Comedian-magician Carl Ballantine's final exit
Comedy-magician and actor Carl Ballantine, who died Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills at age 92, had not been ill, but he had been feeling the effects of old age over the past six months, said his daughter, Saratoga Ballantine.
She had been staying overnight at her father's home off and on in case he needed help in the night, and she was there when he died.
"He had a great exit," she said. "He was up at 3 in the morning. I could hear him stirring, and I came in and said, 'Hey, Dad, what's going on?' He said, 'I gotta get home.' I said, 'Daddy, you are home.' He said, 'Can I take the robe?' I said, 'Of course, it's your robe.' And then he said, 'Where are my shoes? I need my shoes.' I said, 'Daddy, you don't need your shoes.' He said, 'Yes, I do; I gotta get out of here.'"
She put his shoes on and said, "I love you, Papa," and then went back to sleep.
When she woke up at 6, she discovered that her father had moved to another part of the living room, where he had been sleeping, and that's where he died.
"He was lying back with a big smile on his face, with his shoes and robe on," she said. "He was going home."
Ballantine said that in the hours after her father died she has talked to many people who have told her similar stories "of how their family members had left wanting snow shoes or needing their coat or [asking] 'Why is that light so bright?' or 'I want to see my mother.' They are always off to the next adventure very verbally."
"I'll tell you the truth," she added. "I think my dad had a great life. He had such wonderful friends and a wonderful time. ... He didn't like being old. He used to say, 'I wish I was 45.' I'd say, 'Me, too.' "
The full obituary is here.
-- Dennis McLellan
Photo: Carl Ballantine, performing as a magician. Credit: Ballantine family photo