In 1971 Jackie Kennedy came to the rescue when the local health department tried to shut the house down. She offered a large sum of money to clean out the house and make needed repairs carting away over 1000 bags of garbage.
Little Edie singing with Big Edie in the background.
Little Edie in all the trash in the house, with the cats.
The house has a happy ending. In 1979 Little Edie sold the house for $220,000 to Ben Bradlee and his wife Sally Quinn. The couple restored the house to its former splendor. Quinn has said that Little Edie walked out the door and handed her the keys leaving the house with all its contents including many treasure troves of old letters and relics from a grand past.
Big Edie died in 1977 while living in the house. Little Edie moved to New York and later to Florida after selling Gray Gables. Little Edie died in 2002.
The documentary was made into an HBO movie (also worth seeing) starring Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore (2009) and a musical was produced for Broadway. The story is tragic in some ways but in other ways demonstrates a devotion between mother and daughter that is rare if not a little unsettling. Little Edie appears to be happy in the documentary and lived to be 84.