Edith Beale, Jackie's Aunt, Dies at 81
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP)- Edith Bouvier Beale, an aunt of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, is dead at age 81. She and her daughter, Edith Beale, 59, lived together in an old vine-covered mansion called Grey Gardens in East Hampton.
The mother and daughter came to public attention five years ago when they were threatened with eviction after health inspectors found them living without heat or running water. Residents of fashionable summer homes surrounding the rundown building had complained to town officials about it.
The 28-room mansion was littered with excrement from pets, and the building's exterior was dilapidated and shrubs and trees had become an overgrown jungle.
The eviction proceedings were halted when Mrs. Onassis and her sister, Lee Radziwill, reportedly paid several thousand dollars to clean up the mansion. The family also arranged to support the two women financially.
Newspaper stones brought the two women's plight to the attention of filmmakers Albert and David Maysles, who produced the 94-minute "Grey Gardens."
In the movie, the mother spoke of her life in high society and her hopes for a singing career. Some critics said the film was cruel and held the two women up to ridicule.
Mrs. Beale said, "It's the greatest thing that ever happened to me in my old age. Nobody else wanted to take my picture," she said.
Mrs. Beale died Saturday at Southampton Hospital. Funeral services will be private.
(Edith (nee BOUVIER) BEALE died on Saturday, February 5, 1977)
[Oakland Tribune (CA), Monday, February 7, 1977]
Transcribed by Karima ~ 29 December 2006