A Joanne Carson Footnote

In an interview last fall, Carson deemed her first chapter a "minor piece" but also "one of a kind."

Joanne Carson remained loyal to Truman Capote, and vice versa. We were reminded of this over the weekend because upon hearing of the passing of Carson at age 83, we re-read the interview she gave last fall to Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian.

Carson told the reporter than when she split from Johnny in 1970, all sorts of people abandoned her, including Joan Rivers. Six years later, when an excerpt from Answered Prayers was published in Esquire, Capote lost many so-called friends, but not Carson.

Capote spent a lot of time at Ms. Carson’s Bel Air home and pushed for her to write a book about her Hollywood experiences. From the LAT article:

“The book was Truman’s brilliant idea,” said Carson. He brought her to his publisher, Random House, where she pitched “Carson, Capote & Co.”

“Truman had the start of all these chapters laid out for me: ‘Cary Grant came over to sit at my table.’ Or ‘Marlon Brando was on his way to the Polo Lounge to have lunch with Johnny and me.’..”

But she didn’t have Capote’s killer instinct. “I was going to write a lovely story about my friendship with these people,” she said. But the editor assigned to work with her — whose name she can’t recall — wanted something less anodyne. She never picked up her pen again.

There is a single 38-page chapter from the book project, typed by Carson and heavily edited in longhand by Capote. Perhaps – via the executors of the estates – the edited version will be shared. It would be a nice way to remember the late Carson and her close friendship with the celebrated writer.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Artist Offers New Glimpse of Truman Capote at La Côte Basque