Del Close’s skull… is not

In July, the Chicago Tribune came out with a front-page article questioning whether improv guru Del Close’s famous donated-to-the-Goodman Theatre skull really was his skull. But it took the New Yorker to get iO Theater owner Charna Halpern to admit that the skull is actually from a medical supply house.

She now pleads guilty–with an explanation. “After Del died, I asked the hospital people if they would help me by taking off the head, and they just laughed,” she said recently. … After two days, the hospital insisted that Halpern remove Close’s body from the morgue, and she reluctantly had it cremated, head and all. A few days later, she went in search of a stand-in skull.

I’m not really sure this was ever really a controversy — back in July, Jeff Griggs, biographer of Close, said, “It’s not his skull, but the idea behind it is there. The idea should be preserved, if not the actual cranium.” But thanks to the New Yorker we now know what you need to do if you need to pretend to have a friend’s skull.

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