The Loveliest Woman in America
A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries, and Her Granddaughter's Search for HomeBook - 2008
The author recounts her midlife round-the-world journey in search of lost elements from her actress grandmother's life after discovering the latter's hidden cache of diaries, letters, and scrapbooks.
In 1927, at the age of twenty-three, Rosamond Pinchot was hailed as "The Loveliest Woman in America." At thirty-three, in a sudden, shocking, and highly public act, Rosamond took her own life, setting in motion generations of confusion in the family she left behind.
Nearly seventy years after her demise, her granddaughter Bibi received a box of more than 1,500 pages of Rosamond's diaries and embarked on a seven-year journey to make sense of the silence that surrounded Rosamond's death and to discover the grandmother she never knew. An acclaimed beauty, actress, socialite, and outdoorswoman, Rosamond became the key to Bibi's understanding of her enigmatic and adventurous father, her glamorous but painfully divided family, and herself.
Through the silent labyrinth of a brilliant but troubled family, Bibi pieced together Rosamond's life story—her magical embrace of nature, her love for two compelling but difficult men, and her circle of "on tops," intimates, and mentors, including Elizabeth Arden, Eleanor Roosevelt, George Cukor, and David O. Selznick. Bibi also discovered the tragic legacy of the women in her family, including Rosamond's cousin Edie Sedgwick and her half sister, Mary Pinchot Meyer, whose murder in 1964 has never been solved.
As if looking in a mirror, Bibi found parts of herself in the complex, tragic, yet beautiful story of the high-spirited Rosamond Pinchot and designed a mission at midlife: to outlive the often difficult, but exuberant and passionate, lives of her ancestors.
A landscape architect recounts her midlife round-the-world journey in search of lost elements from her Hollywood actress grandmother's life after discovering the latter's hidden cache of diaries, letters, and scrapbooks.