The Man Who Wasn’t There
Each week, we select the most interesting Jewish obituary. This week, it’s that of Barry Bremen, who died June 30 at 64 and who made a living (or said he did) out of being many people who were not Barry Bremen. In fact, his hobby was not particularly remunerative, but it sure seems fun: By stealing jerseys, he snuck into the warm-ups for the 1979 NBA All Star Game; donned a uniform and wig, shaved his legs, and appeared briefly as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader; and came very close to accepting an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1985. In fact, Bremen was a 6’4″, Jewish insurance salesman based out of Detroit.
How did he stay out of serious trouble for all of his impersonations, some of which surely touched lines of legality and certainly of propriety? It was because he so genuinely loved doing it, and so clearly was not seeking to gain anything from his schtick other than personal satisfaction. “Ultimately, ironically, the Great Impostor was the most genuine of men,” Jeremy Schapp eulogized.