Happy birthday to Fran Lebowitz!
The author, actress, and “modern day Dorothy Parker” turns 67-years-old today.
Fran has also been dubbed a “famously contrarian humorist” (x).
Frances Ann Lebowitz was born on
October 27, 1950 in Morristown, New Jersey. She was raised in a middle-class
Jewish family, but claims she had been an atheist since the age of 7. One of
her famous quotes on Jewish identity reads, “Jewish identity is ethnic or
cultural or whatever people call it now, but it’s not religious.” A “trouble
child,” she was expelled from her high school before graduating but was able to
receive a GED.
In her early years, Fran worked
various low paying jobs and was struggling to get by, but her “big
break” came when she was hired by Andy Warhol to come on as a columnist at Interview Magazine. She made a name for herself at Interview and her specific brand of wit became a staple of the mag. This was followed by
a columnist position at Mademoiselle Magazine
and two essay collections titled Metropolitan
Life and Social Studies. She had
a recurring role on Law & Order
from 2001 to 2007, made several appearances on Late Night David Letterman, and has two infamous works-in-progress titled Progress and Exterior Signs of Wealth.
Although she has never had a
public coming out, it has become somewhat of a known fact in New York society
that Fran Lebowitz is a lesbian. Her butch fashion sense has become iconic and
she was named one of Vanity Fair’s
internationally best dressed women of 2007. The most Fran has spoken publicly
about LGBT matters was is her critiques of the community’s
fixation on marriage equality. In an interview with Paper Magazine in 2014, she had this to
“The idea that those words [‘gay marriage’] are together is so hilarious to me. As I’ve said numerous times, I know that people wanted it, now they can do it in New York. I say ‘they’ not because I’m not gay, but because I’m not getting married. In a million years I never would have thought of this. People always say, ‘You were always fighting for this, right?’ No, I wasn’t. I wasn’t that kind of political activist. I never even imagined that anyone was even thinking about this, which I don’t think they were in 1971. To me, this goes more along with the other ways in which this culture is how it was in the 1950s. For me, if you want to get married, get married, I don’t care. I frankly don’t understand why people get married. When I was young, nobody did. It seems to me so confined.”
Ann Lebowitz is the first that comes to mind. She does portraits mostly of celebrities. I was just googling her and came across a photo she took of Susan Sontag, one of my favorite essayists/philosophers/feminists.