May 30, 2017

Jack Kevorkian: Dr. Death Becomes a Rock Star

By Roger Friedman

Dr. Jack Kevorkian: he helped 130 people to their deaths through assisted suicide. He spent 8 1/2 years in jail. And now, at the age of 82, Dr, Death is a rock star.

Last night was the New York premiere of Barry Levinson’s excellent new HBO about Kevorkian, “You Don’t Know Jack,” starring Al Pacino. The screening was at the Ziegfeld, with a heavy A list. The party was at the legendary Four Seasons restaurant. This is the top. You can’t do better than this kind of action.

At the Four Seasons, young girls in mini-skirts lined up to have their picture taken with Kevorkian. A listers like Bob Balaban, Michele Lee, and Garry Trudeau were guests. The Four Seasons served their famous lambchops and mashed potatoes.

The joke going around was: don’t even tell Dr. Kevorkian you have the sniffles. In case he’s trigger happy.

But seriously: Oscar winner Levinson has made an Emmy worthy movie, giving Pacino a nuanced performance–his best in many years. John Goodman and Danny Huston are very, very good in supporting roles, as is Susan Sarandon as Kevorkian’s right hand. Ordinarily Sarandon would be the female standout but “Jack” has a surprise: Brenda Vaccaro.

Youngsters may wonder: who is Brenda Vaccaro? Well, she was hot stuff–cute, smart and sexy–in the 60s and early 70s. Vaccaro was an “It” girl. sort of in the same category as Susan St. James and Stefanie Powers. She did tons of TV every year, dated everyone, and had a great role in a Best Picture, “Midnight Cowboy.”

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About Roger Friedman

Roger Friedman began his column in April after 10 years with Fox News where he helped create Friedman’s prior experience on the Internet is with MSN’s Cinemania column. Friedman also wrote the Intelligencer column as a contributing editor at "New York Magazine," where he covered the O.J. Simpson criminal trial. In addition, Friedman has been involved in book publishing and filmmaking (Only the Strong Survive). For more about Roger go to

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  • April 15, 2010 | Permalink |

    why would you ever want to get a picture taken with him, disgusting

  • April 15, 2010 | Permalink |

    Jack is a cool man he’s the only one that had the balls to help people,And the only one to have laws made just for him.
    Too many chicken sh-ts here in Michigan
    My hats off to you Jack

  • April 16, 2010 | Permalink |


  • April 27, 2010 | Permalink |

    I would have loved to have the Drs. assistance when my sister and mother were on their death bed. My sister fortunately was under heavy sdation. My mom was agonizing from 3 am til 4:20 the next afternoon when she drew her last breath. I watched her and I would have gladly put her out of her misery. She was 80, all her organs wee failing due to a staff infection. she was a diabetic that was almost blind and could’nt walk. She would have been first in line for it. we had discussed DR. Kevorkian many times. I think there should be centers for this. If you are terminally ill or if you are living witha painful dibilitating illnes, you should be able to choose to end it with dignity.
    I would very much like to know what the Dr. is doing today. I would love to write him a letter of thanks for all the help he gave at his own risk.

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