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Writer and New York City artist community member Neil Derrick has died. The cause of death has not been released.
A longtime Greenwich Village resident, Neil Derrick was born in 1931 and grew up in California. After one semester of graduate school at Berkeley and a stint in the Army, in 1956, he moved to New York City to pursue a career as a writer.
He obtained a position at the Museum of Modern Art and there he met poet Edward Field, who was to become his partner of 58 years; the couple co-authored various writing projects. As Field later remembered: “I was working in the typing pool of an advertising agency, and the supervisor assigned the typewriter next to me to a new temp, a terrific-looking young man from California named Neil Derrick. It was a case of immediate attraction between WASP and Jew.”
Field suggested that Derrick submit his writings to a pornographic publishing company, which paid a $1,500 flat fee for books. The first piece Derrick submitted was accepted and published under the title Up and Coming in 1969. It was followed by Sticky Fingers, about a young woman who was the mistress to the President of the United States.
As Bruce Elliot, Derrick published The Potency Clinic and The Office. With Edward Field, he co-wrote the bestselling novel The Villagers in 1980.
Since 1972, Field and Derrick were artists in residence at Westbeth Artists Community. Together since 1959, “with a two-year hiatus when we broke up, and then we straightened out our heads” according to Field, they were a familiar sight in Greenwich Village, walking side by side. Derrick, who was blind since 1971, always kept his hand on Field’s shoulder.
On January 5, 2018, Field posted on his Facebook account a few, simple, words: “Neil Derrick, 1931-2018, Partner of Edward Field.”
Photo: Edward Field (left) and Neil Derrick (right), 2016 via Westbeth.org