The glamorous life of New York writer, editor, and critic Leo Lerman — populated by artists, fashion designers, and celebrities— is comprehensively recalled in this fascinating compilation.
In the years following World War II, Manhattan was a hotbed of culture and social upheaval. Lerman’s openly homosexual lifestyle was accepted by his family, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, which gave him a sense of security from an early age. Though he held many fond memories of his youth, he romanticized his immediate and extended family, associating with them a lost, old world nostalgia, while he moved further and further away from his religion and background, seeing himself as more “Yiddish than Jewish.”
Lerman attended acting school and stage-managed in the Catskills at the start of his career, but with his gregarious personality, cultivating friendships became his main art form. He befriended Imogene Coca and Truman Capote early on, and everyone from Marlene Dietrich, Noël Coward, and Maria Callas to Leonard Bernstein, William Faulkner, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis could be found at his famous soirees.
Lerman’s keen observations and witty tongue led to his writing features for such magazines as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Glamour, and to the center of the avant garde He attended seemingly every gallery opening, concert, theatre production, and film opening about town. He served as editorial advisor to Conde Nast Publications until his death in 1994.
Lerman’s letters and journals, painstakingly and lovingly assembled and edited by writer and Lerman assistant, Stephen Pascal, read as personal dialogues and wistful reminiscences intertwined with a who’s who of cultural scene makers. Set in a defining time and place, they serve as an engaging description and documentation of New York’s golden age.