Carlos Anduze, 90, de Kooning Assistant

Nov. 26, 1927 - Oct. 8, 2018
Nov. 26, 1927, Nov. 26, 1927 - Oct. 8, 2018
Doug Kuntz

While his driver’s license may have said Fred P. Anduze, everyone knew him as Carlos, and just about everyone seemed to know him. Dapper, fun-loving, flirtatious, and generous, Carlos Anduze was “fluent in five languages” and “played the piano like a master,” said Christian Villeneuve of Springs, one of his many good friends. 

“Carlos was a shaman, a raconteur, a true romantic, a hero in the best way the word can be used, an extraordinary athlete, strategist . . . a renaissance man,” said Nancy McKinney of Chicago, a longtime friend.

Mr. Anduze, who was 90, died at home on Woodbine Drive in Springs on Oct. 8. He had been in declining health for the past three years.

“Carlos will be greatly missed by the many people who knew him well, and also the people who just met him once, because that’s the kind of person he was,” wrote Doug Kuntz, who met him in East Hampton in the 1970s. 

“There was always a certain air of mystery around where Carlos came from and who he was before he arrived in East Hampton in the mid-1960s,” Mr. Kuntz said.

Mr. Anduze was born in Cuba on Nov. 26, 1927, to Fred Reginald Anduze and the former Celia Rico. He lived in Venezuela as a young man before immigrating in the 1950s to the United States, living first in Miami before moving to New York, where he attended Columbia University.

It was in New York that he met Willem de Kooning and de Kooning’s circle of friends. “They became inseparable,” wrote Mr. Villeneuve, the former husband of the artist’s daughter, Lisa de Kooning, who died in 2012. Mr. Anduze moved to Springs and became de Kooning’s assistant, confidant, and a loyal lifelong friend to both father and daughter. 

His devotion to the de Kooning family, including Mr. Villeneuve and his three daughters with Ms. de Kooning, “was without question the biggest part of his life,” Mr. Kuntz said. “He even cared about Lisa’s pets that included dogs, cats, birds, horses, and a pig. There was also a python snake named Delilah, but he drew the line there, refusing to get her every-other-week rat from the pet store and feed her.”

“He was her rock and foundation through all the years,” said Ms. McKinney, who was also a friend of Ms. de Kooning’s. “Unlike many who would be around the children of the rich and famous, Carlos never asked for anything. He was just there for her.” 

Though he traveled in the circles of the rich and famous, Mr. Anduze “treated everyone with equal dignity, and everyone was the same in his eyes. It didn’t matter if he was having a croissant in Paris or an egg sandwich at Brent’s,” Mr. Kuntz said. 

Mr. Anduze “looked after a lot of people,” quietly supporting them in times of trouble, said Mark Jackson, who had known him for over 50 years. “Everyone loved Carlos and he loved everybody.” 

He charmed many, loved to dance, and was “always in the company of beautiful women,” he said. 

“He loved a party, but hated it to end, and his favorite line to keep it from ending was, ‘Come on, just one more slash and then we will go,’ ” Mr. Kuntz recalled. 

He was well read and conversant in a surprising range of topics, friends said. He was a great cook, a martial artist, a skilled ice skater despite his distaste for winter, knew about herbal medicine, and was a professional-level backgammon player, Ms. McKinney said. “He was a remarkable man. . . . You couldn’t stop being amazed by him.”

“Carlos wore his life very lightly,” she said. “He shook things off and kept going.”

A service will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton, the Rev. Leandra Lambert officiating. A celebration of his life will follow that evening from 6 to 8 at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett.

Mr. Anduze was cremated. 

Friends have suggested contributions to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1078, Westhampton Beach 11978.