Friday, September 2, 2011

Wendy & The Lost Boys

Whatever flaws Lola Wasserstein had as a mother, she produced more than her share of extraordinary offspring. Her eldest, Sandra Meyer, was a top executive for American Express and Citicorp at a time when few women entered those boardrooms. Bruce Wasserstein pioneered the 1980s-style corporate takeover and became one of the richest men in the country (Forbes put him at #190). Georgette, who wanted a quiet life, runs a large country inn with her husband. Lola’s family was both dazzling and haunted by dark secrets and early deaths.

Wendy, the baby, became the first woman to win a (solo) Tony award for best play. In an astute new biography, “Wendy and the Lost Boys,” veteran reporter Julie Salamon fills in the history that produced a personality as extravagantly affable and intensely compartmentalized as Wendy Wasserstein. Eminently approachable, often unkempt, Wasserstein did not look like the sort of woman to keep complicated personal ledgers. When she died, at age 55, many of her closest friends discovered that each of them knew a different Wendy.

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