MEMORIAL DAY WITH LITTLE EDIE
The premier of summer is a great opportunity to talk about my favorite documentary, “Grey Gardens” – first released in 1976 exposing the lives of aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” respectively who lived in squalor and isolation for decades in the oceanside, formerly golden, 28-room mansion “Grey Gardens” in East Hampton.
It’s an iconic must see for your gay card and is beyond fascinating to any and everyone else.
An overlooked character in the documentary – which served as the basis for the 2006 Broadway musical and last month’s fantastic HBO Film – is the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean and beach play a strong and meaningful part in both ladies’ lives.
As we celebrate the sea, beach, summer and friends this Memorial Day Weekend, first grandson of Big Edie and cherished nephew of Little Edie, Mr. Bouvier Beale Jr., spoke with me in an exclusive and revealing interview. The Coaster and TheBPlot.com are the only outlets in the country in which you can read Bouvier’s comments about his family, right now.
TBP: Congrats on the HBO Film.
Bouvier: Thank you. Talking with Jessica (Lange) and Drew (Barrymore) about my family’s life was wonderful.
TBP: Do you think the documentary and film captured the essence of your relatives well?
Bouvier: The documentary, of course, captures the personality of my grandmother but I feel it is one-sided and edited to create a certain image. HBO’s film is wonderful and captures my grandmother perfectly – presenting some of the story from the important years prior to the documentary. I hope now fans are seeing a different perspective of the “Edie’s”.
My wife just published a limited edition book “Edith Bouvier Beale of Grey Gardens, A Life in Pictures” that also provides a genuine look inside Grey Gardens and features never before seen photos.
TBP: The coffee table book is just fantastic and I loved the HBO film. One of the questions the film created was regarding Big Edie’s friend and pianist George “Gould” Strong. Set the record straight, was he gay?
Bouvier: People assume he was gay. He was definitely Big Edie’s soul mate. Music and the desire for companionship drew them together. She felt her husband was always absent…working.
At one point, Little Edie’s diary actually expresses a bit of competition between her and Gould, for her mother’s attention. Later, when Gould was sick, Little Edie writes that she sent Gould a note and he replied back thanking her.
TBP: The film ends in 1977 with Little Edie performing in the New York City nightclub Reno Sweeney. What was the backstory there?
Bouvier: I have seen the contract that she had for that club. After modeling as a teen and young adult, it was one of her very first jobs (at 60 years of age) and she decided not to continue it quickly. My father and Jackie (Kennedy Onassis) did not really approve of those performances so everyone was pleased Edie’s show was short-lived. (End)
The amazing picture book is sold at GreyGardensCollections.com, along with a number of other beautiful products inspired by Little Edie and Grey Gardens, including reproductions of their famous jewelry, cast from the originals.
Next week, Bouvier discusses Little Edie’s life after Grey Gardens and how the home got its moniker. In two weeks, secrets revealed about Little Edie and Bill Clinton and what she thought about Asbury Park.