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Elaine Kaufman
Please vote to see the next celebrity (Voting Results will appear on Right Sidebar).
    (February 10, 1929-December 3, 2010)
    Born in Manhattan, New York
    Opened Elaine's on Manhattan's Upper East Side (1963)
    Restaurant attracted a following among authors, actors and other celebrities
    The New York Times, somewhat euphemistically, described her as 'imposingly heavyset.'
    The restaurant's decor ran heavily to junk shop/thrift shop items, leading comedian Alan King to say the place was 'decorated like a stolen car.'
    If you were an ordinary schlub, you might get turned away even though there were plenty of empty tables in 'the line' (a row of tables in the main room set aside for regulars and celebs).
    She was arrested for assault after slapping a customer (1998).
    She gave a customer directions to the rest room by saying, 'Take a right at Michael Caine.'
    Her restaurant became an early favorite of Manhattan's writers, including Joseph Heller, Mario Puzo and George Plimpton, because of her willingness to extend them credit during lean times.
    Her restaurant was name-checked in Billy Joel's 'Big Shot.' ('They were all impressed with your Halston dress/And the people that you knew at Elaine's')
    She was named a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservatory (2003).
    She said, 'Elsa Maxwell used to have to send out invitations. I just open the door.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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