Few documentaries have become a cult reference as great as Grey Gardens. The story of Big Eddie and Little Eddie Bouvier Beale, direct cousins of Jackie Kennedy, with flamboyant personalities that were close to indegence in a huge state in East Hampton, is dirty and charming. And that’s exactly why people love it.
Told by Albert and David Maysles in 1975, the story takes you inside a 14 room house, with 30 cats, many racoons and two crazy little ladies.
Journalists , filmmakers, Broadway producers and fashion editors (many fashion editors) fell under the spell of Little Edie. The childish and free spirit of this 57 year old woman is fascinating, almost as beautiful as her solid pair of legs, wich she has no problem showing, through adorable dances in bathing suits and heels.
Their story is incredibly rich, from the time before they knew bankrupcy, in their socialite bubble, to the life Little Edie makes for herself after her mother dies, and that’s what HBO tries to portray later, with their Grey Gardens film in 2009.
Starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, the movie follows the life of both Edies quite accurately, but with a Hallmark filter that can ruin the experience for some.
The costume department aced in a very delicate task, wich was to bring Little Edie back to life, with her particular sense of style and quirky make up.
Now, the house belongs to Ben Bradlee, former Washington Post executive editor, and his wife, Sally Quinn, author and journalist. They bought the mansion for $220.000 in 1979, two years after Big Edie’s death. For that price, Little Edie had received many offers, but it was Quinn who she chose to sell it to, probably because the first thing she said when she entered the house was “This is the most beautiful house I’ve ever seen” -even though she had to wear a flea collar to get in-. Little Edie said it was sold that very instant, then she did a little pirouette in the hall and said, “You see? All it needs is a coat of paint!”