The final in the Coaster’s exclusive three-part interview (Click here: Part 1, Part 2) with Bouvier Beale – grandson of Big Edie and Nephew of Little Edie of “Grey Gardens” – reveals how gay icon Little Edie remained inspired, prideful and dignified through various obstacles.

Little Edie Web

Little Edie 8

TBP: What should we all learn from your Aunt, Little Edie, and the little things she appreciated and enjoyed in life?

Bouvier: Edie loved the ocean…and swimming – a reason she would have loved Asbury Park, had she visited. She was full of passion and loved to dream. She was also crazy about writing. In her journal, she wrote her name and title as “celebrated poet, author and artist.”

She constantly wrote letters to friends and Presidents like Bill Clinton…she even wrote to Prince Charles. She approved of them both. Her letters were always amusing – one never knew what topic to expect.

TBP: Cellphones, iPods, environmental pollution – what would she think of the world today?

Bouvier: Edie would not use a cell phone. She rarely answered her phone and changed her phone number often since too many people were trying to contact her – she was very private. Whenever we spoke on the telephone, however, she was charming and always had something current and interesting to talk about.

She read “The New York Times” daily and kept up with what was going on in the world. She would be horrified at ocean pollution and global warming. Edie was always concerned about environmental issues.

TBP: Did she find happiness during the later years of her life?

Bouvier: She seemed to be a happy person. She may not have had all her dreams come true but she handled her life as best as she could. Sometimes I felt that Edie was living “out of this world” because she never held any real job – her first job was at Reno Sweeney singing. She lived a very privileged life and was not really prepared to live in today’s fast paced world.

TBP: Finally, Little Edie radiated a wonderful kindness and had a beautiful sense of elegance and strength – quite appropriate for this weekend here in Asbury Park.

Bouvier: Edie was an artist. She loved New York City because of all the artists and creative types living there. She would have loved Asbury Park and its diverse community. Edie had a very open mind and she always encouraged people to believe in themselves – as she did with her dancing and singing. Sometimes not everyone is going to like what one creates however Edie inspired many to do what they loved doing most, regardless of what others thought.

Both Edies were strong and their integrity and dignity was very important. They were survivors.

Perhaps that is the inspiration for today – as we face challenges, be strong and be who you are, for that is what counts in the end. Edie inspires us to be who we are and to be proud of it – all the time.

Little Edie web 2

(Courtesy Beale Estate)

(Courtesy Beale Estate)

grey gardens house 2 has a beautiful, revealing book and other items inspired by Little Edie.


Happy Gay Pride Month everyone – rainbows and Skittles for all.