edie_edie…a fabled home located in the elite seaside Village of East Hampton, Long Island.  Of course, Grey Gardens is also a landmark documentary, a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical and an HBO movie starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. Most importantly, Grey Gardens is a breathtaking and alluring portrait of Edith Beale and her daughter Edie.

This site is an informal database of all things related to the singular world of “Big” Edith and “Little” Edie Beale. You will find a bit of everything here: from the latest news to answers to some of the questions you have always wanted to ask.

A special thank you to David Maysles, Al Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer, and Susan Froemke for creating the magnificent documentary that has touched and inspired us all.

 

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index-photo1As you might imagine, I get a lot of emails regarding Grey Gardens . Most of them want to know what happened to Little Edie’s hair or ask if she eventually made any money from the documentary. But a few want to know, “What’s the deal with all these ‘Edie’ fans?” or “Why do you even care so much about these ‘crazy’ women?”

The obvious answer would be that the two Edies are characters that no novelist would ever dare to invent. It’s a “riches to rags” American epic. It has a mythic quality that echoes Greek tragedy. It’s a fairytale told in reverse. An over-the-top Gothic narrative. A classic Tennessee Williams play set to music. A soap opera of the mind.

For me, though, the story is appealing because the Edie Beales were the ultimate survivors. They continued to stay afloat no matter what life threw at them. They enjoyed life and they fought to live it (even if, at times, their battle armor happened to be expressed in outlandish costumes!). Survival in the face of adversity was an idée fixe.

Time and again, they projected a radiant sense of optimism and debonair self-assurance that could only come from being comfortable in one’s own skin. They refused to see themselves as objects of pity. This doesn’t mean that they had their heads stuck in the East Hampton sand, and it wasn’t an act for the Maysles’ cameras. These women were strong individuals that repudiated nothing and refused to compromise anything. Their personal liberty was a continuum. If they could have extracted that dogged, authentic Beale essence and bottled it, they would have certainly been millionaires many times over.

Of course, maybe the charm of Grey Gardens is that there are so many unanswered questions?