Regular readers will know of the unique, seemingly indefatigable and gloriously multi-talented US comic Lynn Ruth Miller, an occasional and much-admired contributor to this blog.
If not, type her name in this blog’s Search.
Multi-award-winning Lynn Ruth died of cancer yesterday afternoon in London. So it goes.
In 2019, she explained that she didn’t plan on being a stand-up comic.
She had a Masters degree in Journalism from Stanford University and said she had considered herself a writer, a newspaper columnist and ‘a TV lady’ (she had her own TV show on the US West Coast) but never in her wildest dreams thought she would become a comedian. She said: “I always came up with smart remarks that got me into trouble”.
At the age of 67, she published Starving Hearts, her first book – an autobiographical novel about her struggle with her overwhelming mother and her battle with bulimia. She then released two compilations of her essays – Thoughts While Walking the Dog and More Thoughts While Walking the Dog – which had previously been published in US newspapers. She turned to stand-up comedy aged 71.
Her friend Sarah-Louise Young has today posted this on Lynn Ruth’s Facebook page:
Our beloved Lynn Ruth passed away yesterday afternoon at St Joseph’s Hospice in London. She spent the last few weeks of her life there being wonderfully cared for, enjoying the garden and making new friends.
For those of us who knew she was ill, we had all hoped she would begin radiotherapy at Barts Hospital for her oesophageal cancer this week but in the end, sadly she was not well enough for treatment.
She was and will continue to be loved by hundreds of people and my heart goes out to each and every one of her friends and family. The outpouring of love online has been immense.
Whilst in the hospice she was only allowed six visitors and I know it pained her to have to turn people away. Her phone was never silent and she was busy making plans to gig, sing, write, paint, laugh, tell stories, drink Pinot Grigio, buy a puppy and travel the world right up to the end.
I had the great privilege of being with her in the last few days. Even though she was not fully conscious, I held her hand, told her how much she was loved and dabbed a little of her Miss Dior perfume behind her ears as I know she always liked to be sweet-scented. I also played her some music: Only A Paper Moon, Deep Purple (by jazz pianist Peter DeRose) and the songs she loved to sing from her own shows. Occasionally she would move her shoulder in time to the music and I like to think she could hear it and was dancing.
Any cards which had arrived in the last few days I read to her and I described the beautiful bouquet of flowers which arrived on Monday. They were put in a vase next to her bed.
One of her final requests was that her friends didn’t know she was dying. This was a very hard request to honour so I hope you will understand and respect why news of her reaching the end of her life was not made public.
She wanted to leave this world in privacy and with dignity. She knew that she was loved but she was tired and ready to go.
She had many, many offers of practical and emotional support from friends during her stay at Homerton hospital, when she was back home afterwards and in the final weeks in hospice, for which she was eternally grateful. Thank you to all of you.
She didn’t want a funeral and although she asked for her body to be left to science, in the end that was not possible. She will be cremated instead as per her instructions.
There will be a private memorial for close friends for which she made specific plans.
We will also be holding a public celebration on what would’ve been her 88th birthday in her honour. It will take place in the West End of London with the ticket proceeds going to charity. This will be live-streamed so all her international friends and family can attend.
I will post more information on both of these soon.
She had specific charitable causes she wanted to support: domestic abuse, hunger, education for marginalised groups and homelessness. I feel sure she would also be happy with people donating money to the hospice
who could not have been more kind and caring in looking after our dear friend.
The world is a richer, more beautiful, mischievous and loving place because of Lynn Ruth. Her legacy lives on in each and every one of us whose life she touched.
With love, Sarah-Louise Young
8th September 2021
An early proof copy of Lynn Ruth’s recently-published autobiography
Some of Lynn Ruth’s many books…
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2 responses to “R.I.P. author/comic Lynn Ruth Miller…”
So sorry to hear this news…. Followed her “Miss”? Adventures over the last few years via your blog John…. Hope you are feeling better btw?… I have COPD so am not kidding re empathising… best, Peter.
Sorry to hear about the COPD. Stay safe.