Monday, August 14, 2006

For Those "Grey Gardens" Fans Out There.

This is an article, apparently in the local Hamptons paper titled Dan's Papers about Bouvier Beale, Jr., the nephew/grandson of the the two Edies and cousin to Jackie Onassis. I thought I'd pass it along:

"Bouvier Beale, Jr.
Real Estate Investor

By Debbie Tuma

After spending many memorable moments visiting his grandmother, Edie
Beale, at Grey Gardens in East Hampton, Bouvier Beale, Jr. and his
family were back last week in this same historic house, recalling his
childhood memories.

"My father, Bouvier Beale, Sr., who was an attorney in New York City,
used to drive us out here every year in February, to celebrate my
grandmother's birthday," he said. "We used to take `Big Edie,'
as we
called her, out to the best restaurants in East Hampton for lunch,
and then drive her back home. Every time we went to a restaurant, she
would sing a song at the table so everyone would hear. She was a
trained opera singer, and she had a good voice." Her
daughter, "Little Edie," who was Bouvier Beale Jr.'s aunt, also loved
to sing and dance, but the two of them chose to remain together in
Grey Gardens until Big Edie's death in 1976, when she was in her

This was also the year that the famous cult film, Grey Gardens,
produced and filmed by Albert and David Maysles, came out. These two
renowned documentary filmmaker brothers had spent six weeks filming
the two Edies, who were fascinating and colorful recluses and were
also related to Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, whose family was from
East Hampton.

"My Dad was Jackie's first cousin, and I'm her first cousin once
removed," explained Bouvier Beale, Jr., as he sat in the sunroom on
the original wicker furniture from his grandmother's former
house. "Jackie Kennedy's father was Big Edie's brother."
When asked if he'd ever met Jackie Kennedy, he said, "I spoke to her
many times on the phone, and she sent a beautiful Cartier silver gift
to my wife Eva and I for our wedding in 1980. Jackie also attended
Big Edie's funeral. She and my Dad were cousins and good friends, and
they used to meet for lunch in New York several times a year."
Bouvier Jr. met his wife, Eva, on a blind date in New York City,
where she lived. In 1980, a year later, Little Edie sang at their
wedding, which was held at a church in Bridgehampton, followed by a
reception at Gurney's Inn Resort in Montauk. After studying
communications at Boston College, Eva has maintained a career as an
executive with Air France, taking the family around the world. Now
she is working on putting her family's collection of photos, letters
and poetry into a coffee table book about the two Edies.
"I was just amazed by the amount of letters, poems and diary entries
written by Little Edie," said Eva Beale. "I feel she is watching over
me, wanting me to put these into a book for the whole family, and the
public to enjoy. It will dispel many of the myths surrounding her and
her mother, and tell their real story."
Bouvier Beale, Jr. explained that he, his wife Eva, and their two
daughters, Tatiana, 21, and Maria, 17, were spending the month of
July at their home in Amagansett, as they do each summer, and they
had attended a party at Grey Gardens a few weeks ago to celebrate the
30th anniversary of this movie with Albert Maysles. Beale and his
family flew in from California, where they live outside of San
Francisco, and where he works as a real estate investor.
"It was so exciting to come back to this house for a party, and to be
part of all the buzz that is being recreated around Grey Gardens,
from the hit off-Broadway show, to the new Broadway musical that is
due to come out in November, to an upcoming movie starring Jessica
Lang as "Big Edie," and Drew Barrymore as "Little Edie," he
said. "It
is hard to believe, after 30 years, that all this is happening now."
Beale looked around at his grandmother's beautifully restored and
redecorated turn of the century home, and out the windows to the
magnificent pool and gardens of hydrangeas, wisteria and lilies. "I
can't believe the difference how this house has changed, and what a
great job the current owners, Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn, have done
fixing it up," he said. "I left the Hamptons in 1966 to go away to
prep school, and then relocated to California. The first time I had
stepped foot in this house was last year, at the invitation of Ben
and Sally." He said the second time he and Eva had been to the house
was at the recent party, hosted by Frances Hayward, who has rented
the house year-round for over a decade, except for when Bradlee and
Quinn return.
"At the party, it was great to see Albert Maysles again, and to see
the screening of his movie at Guild Hall following the party. It was
also good to see the screenwriter and director of the new movie,
Michael Suscy, who may be consulting with us about some of the family
Bouvier Beale, Jr. explained a little of his own history. He was born
in New York City, raised in Glen Cove, L.I. and he came out to East
Hampton to visit his grandmother each year until 1966, when he
graduated from Westminster Prep School in Simsbury, CT and entered
Syracuse University, before moving out west.
"This house looked much as it does now, but after that, it went
downhill, due to lack of money after Big Edie's divorce, and it hit
its worst point about eight years later, when the Grey Gardens movie
was filmed," he said.
He explained that although the house had been paid for and the taxes
were low, the two Edies lived on the remaining money, but didn't do
any maintenance or upkeep on the house.
"Back in the early 1970s, pre-women's liberation movement, single or
unmarried women were essentially powerless, and it was a combination
of that and economic pressure that made them decide to choose an
unorthodox, free-spirit life as recluses, which is the way they
wanted to live," said Beale, Jr. "Today, I don't think that would
happen, since women would go out and work."
During his visit, Frances Hayward was giving a tour of the house for
the first time to Bouvier Beale's two daughters, Tatiana and
Maria. "We wanted them to see this house, since they've heard all our
stories about it," said Beale, who pointed out some old photos of his
aunt and grandmother on the table, and to a sketch of Grey Gardens
framed in the entrance hall.
He and his family will be returning to California this week. His
daughter, Tatiana, said, "I recognized the bedroom that Big and
Little Edie shared from the movie, but it looks so much better now.
I'm excited about the upcoming movie on Grey Gardens. Drew Barrymore
is one of my favorite actresses."