When Barnaby Conrad was nearly killed in a 1958 bullfight, his celebrity pals were buzzing about it at Sardi's in New York.
"Did you hear about poor Barnaby?" Eva Gabor asked Noel Coward in her thick Hungarian accent. "He was terribly gored in Spain."
Shocked, Coward soon realized he'd misheard.
"Oh, thank heavens," he sighed. "I thought you said he was bored."
That would have been a surprise.
Barnaby Conrad Jr. — bullfighter, bon vivant, portrait artist, saloonkeeper to the stars, author of 36 books, and founder of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, led a life that was anything but boring. Ninety years old, he died Tuesday in his Carpinteria home after a battle with congestive heart disease.
"He wasn't necessarily the world's best novelist or the best bullfighter or best artist or best piano player or best nightclub owner, but he was very good at all of them," said his son Barnaby Conrad III. "He was like a pentathlete.
Bedridden but still sharp, he was reading a book when his doctor told him he had just three or four weeks to live."I guess I'd better read faster," he said.I'd never heard of him before, but I'm proud to have shared the planet with him from the day I was born until the day he died. Here's the LA Times obit. I'm sure I will be digging deeper.