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The True Believer 

Righteous inquisitor Paul Schrader casts a baleful eye on celebrity and the perils of absolute selfishness

Wednesday, Oct 16 2002
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Page 6 of 6

”Well, if you use the analogy of the talents from the Gospels, I feel I have made good use of the gifts I was given. I‘ve used them appropriately and responsibly and I feel good. And this has simply to do with self-worth -- it’s nothing about awards, nothing about box office. All things considered, I feel that I have lived a very meritorious artistic life. I‘ve failed, of course, but that’s almost a predicate: You can‘t succeed unless you fail.“

Which could almost be the lesson of Bob Crane’s long, thoughtless roller-coaster ride from public triumph to pubic catastrophe, to weird immortality as the anti-hero of Auto Focus. What‘s Schrader’s verdict on him?

”I was talking to Steve Martin, and Steve remembered hearing Bob on the radio. And that‘s who he wanted to be. Part of the great Crane appeal was being in on the joke -- the guy who coughed over the smoking commercial, the guy who made fun of the sponsors when no one was doing that.“ He shakes his head. ”Imagine being a comedian who specialized in being in on the joke, then having the big joke become your own life -- and you just don’t get it.“

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