One of the most famous houses in American cinema is up for sale.
In 1972, New York magazine ran a cover story titled “The Secret of Grey Gardens.”
It described a mother and a daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, living in squalor with 12 cats in a crumbling 1897 mansion in East Hampton. They were both named Edith Beale, or Big Edie and Little Edie.
The Edies considered themselves “artists against the bureaucrats” and obsessed over the glory of the past, when they had more wealth. They faced intrusion from local authorities because the house was outwardly an eyesore, but also because health officials believed they were mentally diseased and living in unfit conditions.
From New York's description of a raid on the house by inspectors:
Cameras recorded the sorry scene: cat manure covering the floors; a five-foot-high mound of empty cans in the dining room; the Sterno stove on Mother’s bed; cobwebs, cats and all sorts of juicy building-code violations.
That story led to the widely acclaimed 1976 documentary Grey Gardens. It also begat a Broadway musical in 2006 and an HBO film starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange in 2009.
The house is looking a lot better these days. After her mother died in 1977, Little Edie sold it to former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee and the journalist Sally Quinn. Bradlee passed away in 2014, and Quinn has now put the house back on the market for $19.995 million, reported Newsday.
The house includes a pool, a tennis court, “and of course the legendary gardens, which are likely to be some of the most beautiful you will ever see,” according to a 2013 rental listing.
Here’s what it looks like now:
For a peek inside, check out this CBS News piece from 2015.