BY JON CRONIN
After seeing late comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s mural in Kew Gardens, his widow feels he is still getting no respect.
Joan Dangerfield, the comic’s widow, did not like the outcome of her late husband’s mural created by Italian artist Francesca Tosca Robici in October last year, according to 501 (See) (Streets) founder Noah Sheroff.
Sheroff, who runs the not-for-profit 501 (See) (Streets) as a way to beautify the five boroughs, said he had been looking for other projects in the neighborhood last fall and discovered Dangerfield’s link to Kew Gardens. He contacted the comedian’s widow, who approved, then contacted Robici, who had wanted to work with Sheroff’s not-for-profit and got the approval Kew Gardens Cinemas to paint the mural on its exterior wall.
He said that he was surprised when he saw the NY1 story on the mural last weekend. He added that at the time of his last contact with Dangerfield’s widow, her lawyer had already obtained a contractor to paint over the mural.
“I sincerely hope that Mrs. Dangerfield will consider these thoughts with an open heart and agree to leave the mural as it is now,” said Robici, who worked pro-bono and paid for her own materials. “Given my intense feelings about this work, I am sure you can understand that I cannot and will not authorize its destruction.”
Robici said that the mural was an interpretation of Dangerfield and that she gave the portrait her best effort.
“I didn’t glue a picture of him on the wall,” she said. “Rather, I appraised the setting, I chose colors carefully, I sketched, I outlined, I struggled up and down ladders, I endured some terrible weather and I used spray cans and brushes to turn paint and intention into something alive. I am sad that Mrs. Dangerfield does not share my enthusiasm for the work, but I sincerely hope she appreciates that this is a handmade work, not a photograph or something created with Photoshop.”
However, Robici said that she offered to fly back to New York to make changes requested by the comedian’s widow.
501 (See) (Streets) has also recently created two murals of tennis greats on Continental Avenue as well as contributed murals to Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and Mt. Vernon, where an artist painted a mural of famed hip hop group Heavy D and the Boyz.