Alan Abel Is Finally Dead

It was inevitable: Alan Abel’s obituary would mention that this was not his first.

The “professional hoaxer” — who first got his death notice into the New York Times in 1980 — is now actually dead.

The Times reports that the former Westporter died Friday, in Southbury. He was 94.

Alan Abel

Abel was a jazz drummer, stand-up comic, writer, campus lecturer and filmmaker, the Times said. The paper also called him “a master psychologist, keen strategist and possessor of an enviable deadpan and a string of handy aliases.”

Among his hoaxes: creating the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, which purported to want to put clothes on horses, cows, dogs and cats. He also created the fictitious Yetta Bronstein, a Jewish grandmother from the Bronx, who “ran for president” in 1964 advocating fluoridation, national bingo tournaments and truth serum for congressional water fountains.

Following the Watergate scandal, he hired an actor to pose as Deep Throat. The press conference drew 150 reporters.

Alan Abel is — finally, irrevocably — dead. But his website lives on.

(Click here for the full New York Times obituary. Hat tip: John Karrel)

As part of Alan Abel’s actual obituary, the New York Times ran its previous one — and subsequent correction.

9 responses to “Alan Abel Is Finally Dead

  1. I am keenly curious to hear stories from Westporters who knew him…

  2. Alan walked into my printshop in the early 70’s and wanted letterhead for the Spencer Sperm Bank. I had just heard an interview the evening before on the WOR Barry Farber show of a Dr. Spencer who was not quite believable to my NYC kid mind. I querried Alan if he were the “Dr. Spencer” I had heard on the radio. After being “busted”, Alan and I became fast friends. Over the years I participated in a Deep Throat press conference, the wedding of Idi Amin to a Jewish girl at The Plaza in NYC (that was on an April 1st in the early 80’s), Prince Amir Assad playing at a pro tennis charity tournament in Forrest Hills, and countless other schemes and hoaxes for no other reason than to show how strong the will to believe really is. Through Alan’s crazy brain, I was able to enrich my life, and be exposed to thrills and chills never to be forgotten. Alan, in case you are not really dead, let’s have coffee Friday.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear this. We live in the house that has the famed caboose and have had the honor of meeting his daughter Jennifer. The man was larger than life. RIP Alan.

  4. Peter Gambaccini

    I was very much a “fan” of Abel’s work and history, so when I saw his first “Times” obit, I thought it was a pretty fair bet that he was still alive. I didn’t know him personally, but when I once spotted him at the Westport train station, I went up to him and affirmed, “anyone who puts pants on horses can’t be all bad.” I’ll remember his smile.

  5. I still laugh at things he said to me 25 years ago. A wonderful man and a true old school Westporter.

  6. My kind of guy. From me……Staples “Class Comedian” 1971.

  7. Back in the day when we had yearly conventions of
    “Westports of the World” Alan went to Westport, New Zealand
    as the self styled official delegate from our Westport. I believe
    he promised them an airport.
    In his later years we had several “brain storming” sessions at the Duck, but with libations nothing came to fruition.
    The world needs more “fake news” where the objective is
    humor not hate.

  8. I was just thinking of Alan a week or so ago when I saw a 1956 Pullman sleeper lounge that was originally from the New Haven Railroad on Ebay. So tempting. With a little work it could be an Olympic class man cave. OK, a lot of work. But I instantly thought of Alan’s super cool caboose in his backyard. Still don’t know how he ever managed to get that enormous thing to his house in Westport but I’m sure it involved the delivery of some absurd yet oddly believable explanations to the right people along the way.