It is with great sadness that we report Ms. Harriet Wasser (Hesh) passed away
October 3, 2006. We express our heartfelt condolences to Ms. Wasser's family
and will cherish her legacy as we do Mr. Darin's.



It would take a far better scribe than I to adequately write about and do justice to the amazing soul that was Harriet "Hesh" Wasser. Having said that, I am honored to share some thoughts that have resonated with me since her passing. First of all make no mistake about it, she was an integral part of my father's story. How absolutely blessed he was to have her in his corner in the early days! At a time when he didn't have two dimes to rub together and was just another starry-eyed kid chasing his dreams around the streets of New York, she was a friend who believed in him. I mean really believed in him; to the point where she would extol his talents and his destiny to any and all who would listen. Club owners, musicians, publishers, talent agents, arrangers all the nuts and bolts of the music business in those days. They all had to put up with Hesh ranting about pop and how he was going to make it. And rest her soul, as anyone who knew her can attest, she could be fairly persistent! It was easy to get on the Bobby Darin bandwagon after "Splish Splash" but to be working for and believing in his talent during the dark struggling days at Hanson's Drugstore is another matter entirely! There is a lesson in this for us all. Namely, to foster young talent and to take the time to nurture it. How meaningful this kind of support can be to a young artist. How many brilliant talents have just given up in part because they never had a Hesh in their corner when starting out? Again how blessed he was to have this! Her loyalty to my father never waivered. In a business where you are often only as good as your last chart record and where friends seem to scatter when your career hits the skids, to her last day Hesh was loyal to his memory. Still extolling his talents and contributions to the world of music some 33 years after his passing. The medium might have changed, i.e. the web and digital technology but it was still the same old Hesh leading the charge. By the way, I think Hesh might have had a little something to do with bringing my pop to the attention of some guy named...Blauner! The following touching irony is not lost on me; my father believed in Steve as a manager and career architect before Steve believed in himself. Do you see the symmetry here? Hesh believing in pop before he made it as pop did with Steve later?

On a personal level, I will always be indebted to Hesh for sharing her memories of my father with me. Because I lost him so early in life I have always been like a sponge eager to hear about his exploits from anyone who was there. During the mid 90's we had some wonderful conversations that I will cherish forever. I learned about my father as a human being warts and all. Not about Bobby Darin the legend, or performer or larger than life personality. No, I learned about Walden Robert Cassotto the young man who had come up via the school of hard knocks. About his character, his grit and what he was like before everyone knew his name. Priceless for my biased and spoiled ears to hear! I came to respect her as she was always supportive of artists. I remember her sending me information on ways to contribute to writers and musicians that were in need. It got me to realize how deeply fortunate I was and how many other contemporaries of my father's may not have been so lucky over the years.

Over the past couple of years Hesh and I didn't speak and I deeply regret that now. I was bothered by what was in actuality a minor thing and petulantly distanced myself from her. She spoke truth to me in blunt terms and I wasn't able to deal with it. If only I had heard similar truth in my formative years! Another member of the Darin inner circle confided to me that my recent overture towards her was warmly received. I take comfort in that and I'd like to think that deep down she knew I was grateful for all she had done for my pop during his lifetime and beyond.

With the passing of Harriet Wasser, a very special part of team Darin is no more. It will never be the same. She was right about my pop's talent from the earliest days at Hanson's; he was very lucky to have her in his life.

Rest in peace dear friend and know that the rest of us will try and do our part to keep our guy's legacy alive.

With love and gratitude,

Dodd

November 2006






Hesh, Bob Crewe & Frankie Valli

 


        George Benson

 


Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme

 


Hesh & Bobby Darin the day
"Splish Splash" was recorded

 


   Julius LaRosa

 


Sammy Davis Jr.'s
Birthday party 1956

 


Atlantic records party-Thatís All

 


        Tito Puente

 


            Herb Jefries

(All photos are property of the Jimmy Scalia Archives.)



Harriet Wasser was Bobby Darin's press agent and very good friend.
She was also instrumental in his career and was extremely loyal to him throughout his life and afterwards.

 

Here are a few of the very special things Hesh left with us:

   

These are just some of the many photos, memories and treasures that we will never forget ... nor will we ever forget our dear friend, Hesh!

Her favorite Bobby song:
Audio

 

 

 


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