2007 Cosmic Player Plate

"Big Man with a Big Heart"

Eddie Carmel was born in Tel Aviv on March 16, 1936. He was the only son of Itzack and Miriam Carmel. The family moved to the United States in 1938.

Carmel is eligible by birth to be a member of the Paradise Pisces cosmic baseball team. He was drafted as a pitcher by the team on December 4, 2006. His uniform number is 3428.

Eddie Carmel may be best known as the subject of a Diane Arbus photograph entitled "Jewish Giant at Home with His Parents in the Bronx, NY, 1970." The photograph, which shows a very tall Carmel towering over and dwarfing his parents, who were average-sized. The photograph was part of an exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art and was featured in magazines around the country in 1972.

Diane Arbus met and began photographing Carmel in the early 1960s. (Arbus, born March 14, like Eddie, is a Pisces and currently manages the Paradise Pisces). Arbus was 13 years older than her subject and over the years, according to her biographer, Patricia Bosworth, the two developed a friendship. Arbus took pictures of Carmel for almost a decade. According to Carmel's aunt, Dorothy Carchman, Eddie liked the photograph. "He loved it, he loved that picture," Ms. Carchman told her granddaughter. Commenting on the photograph, Eddie's cousin said, "There's my uncle [Eddie's father] in a certain dignified way, with his hands in his pockets looking something like a diplomat. And what he's thinking, I am sure, is he's feeling very sorry in some ways for himself. My aunt is probably saying to herself 'What can I do for you?' Because that would have been her comment, and, uh . . . Eddie is looking down on them and I can't tell what he's thinking looking at his parents."

Bosworth writes that Arbus told her friend the writer and New Yorker magazine editor, Joseph Mitchell, (himself married to a photographer) that she got the right expression on Carmel's mother's face as "she glares up at Eddie thinking, 'Oh my God, No!'" Carmel was 34 years old when the photograph was taken in 1970. He would die two years later on August 14, 1972 (the Internet Movie Database has July 30, 1972 as Carmel's date of death). That was a year after Arbus committed suicide on July 26, 1971.

Pictures may replace thousands of words but the Arbus' image does not tell much of the Eddie Carmel story. As a freak of nature, Carmel did not live an easy or prolonged existence.

He graduated Taft High School in the Bronx in 1954 and immediately enrolls as a business student at City College. Beneath the photograph in his high school yearbook is the phrase "A Big Man with a Big Heart." Selma Cutler Spiegler was in the same high school English class as Carmel. "Eddie sat next to me in the back of the room. I'll always remember that he was very smart. He liked poetry. " Diane Arbus had also commented, "You would give Eddie a word or two and then he'd compose a poem." She described his poetic style as calypso-like.

Carmel dropped out of college in 1957 and tries to break into show business with an emphasis on comedy. He goes on auditions to various comedy clubs and meets Irwin Sherman who becomes his close friend. Together they concoct odd comedy events like launching a tall people's crusade against the Volkswagen Bug automobile, known for its small size.

The Reverse Mickey Rooney

Eddie set a goal for himself: "I'd like someday to reach the point when I'm known as the reverse Mickey Rooney." (Is it ironic or just the opposite, that he selected the diminutive Mickey Rooney? Rooney's first film appearance in 1926 at the age of five was as an adult midget in the silent film Not to Be Trusted. By the late 1950s Rooney was a popular entertainer and had starred in a number of films including The Comedian,1957; Mr. Broadway, and was Pinocchio in Pinocchio, 1957 and played the lead role in the Baby Face Nelson biopic (1957.) But given his physical condition known as acromegalia (Carmel's gigantism was caused by a growth on his pituitary gland), he was first cast as the residue of a scientific transplant experiment gone bad in the infamous, cult film, The Brain That Wouldn't Die. A .

On one level it was a movie about a lover trying to bring back his loved one (she had been decapitated in a car accident) and he is going to use modern science and technology to do it. On another level it is a film about arrogance and the tragedy of a love gone amorally awry.

Carmel plays a monster locked behind a door. He is emblematic of the hubris of science married to technology. As the girlfriend's head begins to telepathically communicate with the monster the two begin to bond with each other. It is, from our 21st century perspective a campy film. It did not bring much success to Carmel.

Eddie Carmel died in the Bronx in 1972.

In 1999 his aunt recalled that her nephew was a sensitive and smart boy. Milton Levine who ran "The World of Mirth" sideshow also knew Carmel. "You see, Eddie was an educated freak. Whereas most of the people in the side show business were people that should have been institutionalized, but there was no place for them. Eddie had a brain," Levine claims. In his last years Carmel suffered from arthritis, used canes, then a wheelchair and eventually he was bedridden. About his death, Carmel's cousin noted, "The heart just can't keep up with the weight and the stress and he died of a heart attack. "

In Eddie Carmel's life the space between the heart and the brain may have been physically significant but spiritually they were on top of each other.

We are delighted to welcome Mr. Carmel to the Cosmic Baseball Association.

Cosmic Baseball Association Record

Eddie Carmel is a rookie

Event Date Event Notes
December 14, 2006 Drafted by Paradise Pisces, Pitcher

Paradise Pisces Index

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