This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with Burt Kearns, author (along with Jeff Abraham) of “THE SHOW WON’T GO ON: The Most Shocking, Bizarre, and Historic Deaths of Performers Onstage.” In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Kearns talks about the fascinating number of performers who have died onstage, including those who have died on stage in Las Vegas or who have performed here and died elsewhere; the authors’ desire to make this book a recognition of these performers’ contributions, rather than simply a macabre recitation of their deaths on stage; the reaction of relatives and loved ones to publication of the book and their willingness to talk to the authors; and recognition that performers continue to died after the publication of the book.
Kearns is a television and motion picture producer, director, writer, journalist — and author of the controversial tabloid television memoir, Tabloid Baby. His credits include Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, Kardashian: The Man Who Saved OJ Simpson, and The Seventh Python. With two-time Academy Award winner Albert S. Ruddy, he wrote and produced a Burt Reynolds movie: the 20th Century Fox feature film, Cloud 9.
Abraham is a comedy historian and the go-to pop culture expert for television producers, documentary directors and authors. As an entertainment publicist, he’s represented comedy giants including Andrew Dice Clay, Steve Harvey, George Lopez, Bill Maher and, for the last eleven years of his life, George Carlin. He’s also owner and curator of one of the world’s largest comedy album archives, and is on the board of The National Comedy Center.
Kearns and Abraham contribute outtakes and related stories like “The Murder of Alfalfa” to the website PleaseKillMe.com. They also drove to Las Vegas together last summer to attend the Jerry Lewis auction.