Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Passing of a Great Director

Blake Edwards, one of my all-time favorite directors, who was also a great producer and writer known for clever dialogue, poignance and occasional belly-laugh sight gags in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "10" and the "Pink Panther" farces, has passed away. Blake's wife, Julie Andrews, and other family members were at his side.

At the time of his death, Edwards was working on two Broadway musicals, one based on the "Pink Panther" movies. The other, "Big Rosemary," was to be an original comedy set during Prohibition, Schwam said.

"His heart was as big as his talent. He was an Academy Award winner in all respects," said Schwam, who knew him for 40 years. [more...]

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Passing of Elaine

Elaine Kaufman, the colorful restaurateur whose East Side establishment, Elaine's, became a haven for show business and literary notables, died today at the age of 81. Kaufman was a veteran waitress and cafe manager in Greenwich Village when she bought a small bar-restaurant near the corner of Second Avenue and 88th Street in 1963. It was never about the design or the food - basic Italian fare. It was all about the owner-hostess, an outsized mother figure in a tentlike dress, and her friendships with the famous. Norman Mailer, Gay Talese and George Plimpton quickly became regulars, and over the years the glitterati joined the literati. Even Jackie Onassis went there. [more...]

I've been to Elaine's for several book signings and got to meet her once or twice.  She always seemed cranky to me and was never very hospitable... but I relished the wonder of the ghosts in that place and could feel the history.  I first remember seeing Elaine's in Woody Allen's "Manhattan" - I was the young teenage girl played by Mariel Hemingway - or so I thought.  Once I sat at the bar with (now the late) Ron Silver and he looked at me like I was insane while I told him how much I'd enjoyed "Enemies: A Love Story," then knocked over a bunch of glasses!  I got to meet (now the late) Walter Cronkite and his wife at that bar, too... and so many other stars. 

Once, I brought along a copy of my CD and tucked it behind the books on one of the shelves that displayed many of the famous authors who'd been celebrated there.  I wonder if someone ever found it?  R.I.P., Elaine!