--Art Cohn, The Nine Lives of Michael Todd
All on board perished, but Cohn’s manuscript, nearly finished, was safely back in Los Angeles. The book’s title had already been selected: the fate-tempting The First Nine Lives Michael Todd. Though evidently an affront to the gods, its title was apt. The showman entrepreneur had weathered a succession of highs and lows before becoming one of Hollywood’s most important producers after the success of the Academy Award-winning film Around the World in 80 Days. The publisher ignored the irony and kept the title almost as it was intended, only eliminating the word “first.” It was released posthumously with Cohn’s widow deciphering her husband’s notes to finish the final two chapters.
Legendary Hollywood director Billy Wilder had his own wry interpretation of the tragedy. See “And the Award for Additional Dying Goes to …” from the NHL blog earlier this year.