Remembering Danton Burroughs | 1944 – 2008

Danton Burroughs

This year, May 1st is the fifth anniversary of the death longtime keeper of the Burroughs flame Danton Burroughs, grandson of Edgar Rice Burroughs who died on this date in 2008.  I  knew Danton well and treasured my friendship with him, but there are countless more among the ERB faithful who knew him longer and better than I.  In my case, my good fortune was that when I met him for the first time, with a little nudge from Bill Hillman at ERBzine, I wrote about that first wonderful evening in an article that I’d like to share on his death anniversary.

Before I get to that — a word about Danton’s manner of passing, which was recorded in the LA Times as follows:

Tarzan creator’s heir protected the legacy

Danton Burroughs, who spent his life marketing and protecting the work of his grandfather, Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, died May 1 at his home in Tarzana, the San Fernando Valley community named after his ancestor’s most famous fictional character. He was 63. Burroughs, who had been battling Parkinson’s disease, died of heart failure a day after a fire at his home destroyed a room filled with family memorabilia.

What the article didn’t say was that Danton, who suffered from chronic asthma in addition to Parkinsons, refused to leave what was essentially the smoldering ruins of the treasure trove of memorabilia he had worked so hard, and so lovingly, to protect. The doctor’s urged him to get away from the smoke, give his lungs a break, but he refused.

The LA Times had it right. He did die of heart failure, just not the kind the writer of the obituary had in mind.

If you have a minute — do read

An Evening With Danton Burroughs

which includes some great photos as well.  

My personal recollections pale beside the many wonderful pages maintained by Bill Hillman/ERBzine remembering Danton:

Danton Burroughs Memorial Site and Family Archive

Danton Remembered

Danton Remembered in the Press

Burroughs Bibliophiles Remember Danton

My Friend Dan by Bill Hillman

 

4 comments

  • I met Danton in the mid seventies when I went to Tarzana to talk to him about an idea I had for a Tarzan screenplay. I was just a kid from the midwest and was quite naive with a poorly written treatment. But Danton was not only gracious and kind he kept up a correspondence with me for over a year, updating me on the progress of the Robert Towne’s adaptation of Tarzan of the Apes (eventually released as Greystoke…the name I’d given my treatment) I can’t say enough about what a great guy he was. Recently, I had an opportunity to meet his widow, daughters and brother at a special screening of John Carter. He should be proud because his family is every bit as kind and gracious as he was.

  • Here is a piece of a french documentary, “Sur les traces d’Edgar Rice Burroughs”, featuring Michel Decuyper, long-time ERB fan and publisher of “La Tribune des Amis d’Edgar Rice Burroughs”, meeting Danton Burroughs. There are some german dubbing (it was aired on a french/german tv channel) but not much. Danton seemed to be just an awesome man.

  • I had the privilege of speaking to him briefly on the phone a half dozen times. I was just one of many ERB fans, but he took the time to talk to me. He was one of the most courteous, friendly and accommodating professionals I’ve interacted with. He was every bit as excited about his grandfather’s works as any of the fans.

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