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Intelligencer: August 1-15

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What Happens at Elaine’s
Elaine sort of remembers.
Elaine Kaufman isn’t sure what to make of the libel suit filed by Roman Polanski against Condé Nast. It involves a 2002 Vanity Fair article about Elaine’s. In it, Lewis Lapham recalled that the only time he’d seen “people gasp” at the restaurant was when, en route to the 1969 funeral of Polanski’s murdered wife, Sharon Tate, the filmmaker sat next to a “gorgeous Swedish girl” and slid his hand up her thigh, saying, “I will make another Sharon Tate out of you.” (Vanity Fair has since corrected itself and said the incident happened two weeks after the funeral.) “I don’t know what condition Lewis was in at the time, if this indeed did happen,” says Kaufman. She remembers the night Polanski came in. “Yeah, sure. It was very dramatic.” But as for thigh-skimming, “I don’t look under tables. Give me a break. I’ve got enough to look at on top.” According to her, Polanski came in with buddies Dick and Paul Sylbert and Robert Towne, or as she calls him, “you know, the big tall guy; he’s got a beard now.” It’s a bit of a blur—perhaps for everyone. “I just have a sense of humor about what people think they can remember from 30 years ago,” she says. “The accuracy must be overwhelming.”
—Jada Yuan


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