Monday, June 27, 2011
A little pre-happy 4th of July, compliments of Little Edie Beale
In the early 1970s articles in The National Enquirer and New York Magazine brought notoriety to an eccentric mother and daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who were living in squalor in a dilapidated mansion in East Hampton, NY called Grey Gardens. Grey Gardens is the 1975 documentary film by Albert and David Maysles. The film depicts the everyday lives of the two Edith Beales, a reclusive socialite mother and daughter known as Big and Little Edie of East Hampton, New York.
Relatives Jacqueline Onassis and her sister Lee Radzwill had it cleaned up but the ladies continued to live under the same circumstances. Big Edie died in 1977. At 60 years of age Little Edie pursued life as a cabaret singer, performing at Reno Sweeney a Manhattan night spot. She did 8 shows (January 10-14, 1978 receiving bad reviews by the New York Times; they were kept from her.) She lived two more years at Grey Gardens. She sold GG to former editor of The Washington Post Ben Bradlee and his wife Sally Quinn for $220,000. She lived in Oakland California, Montreal and moved to Bal Harbour, Florida in 1997 spending her days writing poetry and corresponding with fans. Her body was found on January 14, 2002. She wished to be cremated and her ashes spread alongst the Atlantic, not to be buried beside her mother.