LOS ANGELES—Susan "Shoosh" Karpman, co-owner of Triangle Films with her life partner Kathryn Annelle, died suddenly of a heart attack in her sister's former home in New York on December 29. She was 67 years old.
"We were on vacation in New York," Annelle told AVN. "It was a massive heart attack; they found her on the bathroom floor, and she had been dead for several hours, they said, so she must have gotten up in the middle of the night. She died just 20 feet from where her sister passed from cancer a little more than a year ago. It was an absolute nightmare."
"I've only been in this business for about 10 years now but Shoosh was one of the sweetest, kindest people I've ever met in it," said Victor Lightworship, a stills photographer for Triangle for more than seven years. "The girls all loved her. She was such a mother to them. Shoosh loved making sandwiches and tasty treats for each shoot. A Triangle lunch table was like none other in the industry."
Susan "Shoosh" Karpman was born October 8, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York. She acquired her nickname while she was still young, from a young nephew who couldn't pronounce her given name, and so called her "Shoosh."
"That's what everybody else called her too: 'Shoosh,'" Annelle remembered. "She just loved to talk. She was definitely a very strong personality."
She absolutely was a New York girl," Annelle continued. "She moved to California in the mid-'70s. She was retired from Disney. She was a contract administrator in their legal department. After that, she went to work for Amgen, the big pharmaceutical company, again as a contract administrator, but then, she just retired at 62, about five years ago. She loved the industry; she loved those women. She just worshipped all of them."
Annelle and Shoosh first met on the internet—another Match.com success story.
"We met about ten years ago; we've been together ten years, and we met on Match.com and it was just love at first sight, and we never lost that," Annelle said. "I can sit and feel sorry for myself, but I know that I had something for ten years that probably 95 percent of the people never have. We were just so much in love, we were like little kids—plus we got to work together!"
Even while at Amgen, Shoosh would visit Triangle's movie sets, and after retirement, she bought out Annelle's then-partner, and the pair began a shared ownership of the lesbian-based production company.
"She was taking time off work and coming to the sets and bossing everybody around, and she just absolutely loved it and decided to retire doing it, and that's what she did," Annelle stated. "She retired doing something that she loved more than anything else, and that was these women, and working with me."
Among Shoosh's admirers, whom Shoosh looked upon with great affection, were actresses Syd Blakovich, Dana DeArmond, Justine Joli, Kimberly Kane, Jiz Lee, Melissa Monet, Sinn Sage, Aiden Starr and Ariel X, and she reportedly had a very good working relationship with agent Mark Spiegler.
Sadly, because California's laws changed only recently regarding same-sex marriage, Shoosh and Kathryn Annelle never married although they had entered into a domestic partnership. However, since Shoosh had adopted a daughter, from whom she was reportedly estranged for 15 years, Annelle expects to have difficulty settling her partner's estate. A method to help Annelle defray legal costs for that upcoming battle is currently being worked out.
"Shoosh would have also liked for people to make donations to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in her name," Lightworship advised.
Besides Annelle, Shoosh is survived by the aforementioned daughter, three nephews who still live in New York—"her nephews were like sons to her," Annelle said—as well as several great-nieces and -nephews.
"She was just a wonderful woman," Annelle sighed. "I can't say enough about her."
Pictured, l-r: Kathryn Annelle, former actress Penny Flame and Shoosh.