"Miranda":The woman who fooled Hollywood's leading men
New details in the death of Hollywood legend Natalie Wood - secret tapes about what may have happened that night in 1981 and a captain who may hold the clues. Plus, two more of Hollywood's most enduring mysteries.
How did many of the entertainment industry's most famous fall madly in love with the same seductress? She said she was beautiful, well-connected and named Miranda. The powerful circle of men enchanted is astonishing.
Writers Sam Kashner, Patricia Bosworth and Bryan Burrough, three of Vanity Fair's most celebrated authors, share their stories of one of Hollywood's most enduring mysteries... and introduce thew woman behind the voice
Bryan Burrough: [reading from his article, "The Miranda Obsession"]: "Miranda Grosvenor was a silky phantom, who told men she was a beautiful and blonde ... did some modeling and looked after her fabulously wealthy father. ... Many men believed her. At least a few actually fell in love with her."
"The most memorable story I've ever done, seriously, in 30 years was this story about this woman who called herself Miranda Grosvenor.
"The story was, in essence, that during the '80s, the '70s and even into the '90s, this woman -- was known to have or said to have called up and befriended over the telephone, cold calling, literally dozens of major Hollywood actors, directors -- rock stars -- even politicians.
"The names started to pile up. Robert DeNiro, Eric Clapton, Peter Gabriel, Ted Kennedy, Rush Limbaugh -- Bono of U2."
Sam Kashner: "She liked classic rock. Art Garfunkel ...The producer Quincy Jones."
Bryan Burrough: "I remember when I first heard this story I thought it's doubtful that it's true. ...This was a story unique to men.
"One guy would say, 'You won't believe this woman I'm talkin' to.' And the other guy would say, 'Her name isn't Miranda, is it?' [laughs].
"Come on, this must've been about sex. This must've been dirty talk. This must've been for money. ...She must -- have some leverage on these famous people to get them to talk to her. There was none. ...Mostly, it was as simple as, 'If you wanna talk, I'll listen.'
"One of the biggest names was Billy Joel. Not only had he talked with this woman for a period of years...but he came to view her as something of a muse. During the making of 'Uptown Girl,' he was calling Miranda...and playing these songs for her that she would tape on her answering machine."
Bryan Burrough: "Finally I found somebody who'd done what I had to do which was the detective work. Do you remember from-- so many movies, on, this great screenwriter, Buck Henry?"
Patricia Bosworth: "Sure. Oh, sure."
Buck Henry, Writer, director, actor: "I was sitting at home. It was, like, 2:00 in the morning. I was pretending to write something. And the phone rang and what sounded like an overseas operator asked me who I was and did I know somebody. It was totally confusing.
"Along with the overseas operator voice, of course there was no overseas operator, was the Miranda Grosvenor voice. ...I bought it because I was intrigued by what was happening.
"She sounded fabulous. She sounded like a young girl, very kind of, you know, kicky and - and -- mischievous and flirtatious."
Bryan Burrough: "And at some point, Buck, who is not the most romantic individual I've ever met, wanted to find out who she was."
Buck Henry: "She called and said, 'Look, I know you're having questions about my identity. You're gonna get proof of who I am Tuesday night.' And then Tuesday night I did the Johnny Carson show...and I think I must've said to Johnny, 'Did you ever hear of a girl named Miranda Grosvenor?' Carson said, 'Wait a minute...I was coming down the stairs at 21 in New York and this -- this girl with long blonde hair, very attractive -- came up to me and said, 'Would you give Buck Henry my love if you see him again?' Now I almost fainted."
Bryan Burrough: "A funny thing happened with Buck Henry. He'd been talking with her for a period of weeks, perhaps months, when she, at his request, sent him a picture."
Buck Henry: "Bad move. A friend of mine in New York I showed the picture to said, 'Oh, I know who that is. 'That's so-and-so. It's an American model.'"
Bryan Burrough: "And, at that moment, Buck said, 'This woman's a fraud.'
"The great question of all this is why on earth were men like Billy Joel and Peter Gabriel and Quincy Jones talking to this woman on the telephone?"
Buck Henry: "Guys are suckers for this kind of thing. I mean, hey, we marry them sometimes."
Bryan Burrough: "There were men here who-- one or two, who will tell you they fell in love with her. ...And I'm pretty sure it was Buck who said, 'Call Richard Perry.' Now, Richard Perry is a legend in music circles."
Richard Perry, Music Producer: "I've been a music producer for 46 years -- Rod Stewart, Ray Charles, Carly Simon, Ringo Starr...The Pointer Sisters, The Temptations, Diana Ross."
Patricia Bosworth "Isn't he the guy living with Jane Fonda?"
Bryan Burrough: "Exactly. They've been together for a few years now."
Bryan Burrough: "He was one of a number of men that I talked to who had essentially got to the point where they were building their lives around appointment phone calls with this woman."
Richard Perry: "I used to come home from -- working in -- in the recording studio... I would pour myself a glass of wine and have dinner in front of the speaker phone with Miranda and we'd talk for hours."
Bryan Burrough: "And this went on for weeks and months."
Richard Perry: "I wasn't gonna let it go any further without meeting her. So I demanded that she come to New York."
Bryan Burrough: "Richard obviously suspects what anyone hearing us talk -- and that is this woman is not a leggy, blonde, 23-year-old model."
Richard Perry: "I was anxious. Especially when I met her in her hotel room. And she wanted -- all the lights to be out."
Bryan Burrough: "He opens the door. It's in darkness. There's someone sitting on the bed."
Richard Perry: "My fantasy is that-- I would see somebody who-- who-- was still attractive to me on-- on-- on a physical level. Because I knew that-- she was attractive to me on every other level."
Bryan Burrough: "And as his eyes began to adjust to the gloom, it becomes clear that she's not a 23 year old leggy blonde. ...I mean, it was clear that she was not the person that she was-- was supposed to be.
"And while he never forgot about her, he stopped the relationship.
Richard Perry: "You know, as Sinatra would have said, 'It was great fun, but it was just one of those things.'"
Bryan Burrough: "It was after I heard Richard's story...that I realized this person actually exists. There was a person out there who's talking to Johnny Carson, to Quincy Jones, to Billy Joel, to all these people and that she's a regular person.
"I finally got a chance to talk with her ...And for the first time, she acknowledged that in fact she'd done it."
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