The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens is Jerry Torre’s touching and at times haunting memoir about his teenage days as caretaker of Grey Gardens, the now-celebrated mansion chronicled in the iconic documentary Grey Gardens and two feature-length films. The book, co-written with film historian Tony Maietta, is a behind-the-scenes look at “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” and their bizarre and reclusive life of squalor amidst the tremendous wealth of East Hampton, the family bond that developed between Jerry and them, and the day everything was turned upside down forever with the arrival of documentary filmmakers Albert and David Maysles.
What begins as a teenager coming upon what he assumed was an old, abandoned house takes on new dimensions when suddenly Edie appears on the porch draped in a shower curtain with an apron tied around her head. “You must be the Marble Faun,” she tells the stunned Jerry. Rather than chasing him away as he at first feared, she invites Jerry to meet her mother upstairs. So begins a strange and unusually close friendship with the two women as Jerry takes on the task of volunteer gardener of their estate, often sleeping nights in their living room and staying out of the way of mother-daughter arguments. The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens is Jerry’s look back on the filming of Grey Gardens but also how the notoriety the movie achieved changed his life along with the Beales’s as their private world is shared with audiences everywhere.