Edith Bouvier Beale is probably best known for being in a documentary called “Grey Gardens” (1975) directed by the Maysles Brothers. She was often referred as “Little Edie” by her family and friends.
While her mother was refer to as “Big Edie”
She also had a famous cousin named Jackie Kennedy.
When Jackie was little she often visited Edith at Edith’s mom’s house in the Easts Hamptons called Grey Gardens:
But Edith and her mom had some really hard times they were unable to pay household bills such as water, electricity, heat. They even couldn’t afford to pay their food bills sometimes. The house became unmanageable for the both of them and it began to literal deteriorate. However it didn’t stop them from living in the house:
It wasn’t until 1972 when Jackie Kennedy’s sister Lee Redziwill (a socialite, former princess) hired the Maysles Brothers to do a documentary about the Bouvier family. Lee wanted them to focus on her and Jackie’s childhood as the subject matter of the documentary.
The brothers agree to do the film. However when they took a trip to the East Hamptons to scout out locations of the places the two sisters had spent during their childhood. They learned about the Beale and how they were living in Grey Gardens. From there they decided to focus the documentary on the fascinatingly weird mother and daughter duo. However that upset Lee Radziwill so much that she withdrew the money for the movie she invested in. It took the Maysles brother a couple of years to save up money to come back and film at Grey Gardens.
In 1971, when Jackie learned how Big and Little Edie were living and also the numerous treats from the police, and many other health code violations they were trying to evict the Beale and demolish Grey Gardens. Jacke decided to invest around 30,000 dollars with restoring and cleaning up Grey Gardens. The
The documentary was officially released on September 27, 1975 to much praise. Little Edie went to the premiere of the movie and she was so excited they she wore her dress backwards with zipper being expose. Big Edie didn’t live long after the premiere of the documentary and died in February of 1977.
Little Edie lived by herself at Grey Gardens until 1979 until she decided to sell the house with the stipulation of the house not be demolished. And always had a heart of an entertainer so she decided to became a cabaret singer. And she had a cabaret show from January 10-14 1978.
She only had eight performances and even powered through her act when she had a fever and recent surgery on her eyes.
However the press was not so kind about her show or her singing and the club she was preforming at kept any bad reviews about her performance.
I couldn’t locate any of her performances from her cabaret act but I do have a small clip of her singing from the Grey Gardens Documentary:
Although if I were in attendance of her show I felt like I would of enjoyed it despite the bad reviews because she was such a vivacious character from the documentary.
Edie died in January of 2002 in Bal Harbour, Florida.
If you like to learn more about Little Edie and Big Edie. I recommend the following:
Of course the documentary by the Maysles Brothers:
The Beales of Gardens:
Grey Gardens Movie (2009) starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange:
That Summer (2018):
Until Next time!