Rodney Dangerfield's widow and daughter settle lawsuit

Sun Aug 10, 2008 10:54pm EDT
 
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By Leslie Simmons

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter)- The widow of Rodney Dangerfield has settled a copyright infringement lawsuit she filed against the late comedian's daughter over the use of footage from a one-hour Las Vegas act.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.

"All copyrights to Rodney Dangerfield's act are held by Joan Dangerfield, who owns all of her late husband's intellectual property," Dangerfield's attorney Patricia Glaser said.

Joan Dangerfield sued her late husband's daughter, Melanie Roy-Friedman, in September 2006, claiming a video of the comedian made in 1988 was used without permission for a Comedy Central special, "Legends: Rodney Dangerfield."

Roy-Friedman had approached her father in 1988 to film him. According to the lawsuit, Dangerfield "zealously" guarded his act, but allowed it for his daughter.

But Roy-Friedman allegedly gave her father a copy of the video and not the master recording. Dangerfield learned of this in 1994 when he was prepared to release the act commercially on video. Roy-Friedman, however, refused to turn over the master, indicating it was her "personal property."

After Dangerfield died in 2004, Roy-Friedman attempted to market the video. When she failed to sell it to HBO, she agreed to let Comedy Central use the footage for its September 10, 2006, special.

The settlement comes as the case was heading for trial on August 18 in federal court in Los Angeles. Among the witnesses on the list: MTV president Doug Herzog and comedian Jerry Stiller.

"Joan is very committed to my father's legacy," Roy-Friedman said of the settlement. "He said that he loved her deeply and thought she was the nicest person in the world."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

 
<p>Rodney Dangerfield shown with wife Joan in this November 19, 2002 file photograph at the premiere of his film "the 4th Tenor." REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>