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Death of Church of Satan’s `pope’ kept secret

SHARE Death of Church of Satan’s `pope’ kept secret

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 Polanski'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 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 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 parlor. "No one will take his place," added Barton.