Pop Culture

Jean Stein, Author of ‘Edie’ and ‘West of Eden,’ Jumps to Her Death at 83

An expert in the art of oral history, she jumped to her death from the 15th floor of a New York City apartment building, police said.

Jean Stein, the author best known for writing the oral histories Edie: American Girl, about Andy Warhol’s muse, and the Hollywood insider’s tale West of Eden: An American Place, died by suicide on Sunday, according to several reports. She was 83.

Stein, a former editor at the Paris Review who worked with Elia Kazan on the original Broadway version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, jumped from the 15th floor of an Upper East Side apartment building at 10 Gracie Square and landed on an 8th-floor balcony. A NYPD spokesman confirmed the suicide to The Hollywood Reporter but would not release the woman’s name.

In 1988, Anderson Cooper’s brother Carter died by suicide by jumping off the balcony of his mother Gloria Vanderbilt’s apartment in the same building.

Stein was born in Los Angeles in 1934 to Music Corporation of America founder Jules Stein and his wife Doris. After two years at Wellesley College, she enrolled at the University of Paris. While there, she had an affair with William Faulkner and then landed a job as an editor at the Paris Review.

Stein then returned to New York and worked as Kazan’s assistant on the original 1955 stage production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

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