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New York Daily News
Jul 24, 2005. pg. 2
HOMELESS MAN PENS NEW ROLE AS FILM STAR
By OREN YANIV DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
08/16/2005

Cadillac Man, who lives underneath a reailway overpass in Astoria, will be the subject of an upcomingmovie.
WHEN A COUPLE of girls from Iowa visited their aunt in Astoria the other weekend, they asked a local homeless man who lives un derneath a railway overpass for his autograph.

Later that week, the same va grant used his cell phone to chat with a producer who's filming a documentary about him, and to talk business with his book agent.

Meet Cadillac Man, on his way to becoming — if he isn't already — the most famous homeless dude in the city.

The 56-year-old tramp-turned-author-turned-documentary-sub ject sits on a padded chair below a viaduct on 33rd St. near 23rd Ave. , a loaded shopping cart by his side.

"I'll be here until I'll die," he said. "This is my home."

But as long as he lives, he is de termined to continue telling his story, acting as a voice for count less unseen and forlorn cast aways who also call the streets home.

In May, some of his writing — compiled in notebooks since he became homeless in 1994 — were published by Esquire magazine. A director saw the piece, and is now working on a movie. A book deal also is in the offing.

Cadillac, who does not reveal his real name because "the past is dead," grew up in Hell's Kitchen, married twice and has three daughters with whom he's not in touch.

"Just a bunch of bad luck," as he put it, landed him on the street.

"I've lost everything I loved in my life," he said. "Everything."

The idea behind the documentary is to depict a man "who was ba sically nobody" and later found himself, said Michael Regan, a New York filmmaker who's edit ing the movie and hopes to complete it by September.

Cadillac settled in Astoria four years ago and quickly became a mainstay, with neighbors often stopping to talk or ask for advice. He greeted passersby or waved hello while he spoke, saluting fire fighters as their truck rolled past.

A local resident once asked Ca dillac to read his scribbles, then showed them to an editor who ex pressed interest.

After the Esquire article was published, offers for help started pouring in, but Cadillac asked good-willing folks to donate to a pantry instead. He said that any proceeds from the book will go to his teenage daughter.

"I'm writing this book to give people an insight on what we are," Cadillac said of the home less. "When you're safe and sound in your house, we're fight ing for our lives.

"I've been shot at out here. I had bottles thrown at me. I was urinated on."

It's going to take a few more months to compile enough materi al for a book, said his literary agent, Sloan Harris, adding that his client "has been the picture of diligence and energy so far."

And with everything that's go ing on, Cadillac allowed that his schedule is not as laid-back as it was in the past.

"I'm more busy now," he said. "Between the meetings I have to attend — lunches, that's pretty cool, a free lunch — and answer ing a lot of E-mails."

He hopes to finish the book de spite his declining health — may be take in a film festival or two up on the movie's release and help other luckless people come win ter.

"But I'm not trying to get my hopes up," said the man who sleeps alone on the sidewalk. "Out here, you never know."

 

 
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