I saw Conaway about four weeks back. We were both at a comics convention in Anaheim, him on celebrity row selling autographed 8x10s for $20 or so, me in the artist’s alley selling my books. I passed by his table a couple times on my rounds. In the last few minutes of the last day of the con, an announcement came over the loudspeaker – Conaway and oneother guest were reducing their prices to $10. Hearing that, I was guessing it had been a tough con for him, and for a moment I thought I should go get something, even though I don’t buy autographs. He was someone who had entertained me (not as a standout, but in Taxi as an able part of a strong cast), and the con had done well for me. But I didn’t. A short while later, when the con had closed and I was packing up, Conaway passed by my table. Slowly. It was clear that he wasn’t going to be doing much acting in the foreseeable future, that stooped and hobbled figure… and I regretted not having gotten that autograph. I haven’t followed all of his life’s tribulations, and whatever problems he brought on himself, but I wished I could’ve helped.
That may well have been his last public appearance. Had I gotten his signature, it might well have been his last autograph.
May we all find ways to die in comfort.