EXCELLENCY HALL OF FAME

Words to live by for all Excellent People: “All literature is gossip.”

“But what can you say,” inquired Mrs. Matthau of Mrs. Cooper, to someone who’s lost a good lover, weighs two hundred pounds, and is in the dead center of a nervous collapse? I don’t think she has been out of bed for amonth. Or changed the sheets. ‘Maureen’ — this is what I did tell her — ‘Maureen, I’ve been in a lot worse condition than you. I remember once when I was going around stealing sleeping pills out of other people’s medicine cabinets, saving up to bump myself off. I was in debt up to here, every penny I had was borrowed . . ‘ “

“Darling,” Mrs. Cooper protested with a tiny stammer, “why didn’t you come to me?”

“Because you’re rich. It’s much less difficult to borrow from the poor.”

“But, darling . . .”

Mrs. Matthau proceeded.”So I said, ‘Do you know what I did, Maureen? Broke as I was, I went out and hired myself a personal maid. My fortunes rose, my outlook changed completely, I felt loved and pampered. So if I were you, Maureen, I’d go into hock and hire some very expensive creature to run my bath and turn down the bed.

Presenting His Extreme Excellency Mr. Truman Capote via the less excellent Richard Avedon…

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