While a guitar gently weeps....
Σάββατο, 10 Ιαν 2004 @ 07:35
Mουσική : Μουσικά νέα - Συναυλίες - Δισκογραφία
George Harrison was forced to autograph a guitar on his deathbed for his Staten Island cancer doctor - and even had to endure an impromptu concert by the physician's 12-year-old son, a new bombshell lawsuit charges.
When the ailing Beatle told Dr. Gilbert Lederman he didn't believe he could even remember how to spell his world-famous name, the doctor allegedly grabbed his hand and guided the musician, letter by letter, through the signature.
"Dr. Lederman preyed upon Mr. Harrison while he was in a greatly deteriorated mental and physical condition" just two weeks before his death, charges a $10 million lawsuit filed yesterday in Brooklyn Federal Court by the legendary performer's estate.
Harrison's widow, Olivia, and their son, Dhani, also are seeking the autographed electric guitar signed shortly before the death of the intensely private Beatle in November 2001 at age 58.
The suit contends Lederman, who treated Harrison at Staten Island University Hospital, created a "circus atmosphere" by giving numerous press interviews and disclosing confidential information about the guitarist's treatment.
But Lederman's "most offensive, insensitive, bizarre and inappropriate" act, according to the suit, was bringing his son and two daughters to a Staten Island home where Harrison was staying while undergoing stereotactic radiosurgery treatment.
"Dr. Lederman took the children into the room where Mr. Harrison was bedridden and in great discomfort," the suit states. "Dr. Lederman had Mr. Harrison listen to his son play the guitar. Afterwards he took the guitar ... and put it in Mr. Harrison's lap" and asked him to sign it." Harrison resisted, telling Lederman, "I do not even know if I know how to spell my name anymore," the suit says.
At that point, the suit alleges, Lederman said, "Come on, you can do this." He then held the right hand that had picked so many classic solos and guided Harrison through the autograph.
A photograph of the doctor's son Ariel holding the guitar appeared in the National Enquirer two weeks after Harrison's death.
Ariel, now 14, and Lederman's daughters Eve, 10, and Sarah, 18, who allegedly received autographed cards from Harrison, also are named as defendants in the suit.
Harrison estate lawyer Paul LiCalsi said yesterday the legal action could have been averted had Lederman simply returned the autographed items and pledged not to talk anymore about the Beatle's health care.
He said Olivia Harrison has even offered to replace the guitar. "Objects associated with dead celebrities obviously have a market," LiCalsi said. "This kind of trafficking is ghoulish and reprehensible."
Lederman's lawyer Wayne Roth said the doctor, whose voice is heard on radio commercials for the hospital, has no desire to sell the guitar - but noted it had been appraised by Sotheby's at between $5,000 and $6,000.
"It's his son's guitar, and the Harrison family doesn't have any right to that guitar," Roth said. "I think patients sign things out of gratitude for their physicians all the time ... and when the truth comes out, you'll learn the extent of the relationship between Dr. Lederman and Harrison and the circumstances under which it was signed."
A spokeswoman for the hospital, which isalso named in the suit, said in a statement, "We have not violated patient confidentiality."
Lederman, the hospital's director of radiation oncology, was reprimanded last month by the state Health Department for gabbing about Harrison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.
Source: New York Daily News
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