- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2009

Head case

A new book by a former employee of Alcor, the company that froze Ted Williams‘ remains, claims the Baseball Hall of Famer’s body was mistreated by the company, ESPN.com news services reports.

In his book “Frozen: My Journey Into the World of Cryonics, Deception and Death,” Larry Johnson writes that he watched an Alcor official swing a monkey wrench at Williams’ frozen, severed head in an attempt to remove a tuna can that was stuck to it. The first swing accidentally struck the head, Mr. Johnson contends, and the second knocked the can loose.

Alcor Life Extension Foundation of Scottsdale, Ariz., issued a statement on its Web site denying the claims and promising legal action.

Mr. Johnson says he worked for Alcor for eight months in 2003, first as clinical director, then as chief operating officer. He included several photographs in the book, including one of an upside-down severed head, not Williams’, that had what appeared to be a tuna can attached to it. Mr. Johnson says Alcor used the cans, from a cat that lived on the premises, as pedestals for the heads.

Williams’ head was being transferred from one container to another when the monkey-wrench incident took place, Mr. Johnson writes.

“The disembodied face set in that awful, frozen scream looked nothing like any picture of Ted Williams I’ve ever seen,” he wrote.

Mr. Johnson said an Alcor employee tried in vain to remove the tuna can.

“Then he grabbed a monkey wrench, heaved a mighty swing, missing the tuna can completely but hitting the head dead center,” Mr. Johnson wrote. “Tiny pieces of frozen head sprayed around the room.”

In an appearance Tuesday on ABC’s “Nightline,” Mr. Johnson said there was a significant crack in Williams’ head. He also repeated a claim he had made earlier that samples of Williams’ DNA are missing from the facility.

Mr. Johnson, who says he surreptitiously wore a wire during the last few months of his employment, was the source for a story in Sports Illustrated in August 2003 that said Williams’ head had been severed and damaged.

Williams died in July 2002. At the direction of his son, John Henry Williams, the baseball great’s remains were flown from Florida to Arizona.

Bad ‘Hair’ day

A Los Angeles woman is suing Chris Rock for $5 million, claiming the Brooklyn-bred comic stole her concept for his new documentary, “Good Hair,” the New York Daily News says, citing a report from RadarOnline.com.

Opening Friday, the film features rappers Ice-T and Eve, actress Kerry Washington and the Rev. Al Sharpton talking about black hairstyles. In the suit, filed this week in Los Angeles, Regina Kimball states that she showed her 2005 documentary, “My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage,” to Mr. Rock on the set of his “Everyone Hates Chris” sitcom two years ago.

Mr. Rock, who co-produced “Good Hair,” also co-wrote, narrates and appears in the film.

All in the family

The 17-year-old grandson of the late Elvis Presley, who looks very much like the King, has been offered a $5 million deal to record up to five albums, says Denverpost.com, citing a report from London’s Daily Mail.

Benjamin Presley has started recording his first album — but says it will be very different in style from his grandfather’s music. Benjamin, the son of Lisa Marie Presley, was born 15 years after the King died.

“The music will be nothing like Elvis, nothing like him at all,” Benjamin said of the $5 million contract offered by Universal, the world’s biggest record company, while speaking at the Inspiration Awards for Women at Cadogan Hall in Belgravia.

The teenager is taking a break from making the album, which he hopes to release next year.

Lisa Marie Presley, 41, married Benjamin’s father, Danny Keough, a musician, when she was 20. During their six-year relationship, they had two children together, Danielle Riley, 20, who is a model, and Benjamin. The couple split in 1994. Ms. Presley married Michael Jackson later that year and also was married briefly to Nicholas Cage. She has twin daughters with her current husband, Michael Lockwood.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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