Kevorkian’s life story became the subject of the 2010 HBO movie, “You Don’t Know Jack,” which earned actor Al Pacino Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for his portrayal of Kevorkian. Pacino paid tribute to Kevorkian during his Emmy acceptance speech and recognized the world-famous former doctor, who sat smiling in the audience.
Pacino said during the speech that it was a pleasure to “try to portray someone as brilliant and interesting and unique” as Kevorkian and a “pleasure to know him.”
Kevorkian himself said he liked the movie and enjoyed the attention it generated, but told The Associated Press that he doubted it would inspire much action by a new generation of assisted-suicide advocates.
“You’ll hear people say, `Well, it’s in the news again, it’s time for discussing this further.’ No it isn’t. It’s been discussed to death,” he said. “There’s nothing new to say about it. It’s a legitimate ethical medical practice as it was in ancient Rome and Greece.”
Kevorkian’s fame _ or notoriety _ also made him fodder for late-night comedians’ monologues and sitcoms. His name became cultural shorthand for jokes about hastening the end of life.
Even admirers couldn’t resist. Adam Mazer, the Emmy-winning writer for “You Don’t Know Jack,” got off one of the best lines of the 2010 Emmy telecast.
“I’m grateful you’re my friend,” Mazer said, looking out at Kevorkian. “I’m even more grateful you’re not my physician.”
While Kevorkian was known for advocating physician-assisted suicide, he also was an artist whose works are displayed at the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, Mass. Much of his art deals with dying, including a depiction of Americans’ fear that shows a human clawing the walls as he’s dragged to his death, curator Gary Lind-Sinanian said.
When asked in 2010 how his own epitaph should read, Kevorkian said it should reflect what he believes to be his “real virtue.
“I am quite honest. I have trouble lying. I don’t like people who lie.”
Associated Press writers Jeff Karoub and Ed White contributed to this report.