Edie moved away after that, or tried to. She went off to live at the Barbizon Hotel For Women in New York. She was planning to become an actress, and she was certainly beautiful enough to, though when she moved there, her hair quickly began falling out. No one knows quite why, though it’s attributed to a stress related illness, and it may have been that, more than any hair loss, that damaged her prospects as a model or actress. She was up for auditions, but supposedly, she never quite made it to any of them.
She did do some modeling though. She later said:
“I modeled for Bach¬rach while I was waiting for the summer to audition. Someone squealed to my father. Do you know, he marched up Madison Avenue and saw my picture and put his fist right through Mr. Bachrach’s window!”
Meanwhile, Edie’s father divorced her mother, and cut off the remainder of the money. He ran off with a younger woman, and begged Big Edie to sell Grey Gardens, since there was no money left, but she refused.
And that was the end of it all for Edie. Her mother called her back to Grey Gardens when she was in her 30s. She said she needed someone to take care of her.
She started high-pressuring me to come home back in March of 1952 and she kept it up until the end of July. And July 29 I checked out, got on the train, came back, and was never able to get back….Mother took pictures. I was carrying a red umbrella. I didn’t know I’d never be able to get away again. I didn’t know that. I really wouldn’t have returned. Well, I guess I would have….
I think that my mother is always correct, and if she had wanted to keep her home, who was I to tell her that she shouldn’t keep her home and she could go to blazes about keeping her home? I didn’t even think of ever doing or saying a thing like that to my mother. That never occurred to me! Even though I didn’t want to, really…. She made me leave the Barbizon. I didn’t want to leave. I was getting my big chance! I was getting my audition! 1952- I was gonna get it! I was just getting up, what you call, a little nerve when she said I had to come home.”