I stumbled upon this book over the weekend...
Entitled "The Last Days Of Dead Celebrities", it was apparently published this past May. Despite its horrific title I cautiously opened it and was surprised to discover that Chapter 4 was devoted to Welles. The chapter's opening line describing the breed of prostitutes that populated Sunset Boulevard just a block or so from Welles' residence made me extremely wary, but ultimately the description of Welles' "last days" was not very offensive.
Virtually all of the chapter's info was gleamed from interviews with Gary Graver and Merv Griffin. The first few pages are devoted to the oft-told anecdote of how Graver first met Welles in 1970 and a recount of some of Welles' late period finished and unfinished work. Graver tells of Welles' visit to UCLA in early October, 1985 to scout out an auditorium the school promised he could use and his intention to shoot a one-man presentation of "Julius Caesar" there. He discussed his lighting plan with the students, but later decided to postpone the shoot in order to improve the script he had written. Griffin initially tells a humorous anecdote about the first time Welles was booked on his show in the 70s and how Welles responded to the pre-show interview over the phone (when told it was going to be a tribute to him with lots of old movie clips and talk of Hearst, Hayworth, etc., Welles reportedly answered by repeating "F-You" five or six times!). Obviously, Griffin and Welles patched things up and Welles became a regular guest on Griffin's show.
The chapter's most notable aspect is a nearly complete transcription of Welles' final appearance on "The Merv Griffin Show" taped during the afternoon of Oct. 9th. The card trick he perfomed is described in almost unnecessary detail and then the interview featuring Welles and his biographer Barbara Leaming is quoted extensively. Griffin tells of how Welles came to him before the show and told Griffin that he was "feeling expansive" and would agree to discussing all those topics he had previously declared off limits. In the end, Welles managed to sidestep alot of the questions anyway or else deferred to Leaming.
The chapter concludes with the expected description of Welles dining at Ma Maison and his death from heart failure in his bedroom. Despite the ghoulish nature of the whole enterprise, I felt the book actually did a pretty good job of showing that Welles was an active, "with-it" guy right up until the end.