TV’s Closure Based on Baseball’s Andre Dawson’s New Career as Funeral Director

Funeral Industry News September 20, 2020
Andre Dawson's Funeral Home

TV’s Closure Based on Baseball’s Andre Dawson’s New Career as Funeral Director

From line drives to driving hearses. From center field to cemeteries. Andre Dawson’s transition from baseball Hall of Famer to funeral home owner has intrigued his fans and former teammates. Now a TV show inspired by Dawson’s career shift will cast an even brighter spotlight on the shy slugger and the funeral profession.

Closure, a one-hour drama in development at CBS, will focus on a beloved baseball player who assumes ownership of his uncle’s funeral home. Along with his three daughters — a homicide detective, a coroner, and a trauma nurse — he tries to cope with his adult son’s unsolved disappearance. According to entertainment news outlet Deadline, the family members “each have their own parallel journeys in the business of death.”

“It’s about the service”

Dawson, now 65, devoted 21 years to major league baseball, overcoming severe injuries and more than a dozen surgeries. Known as the “Hawk,” Dawson exceeded 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases before his 1996 retirement. With eight Golden Gloves and four Silver Sluggers under his belt, he was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.

He began investing some of his $25 million career earnings in mortuaries in 2003. Five years later, Dawson purchased Barrett-Fryar Funeral Home in Richmond Heights, Florida. Located in the South Miami-Dade area, the facility was close to Dawson’s church and the neighborhood where he grew up.

As it turned out, Dawson invested much more than money into the struggling funeral home. The state had shut down the business due to license violations. The building was falling apart, and the owner had retired and moved out of state. But because the community relied heavily on the mortuary’s services, Dawson took on the challenge, reopening with a full staff as Paradise Memorial Funeral Home.

“It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about the service being rendered to this community,” he told his new employees. “Now it’s time to make this thing work.”

All in the family

Make it work, he did. Dawson rehired licensed funeral director Van G. Brown, who had served Barrett-Fryar for 27 years. Together, the two renovated and remodeled the facility and assembled a staff that now numbers 24. Paradise specializes in serving each family’s unique and individual needs, from simple ceremonies to elaborate services.

Although some neighborhood folks may be aware of Dawson’s fame, he prefers to work behind the scenes. He transports bodies, runs the vacuum or mop, and oversees preparations — even those of COVID patients.

Like the fictional director’s family in the upcoming Closure TV series, members of Dawson’s immediate family are now involved in the “business of death.” His wife, Vanessa, manages most of the arrangement meetings. His son, Darius, recently joined his staff. And Dawson’s brother, Vincent Brown, owns and operates his own funeral home in northern Miami.

Connections continue

Throughout his years with the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox, and Marlins, Dawson never imagined his second career would be in deathcare.

“It’s not everyone’s cup of tea,” he told USA Today in 2018. “If someone had told me I’d be doing this when I played, I would have looked at them like they were crazy. Nobody would have believed it. It takes a minute to grow on you.”

Today, Dawson’s ties to America’s game still run deep. He works for the Chicago Cubs as a part-time assistant, and mourns the pandemic-induced challenges for fans and players.

“I miss baseball because of what it’s meant to me, and also just the game itself,” he told ESPN in May. “I can only envision how tough a time it is for fans right now. We keep throwing around dates when we hope to see a return of sports. But we don’t know.”

As of right now, Dawson won’t add “actor” to his set of careers, although he will serve as a consultant on Closure.

TV’s Closure Based on Baseball’s Andre Dawson’s New Career as Funeral Director

From line drives to driving hearses. From center field to cemeteries. Andre Dawson’s transition from baseball Hall of Famer to funeral home owner has intrigued his fans and former teammates. Now a TV show inspired by Dawson’s career shift will cast an even brighter spotlight on the shy slugger and the funeral profession.

Closure, a one-hour drama in development at CBS, will focus on a beloved baseball player who assumes ownership of his uncle’s funeral home. Along with his three daughters — a homicide detective, a coroner, and a trauma nurse — he tries to cope with his adult son’s unsolved disappearance. According to entertainment news outlet Deadline, the family members “each have their own parallel journeys in the business of death.”

“It’s about the service”

Dawson, now 65, devoted 21 years to major league baseball, overcoming severe injuries and more than a dozen surgeries. Known as the “Hawk,” Dawson exceeded 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases before his 1996 retirement. With eight Golden Gloves and four Silver Sluggers under his belt, he was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.

He began investing some of his $25 million career earnings in mortuaries in 2003. Five years later, Dawson purchased Barrett-Fryar Funeral Home in Richmond Heights, Florida. Located in the South Miami-Dade area, the facility was close to Dawson’s church and the neighborhood where he grew up.

As it turned out, Dawson invested much more than money into the struggling funeral home. The state had shut down the business due to license violations. The building was falling apart, and the owner had retired and moved out of state. But because the community relied heavily on the mortuary’s services, Dawson took on the challenge, reopening with a full staff as Paradise Memorial Funeral Home.

“It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about the service being rendered to this community,” he told his new employees. “Now it’s time to make this thing work.”

All in the family

Make it work, he did. Dawson rehired licensed funeral director Van G. Brown, who had served Barrett-Fryar for 27 years. Together, the two renovated and remodeled the facility and assembled a staff that now numbers 24. Paradise specializes in serving each family’s unique and individual needs, from simple ceremonies to elaborate services.

Although some neighborhood folks may be aware of Dawson’s fame, he prefers to work behind the scenes. He transports bodies, runs the vacuum or mop, and oversees preparations — even those of COVID patients.

Like the fictional director’s family in the upcoming Closure TV series, members of Dawson’s immediate family are now involved in the “business of death.” His wife, Vanessa, manages most of the arrangement meetings. His son, Darius, recently joined his staff. And Dawson’s brother, Vincent Brown, owns and operates his own funeral home in northern Miami.

Connections continue

Throughout his years with the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox, and Marlins, Dawson never imagined his second career would be in deathcare.

“It’s not everyone’s cup of tea,” he told USA Today in 2018. “If someone had told me I’d be doing this when I played, I would have looked at them like they were crazy. Nobody would have believed it. It takes a minute to grow on you.”

Today, Dawson’s ties to America’s game still run deep. He works for the Chicago Cubs as a part-time assistant, and mourns the pandemic-induced challenges for fans and players.

“I miss baseball because of what it’s meant to me, and also just the game itself,” he told ESPN in May. “I can only envision how tough a time it is for fans right now. We keep throwing around dates when we hope to see a return of sports. But we don’t know.”

As of right now, Dawson won’t add “actor” to his set of careers, although he will serve as a consultant on Closure.