Ten years ago today, Allen’s cousin, Oscar Janiger, the beloved “Oz”, passed away (or, rather, re-entered cosmic infinity). A remarkable man. Here’s his AP obituary:
“Torrance, California – Psychiatrist Oscar Janiger, an early advocate of psychedelic drugs, who was credited with turning on Cary Grant and numerous other celebrities to LSD, died Tuesday of kidney and heart failure. Janiger was 83. Between 1954 and 1962, “Oz”, as he was known to friends administered almost 3,000 doses of LSD to 1,000 volunteers. Among them were Grant, fellow actors Jack Nicholson and Rita Moreno, author Aldous Huxley and musician Andre Previn. Janiger bought the drug, then legal, from Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Sandoz Laboratories and administered it at his Los Angeles office. Although his work pre-dated that of LSD guru Timothy Leary, he never gained widespread recognition for it. Janiger, who took the drug 13 times himself, said he was interested in LSD’s link to creativity and what he called the ability to access a state of crazy consciousness without losing control of one’s surroundings. In 1986, he formed the Albert Hofmann Foundation for psychedelic research, named after the chemist who first synthesized the drug. He had abandoned his own LSD studies in 1962, however, after the federal government began investigating researchers. The drug was outlawed in the United States in 1966.
Born in New York, Janiger, who was a cousin of poet Allen Ginsberg, moved to Los Angeles in 1950, setting up a private practice and later teaching at the University of California, Irvine. While an associate professor of psychiatry at Irvine, he studied the connection between hormones and pre-menstrual depression in women. Most recently, he was involved with a group studying dolphins in their natural environment”.
A conversation (from 1992) with Douglas Cruikshank may be found here