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Category: Jackie Kennedy

Poor, haunted 'Grey Gardens' could strike Emmy gold

March 16, 2009 |  6:08 pm

After "Grey Gardens" debuts on HBO on April 18, expect it to be a major player at the Emmys. Not only will it be a front-runner to win best TV movie, it'll probably reap acting noms for Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore as "Big Edie" and "Little Edie" Beale, the eccentric aunt and cousin of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Perhaps even Jeanne Tripplehorn as Jackie.

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The two Edies were a combative mother-daughter duo who lived a pathetic life of faded aristocratic glory in a crumbling, raccoon-infested mansion in East Hampton, N.Y., that was nearly shut down and razed by the local health department in the 1970s. Their plight was exposed by the National Enquirer and New York magazine, and their home was rescued by Jackie and her sister Lee Radziwill. The two Edies' story and personal oddities were captured vividly in a 1975 documentary that's become a cult classic.

In 2006, the documentary was adapted into a stage musical that debuted at Playwrights Horizons in New York and then transferred to the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway, where it ran for 308 performances, closing in July 2008. It was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2007, winning three: best actress (Christine Ebersole as Little Edie Beale), featured actress (Mary Louise Wilson as Edith Bouvier Beale ) and costumes. It lost best musical to "Spring Awakening."

The HBO telefilm is a new dramatic adaptation of the original documentary.

Portraying Little Edie was such a traumatic experience for Drew Barrymore that she told W magazine it reminded her of her stint in rehab and prompted her to go into seclusion for six months.

While portraying the role, Barrymore said, "I thought, 'I'm afraid beyond anything I've ever known. I'm miserable, I'm scared, I feel sick all the time.' And I was like, 'Good! At least I have somewhere to put it.' "

Photo and video: HBO

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TV's Golden Girl Emmy hailed Camelot's Jackie Kennedy in 1962

July 28, 2008 |  3:50 pm

In honor of the birthday of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis — who would've been 79 years old today — let's look back at her big, Emmy-hailed accomplishment.

It's all the more appropriate to do so considering the launch of the second TV season of "Mad Men" last night, which, by the way, happened to occur— coincidentally, I'm sure — during the week that Emmy voters get their ballots and sample DVDs to determine the first-year's winners. ("Mad Men" leads with 15 nominations.)

In its sophomore season, "Mad Men" jumps ahead two years to 1962 when the age of "Camelot" was in full swing. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy hosted a TV tour of the White House in February to showcase the restoration of many of the state rooms. While Charles Collingwood — the newsman who accompanied Jackie Kennedy — hailed from CBS, NBC also telecast the hour-long program on Valentine's Day. And ABC aired the program four days later.

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TV ratings were staggering thanks to huge interest in both the publicity-shy wife of President Kennedy and her year-long initiative to make the Executive Mansion accessible to all Americans. Reviews were rapturous and the TV academy honored both the program and Jackie Kennedy with honorary awards at their kudofest that spring. Back then, the Emmys were held in both Hollywood and Gotham and that year, as in 1959, the capital also played host. Lady Bird Johnson, wife of then Vice President Johnson, accepted the award on Jackie Kennedy's behalf. The statuette is on display at the JFK presidential library in Boston.

The director of the special, Franklin Schaffner, picked up the helming award that night for his work on the "The Defenders," which also won drama program of the year. Schaffner went on to win an Oscar eight years later for directing best picture winner "Patton." Other notable winners included Shirley Booth who became the second performer, after Helen Hayes, to complete the triple crown of acting awards. Booth did it by picking up an Emmy as lead actress in a series for "Hazel" to go alongside her three Tony Awards and one Academy Award (for "Come Back, Little Sheba"). Eventual five-time Tony champ Julie Harris won her second Emmy for starring in the program of the year "Victoria Regina." And though Bob Newhart's short-lived show won humor program of the year, the comedy legend has yet to take home an Emmy himself.

By winning the Emmy for the music he composed for the documentary series "Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years," Richard Rodgers became the first person to run the grand slam of showbiz awards. He already had an Oscar for the song "It Might as Well be Spring" from 1945's "State Fair," five Tony Awards for his work on best musicals "South Pacific" (1950), "The King and I" (1952), and "The Sound of Music" (1960) as well as a 1960 Grammy for the original cast album of that last show. Bracketing his Emmy victory that spring by just two weeks on either side was another Tony for composing "No Strings" and another Grammy for that show's cast album.

To read more about the long-lasting effects of Mrs. Kennedy's efforts - CLICK HERE

(Photo: U.S. White House Collection)


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