Underground Film Journal

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Poppa Neutrino, R.I.P.

By Mike Everleth ⋅ January 26, 2011

Poppa Neutrino

William David Pearlman, aka Poppa Neutrino, the star of the hit documentary Random Lunacy: Videos From the Road Less Traveled, has passed away at the age of 77 due to heart failure. Famous for not calling any one place home, Neutrino died Sunday, Jan. 23 at University Hospital in New Orleans. He was in Louisiana visiting his daughter Ingrid, a former member of the world-famous Flying Neutrino band.

Poppa Neutrino lived a life that was made to be made into a film. Fully committed to wandering the entire planet, Neutrino embarked on adventures that wouldn’t be believable if he and his family hadn’t committed to documenting their journeys on film and video. Some of his more outrageous exploits included commandeering a traveling circus in Mexico and sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in a homemade raft.

Footage captured by the family were edited into the brilliant documentary Random Lunacy by Victor Zimet and Stephanie Silber. The film combined archival film and video with modern interviews with both Poppa, his wife Betsy and several of his now-adult children. The film is one of those great documentaries where, even though you’ve never met Neutrino himself personally, you still walk away feeling as though he were your good friend. Random Lunacy can be viewed online here. Plus, read the Underground Film Journal’s original review of the film here and click through a photo gallery here.

Due to his wandering lifestyle, Neutrino passed away virtually penniless. His daughter Ingrid has set up a donation site to help pay for a memorial service and for his body to be cremated.

He will be sorely missed.

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