply said, ‘It’ll all come out in the wash.’” – While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison

Among the audience, in disguise, were Paul and Linda McCartney. Chris O’Dell recalls the following in her book:

“The final show was on December 20, and there was tension in the air as George and his band prepared to ascend the stage at Madison Square Garden. Ravi had just come offstage after performing to a less than enthusiastic crowd, and we were all a little nervous about this final show of shows.
‘Paul’s in the audience,’ Barry Imhoff whispered. ‘Here are his seat numbers. Go out and find him, see if he wants to come backstage.”Paul McCartney?’ I asked in surprise. ‘No, Paul Revere, you schmuck.’ Sometimes Barry could be a real jerk. This was Barry’s half-assed idea, I knew that much. George would have figured that if Paul wanted backstage passes, he would have asked for them. But I had my orders and headed into the audience in search of Paul. I should have trusted my gut feelings.

Standing on the main floor some twenty rows from the stage looking at a sea of unfamiliar faces, with just minutes to go before George walked onto the stage, I searched for the seat numbers that Barry had given me. Two complete strangers were sitting in those seats. I looked back at the numbers and back at the faces, trying to figure out what was going on, and then I recognized Paul and Linda. They were in disguise, wearing wigs and makeup. Paul had a fake beard. I never would have recognized them if I hadn’t known where they were sitting.

I pushed my way past the people in the row behind, stepping on toes, excusing myself over and over again until I was directly behind them. I leaned down and touched Paul on the shoulder.
‘Hi, guys,’ I said.
They jerked around, startled.
‘Do you want to come backstage?’ I said, and I knew from the looks on their faces that I had screwed up.
‘Chris. Shhh,’ Linda whispered.
‘Go away, Chris,’ Paul added, ‘before anyone knows we’re here.’

I backed out of there as fast as I could, trying not to step on feet, humiliated, furious with Barry, and angry at myself for not following my instincts. There I was with a tour pass proudly dangling from my blouse, announcing to the world that someone important might be in that row. I should have known better. I made a mistake and even now the memory makes me want to turn back the clock to the moment when Barry gave me the seat numbers and asked me to find Paul.
‘No, Barry,’ I should have said, ‘I’m not going out there. If they want to come backstage, they know the way.’” – Miss O’Dell

 

Setlist:

Hari’s on Tour (Express)
Something
In My Life
Will It Go Round in Circles(Billy Preston)
Sue Me, Sue You Blues
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom(Ravi Shankar)
Jai Sri Kalij(Ravi Shankar)
Na Na Dahni(Ravi Shankar)
Cheparte(Ravi Shankar)
Anurag(Ravi Shankar)
I Am Missing You(Ravi Shankar)
For You Blue
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)
Sound Stage of Mind
Tom Cat (Tom Scott)
Māya Love
Dark Horse
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Nothing from Nothing (Billy Preston)
Outa-Space (Billy Preston)
What Is Life

Encore:
My Sweet Lord

 

ON THIS DAY: DARK HORSE WAS RELEASED IN THE US.

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9 December, 1974: On this day, Dark Horse was released in the US.

Dark Horse is the fifth studio album by George, released on Apple Records in December 1974. Although keenly anticipated on release, Dark Horse is associated with the controversial North American tour that Harrison staged with Indian classical musician Ravi Shankar in November and December that year. This was the first US tour by a member of the Beatles since 1966, and the public’s nostalgia for the band, together with Harrison contracting laryngitis during rehearsals and choosing to feature Shankar so heavily in the program, resulted in scathing concert reviews from some influential music critics.

The Dark Horse album was written and recorded during an extended period of upheaval in George’s personal life, when he dedicated much of his energies to business issues such as setting up Dark Horse Records. Author Simon Leng refers to the album as “a musical soap opera, cataloguing rock-life antics, marital strife, lost friendships, and self-doubt”,due to its focus on Harrison’s split with first wife Pattie Boyd and his temporary withdrawal from the spiritual certainties of his previous work.

The album features an array of guest musicians – including Tom Scott, Billy Preston, Willie Weeks, Andy Newmark, Jim Keltner, Ringo Starr, Gary Wright and Ron Wood – and produced two hit singles, “Dark Horse” and “Ding Dong, Ding Dong”. It showed Harrison moving towards the funk and soul musical genres. The album was not well received by the majority of critics at the time. Dark Horse was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America within days of release, but it became George’s first solo album not to chart in Britain. The cover was designed by Tom Wilkes and consists of a school photograph from Harrison’s time at the Liverpool Institute superimposed onto a Himalayan landscape. The album was reissued in remastered form on 22 September 2014, as part of the Apple Years 1968–75 Harrison box set.

 

Track listing

Side one

  1. “Hari’s on Tour (Express)”
  2. “Simply Shady”
  3. “So Sad” – 5:00
  4. “Bye Bye, Love” (Felice Bryant, Boudleaux Bryant, Harrison)
  5. “Māya Love” –

Side two

  1. “Ding Dong, Ding Dong”
  2. “Dark Horse”
  3. “Far East Man” (Harrison, Ron Wood)
  4. “It Is ‘He’ (Jai Sri Krishna)”

2014 reissue bonus tracks

  1. “I Don’t Care Anymore”
  2. “Dark Horse (Early Take)”


GEORGE HARRISON BANJO AMONG ITEMS FOR AUCTION IN PENSACOLA

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Owner Robert Garth holds a George Harrison banjo at Garth´s Auction & Antiques on Navy Boulevard in Pensacola.

The Banjo and other items will be up for sale during their auction today.