The widow of actor and comedian Rodney Dangerfield says a new Queens mural doesn't give her husband the "respect" he deserves. Her lawyer is threatening legal action.. but the artist is hoping to strike a compromise. NY1's Angi Gonzalez filed the following report:
Before he became famous, comedian Rodney Dangerfield grew up in Kew Gardens, Queens. He graduated from Richmond Hill High School.
His link to this community is celebrated with a mural, painted last year, around the corner from Lefferts Blvd.
Italian artist Francesca Robicci painted the mural for free, working from a photo provided by Dangerfield's widow, Joan.
"It was something that I wanted to do for that city, for the community and also to have some kind of, as I said exposure for my art," Robicci explains.
But Joan Dangerfield, who donated $1,000 toward the project, is unhappy how it turned out.
She says her late husband still gets no respect.
Her lawyer wrote Robicci and the community group that commissioned the mural to complain. The lawyer called the painting "an entirely unaccptable image" and a "less-than-flattering portrayal of Rodney, who deserves nothing but the highest respect."
The lawyer demanded that it be painted over.
Robicci says she was heartbroken.
"I was not expecting all this issue of this thing that came out as a gift," the artist says.
Residents here are divided about what should happen next.
"I would not want to see that mural removed just because its not the most flattering images of him he wasn’t the best looking guy in the world either," says one man, Flynn McLean.
"I think you could have softened it... nobody likes a double chin," says another resident, Gillian Archer
Because the mural is based on her photo, Dangerfield's widow has legal standing to force its removal.
The owner of the wall where the mural is painted says that while he likes the image he had no choice but to give Joan Dangerfield permission to have the portrait painted over
Robicci says she'll wililng to make any necessary changes, which would mean flying in from Italy.
Joan Dangerfield's lawyer now tells NY1 she is happy to hear of the artist's offer. The two sides, the lawyer tells us, will talk privately to see if a compromise is possible.
So Rodney Dangerfield, who long joked about his own appearance, may soon get a touch up.