Albert Maysles, who, along with his brother David, directed documentary cinema classics Gimme Shelter (1970) and Grey Gardens (1975), died Thursday at his home in Manhattan, reports the New York Times. He was 88.
Coincidentally, a 40th anniversary remastering of Grey Gardens is being released today in select theaters via Criterion. It's a gorgeous print, worth revisiting if you've already seen it or experiencing it for the first time, if you haven't. Big and Little Edie Beale—the reclusive aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, who were captured in their crumbling East Hampton mansion in 1973 by the Maysles' camera—have never booked better, bolder, or more staunch.
Grey Gardens served to give the Beales a taste of the stardom they had long craved, but it was not without its detractors—the kind of people who scream "Exploitation!" when faced with candid depictions of eccentrics. Albert discussed the process during a brief intro to Criterion's release of The Beales of Grey Gardens, a 2006 companion documentary made from footage that was not included in the original Grey Gardens. Though its nature is vérité, Grey Gardens was more collaborative than most documentaries, partly because the Beales were natural entertainers.
"There were days when we got such good material that all four of us would shout, 'Ah, it's been a banner day!' We all loved that," Albert recalled.
[There was a video here]
"We loved these two women very much, and the film itself, brings us all four together: the women, my brother and myself," Albert continued. Big Edie died in 1977, Little Edie died in 2002, and David Maysles died in 1987. They remain together, all four of them, preserved for eternity in Grey Gardens and The Beales of Grey Gardens.
[Image via Getty]