Meryl Gordon

7 May 2018

“Bunny Mellon:  the Life of an American Style Legend”

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Before our Annual Meeting and Benefit Luncheon, our season’s final speaker was the award-winning journalist and best-selling author, Meryl Gordon, currently the Director of Magazine Writing at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University.

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She has written for a variety of publications, including Vanity Fair, The New York Times Book Review, and Town and Country magazine.  And she has profiled an array of influential and popular figures ranging from Kofi Annan and John Kerry to Michelle Obama and Nicole Kidman.

Her best-selling biographies include the enticingly titled, “Mrs Astor Regrets:  the Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach,” as well as, “The Phantom of Fifth Avenue:  the Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark.”

Her latest book, and the topic of our May lecture, “Bunny Mellon:  the Life of an American Style Legend,” was released this past Fall and is already on the New York Times best seller list and in its fifth printing.

It features a woman with significant ties to our region.  Bunny Mellon built and furnished homes in Northern “horse country” Virginia, bequeathed an extensive collection of Schlumberger jewelry to the VMFA, and, along with her husband, Paul Mellon, Made substantial gifts of art to both the VMFA and the National Gallery of Art.

Meryl was accompanied for the lecture by her husband, Walter Shapiro, a noted political columnist, who, in the acknowledgement of her book, she describes as “funny and charming, comforting and smart… and even a great line editor.”

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For the description of her course, the art of biography, in the NYU course catalog, Meryl poses several questions for the potential student, including this intriguing one:  “How do you choose which truth to tell about a person?”  Adding, “There are many ways.”