'Black Pope' of Satanic Church dies aged 67
  Copyright (c) 1997 Reuters

         SAN FRANCISCO (November 7, 1997 7:47 p.m. EST) - Anton Szandor    LaVey, a former lion trainer who became the "Black Pope" of the    Church of Satan, died last week aged 67, his daughter said Friday.
      "He said his epitaph should be ... 'I only regret the times that I was    too nice,"' Karla LaVey, a self-described Satanic high priestess, told    a news conference.
      Her father, the goateed occultist who played Satan in Roman Polanksi's    1968 film "Rosemary's Baby" and wrote the "Satanic Bible", died of    pulmonary edema brought on by a heart attack.
      Family members said LaVey died Wednesday, Oct. 29, but for some reason    his death certificate lists him as having died Oct. 31 -- Halloween.
      Deepening the mystery, the family said they kept his death secret for    a week in order not to distract his followers over their most    important holiday season.
      "We knew that our members would be very upset by this," said Karla.
      In the small, black-painted Victorian house which served as LaVey's    home and church headquarters, Karla and her father's longtime    companion Blanche Barton, another church high priestess, vowed    Thursday to continue with his work.
      "We will follow in his footsteps ... to keep the Church of Satan alive    and strong," said Karla, seated beside a life-size waxwork figure of    her father in the house's "Ritual Chamber", or parlour. "No one will    take his place," added Barton.
      LaVey worked as a circus lion trainer, crime photographer and    professional organist before founding his church in 1966. With a    shaven head and trademark black cape, he gained notoriety in 1967 when    he performed the very first Satanic wedding.
      His followers, said at one time to include include Sammy Davis Jr. and    Jayne Mansfield, nicknamed him "the Black Pope."
      LaVey's books about Satanism sold more than a half million copies    worldwide, and Singapore banned one, "The Devil's Notebook", in 1995,    saying it promoted Satanism and denigrated Christianity.
      In recent years, LaVey had released several musical recordings like    "Satan Takes a Holiday," an album that included such tunes as    "Honolulu Baby" and "Answer Me."
      Barton said that although LaVey "got away from the cape thing a long    time ago" he had further developed his Satanic philosophy and    regretted that some people had the wrong idea.
      "Satanists would be the first people to say 'Hey, the laws have to be    carried out,"' Barton said, adding that the Black Pope had long    disdained those "who listen rock'n'roll more than they read the    Satanic Bible."

      By ANDREW QUINN, Reuters