I recall a story Dominick told me about the difference when Pauline water the plants verses an employee. The observation was her method saturated the soil and the employee merely moistened the dirt. I was not aware that Dominick had been hit by a car. On one occasion back in the late 70s, I had a visit and noticed a limp. The story he told was that he had attempted suicide and failed. He was unconscious on the floor of his flat in Queens for several days and the immobility caused nerve damage in one leg.
Some time, about 2003 I attempted to see him and went to his flat in Queens only to find tradesmen their renovating an empty space. As best I could gather from the Puerto Rican neighbor was that he had gone to live with a brother in law. A letter addressed to him in 2006 was returned. In February of 2011, I read an obituary that he passed on January 26, 2011. I did speak to a distant cousin, Victor Laruccia, and he had a few recollections of "il genio."
I did meet his sister and kids once in the early 70s, Palmyra I think was her name. She was visiting the west coast and I helped with transportation. I can imagine that the sister and Dominick had problems. I recall a conversation with him once when he said, I got ride of all the nuts and crazy people in my life, and no one is left. He did have an eccentric personality. I new felt he has a strong NY accent.
I find wisps of his life on the internet such as a patent from Borax that bears his name, a national flute school directory and a reference to a recording in the NY Public Library he made as a young man.
From another person:
I have a Laruccia wire sculpture, given to me by my dear friend, Pauline French. I think Pauline and DL may have been friends. Pauline and her husband, Robert, owned a retail nursery somewhere in Orange County, where the 55 freeway now runs. Robert was a sculptor, Pauline an artist. They were a totally unusual, fascinating couple! Robert insisted that they change their lives every 7 years. They were managers of The Players Club, owned by Preston Sturges, on Sunset in Hollywood. Robert built PS a yacht during that time. Huntington Hartford bought their home, which Pauline had designed, for a mistress. They opened a cafe on the Left Bank in Paris. I have some of Pauline's cookbooks from that period; also her complete collection of Cordon Bleu copper cookware from the cafe. Robert had been an Olympic diver, Pauline worker for Disney when they met. Pauline had been one of the models for Disney's Snow White. Her voice sounded exactly like Snow White's! Robert had showings of his scultures. I have a photo of Robert with Vincent Price, with the large piece VP bought. Pauline was a prolific artist The walls of her home were covered with paintings. She painted whatever struck her fancy at the time. Her last painting was of a pink upholstered chair! And it was beautiful! Unfortunately, when she died, she left all Robert's sculptures and her paintings to her brother; Pauline and Robert had no children. I live in the house she designed after Robert died. She gave it to me and my husband, whom she thought of as her son. She died around 1990. I still miss her. She was , by far, the most intelligent, interesting person I have ever met.
Randy Blackman Brookins
I read some of your blog with great interest and much nostalgia.
I was a lab technician at U.S.Borax from 1958 through 1960 when I returned to school. Although I didn't assist Dominic (that's how he spelled his name then, actually it was Dominico Giovanni Phillipi Larrucia) we had many lively, educational, funny and philosophical discussions. He was a very fascinating individual. Unfortunately, much maligned too.
I did keep in touch while I still lived in Orange County (until 1963). He was dabbling with metal art then while at USBRC and then at Douglas Space.
I think he felt unaccepted in the science community and found the art world more friendly.
In 1965 I called him because I saw a large piece he made earlier, called "Winged Victory", as office decoration in a Rock Hudson movie titled "A Very Special Favor"
The last time I spoke with him was in early 2010. It was a melancholy conversation reviving lots of memories. A year later there was no answer, the number was gone...and so was he.
He was indeed a very talented man and I am grateful for the short time we spent together.