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New York's Power Siblings

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Say Cheese: Sandra, Wendy, and Bruce Wasserstein on vacation in Miami  

Wendy & Bruce Wasserstein

We all had our family labels. My mother called my oldest sister Sandra a strazac, which literally means "fireman," but my mother told us it was a general in the Polish Army. Gorgeous was, well, gorgeous. Bruce was a genius, conveniently born on Christmas Eve with, according to my mother, Messiah potential. My talent was to accommodate larger personalities and observe; solid early training for a playwright.

Three years ago, Sandra, a female pioneer in corporate America, died of breast cancer. I am constantly running into successful women who knew her and tell me, "She was my mentor; she made it all possible for me." Part of me wants to reply, "No, you don't understand, she really made it all possible for me." She was the one whose judgment I counted on most because I believed she was always somehow in charge.

Bruce, on the other hand, was my personal protector. My brother never excluded me from adventures because I was a girl. I think of us roaming through the brush of land my father, Morris, owned in the Catskills. At the end of the trail, Bruce planted a stick, proclaiming it Bruceania. It never occurred to me to claim the new world as Wendyania.

In order to create my own ground, I became a playwright. Shortly after my brother sold his investment bank, Wasserstein, Perella, and before he opted to become head of Lazard, we were having a brother-sister luncheon at '21.' "So, Bruce, what do you think you'll do now?" I asked him -- softly, so no one could hear us.

"I don't know. Maybe I'll become a playwright!"

He was, I believe, half serious.

-- WENDY WASSERSTEIN


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