UCLA Professor Died During ‘Mummification’ Ritual at Hollywood Executive’s Home

A young visitor looks at a 3D image of a CT scan of an Egyptian mummy, during a preview for a joint British-Australian exhibition in Sydney

UCLA professor Doran George died last year during a “mummification” ritual at the home of a Hollywood executive.

On November 19, 2017, professor Doran George of the University of California, Los Angeles, died during a bizarre BDSM ceremony at the home of Hollywood executive Skip Chasey. According to the autopsy report, George has been wrapped in plastic wrap and tape to mirror the actual “mummification” process. Although holes were left for George’s mouth and nose, something went wrong. George was pronounced dead later that day.

George, who did not use “gendered pronouns,” received a lengthy tribute on the UCLA website. In his childhood, George had a successful run as a child actor in musical comedies in the United Kingdom. Later, George would go on to study dance and LGBTQ issues at UCLA.

George’s writing demonstrates a strong command of choreographic analysis and a precise style that vividly evokes the performances being described. Drawing from archival sources and extensive interviews with key practitioners as well as intensive personal exposure to the training, and with great nuance and sensitivity to the specificities of each locale, whether London, Amsterdam, Sydney, or New York, George is able to dis-locate Somatics from its seemingly universal status and demonstrate the cultural and ideological work that it performs. George’s dissertation is one of the first major studies in dance to focus on the technical training of the dancer and to connect that training to a larger body politic.

Chasey, who works for entertainment industry giant William Morris Endeavor, has not faced repercussions for his role in George’s death.

“While we were unaware of the circumstances surrounding this personal matter until now, we understand that the police file is closed and no charges were brought. If other facts develop, we will re-evaluate the situation and determine any appropriate action to take,” Endeavor said in a statement.


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