Monday, January 18, 2010

The Girls

Edie and Irene Mayer, sisters....rivals actually, and the daughters of Mr. Louis B. lived a life few others have. Ever since I read Irene's memoir, "A Private View", I was hooked. Finding information about these women has never been easy. Though Irene seemed generous [in regards to her recollections], reading that book, I knew there had to be another book, one she wouldn't write. A.Scott Berg in his book, "Kate Remembered" wrote about Irene, as she and Katharine Hepburn had been close for many years. As far as he is concerned, Irene, the ultimate control freak, willed herself to die....and succeeded.

As to Edith, there is even less information available. Dominick Dunne spoke of Edie in his book, "The Way We Lived Then", but the best source turned out to be the marvelous David Patrick Columbia at New York Social Diary (http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/). He knew Edie quite well and visited her weekly, with pen and pad in hand.

I intend to drop little bouquets about The Girls as time goes by. They are my obsession.


  1. Just discovered your blog and this particular post while doing a Google search on Irene. I've also been a huge fan of hers since first reading her memoir 25 years ago. I've lost count how many times I've read it now, but last week I started reading it again after finishing the Scott Berg KH tribute bio that you mentioned (which I re-read primarily for his insights on Irene, which are riveting). Like you, I scarf up every bit of information I can find about either of the Mayer girls ... and finding information about them isn't easy!

    One good source of information on Irene is David Thomson's 1992 bio on David O. Selznick. Irene was one of Thomson's primary sources, and she's quoted in detail throughout the book. Like Scott Berg, Thomson was admittedly quite enthralled by her, and her contributions to the book were fascinating and extensive. You might also want to check out the April 1990 and April 1992 editions of 'ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST'. Both issues were part of their 'Academy Awards Collector's Edition' series. The 1990 issue has a feature story about Irene & David O., and the 1992 issue has a feature story about Edie Goetz (Edie's was written by Scott Berg). Both stories feature fantastic photos of the sisters' famous homes in Beverly Hills. This magazine series seems to be quite sought after by collectors, but you can usually find various issues on eBay (there are 6 issues in this series, always in April ... 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000). They're well worth the cost!

    Before I conclude, I'll share a personal story with you about Irene. After re-reading her memoir in the Fall of 1987, I was so struck by it that I was moved to write her a letter telling her how much I had enjoyed it. I sent it care of the Pierre Hotel in New York, doubting whether it would ever actually find its way to her. Well, I got the surprise of my life when she called me on the telephone to thank me for it! She talked to me for over an hour, and it was a conversation I will never forget. She spoke in such a low tone of voice that I almost had to strain to hear her, but the extra effort was definitely worth it, as she was definitely one of the most compelling people I've ever had the privilege of speaking with. She was a very accomplished person and a very complex but wonderful woman. I'm so pleased to discover someone else that appreciates her as much as I do.

  2. why thanks for writing david! strange as might sound, i picked up "a private view" just the other night to peruse as my sleepytime read. i do have thomson's book on david, as well as many other DOS books. no matter what else i've read, nothing seems to cut as close as berg's recollections. (that he wrote about edie for architectural digest seems amazing.....i mean, my impression is, if you were in irene's camp, then you NEVER ventured into edie's. of course, edie had died by '90 and irene had a both feet in the grave. still...i always wanted to write berg and tell him that he must do a book about them, but i didn't. thanks you so much for the tip on the magazines, i must have them! i do know about the old vogue that had a spread on edie's house, but have chosen not to get it. no doubt, you've seen the elisofon book.

    i have to go eat dinner, but i'll be back to blather on.....

  3. ...continued blather:

    that she phoned you is staggering. wow. i need to digest this.

    you will tell me more, won't you?


Please, we're all ears!