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Monday, 9 July 2007

Frazier Interview

George Frazier Redux
(Part IV:-- This is the last in a series detailing an interview by Richard Carreño with J. Pepper Frazier, youngest son of George Frazier, conducted 6 August 1976 in Pembrooke, Massachusetts).

RDC: It seems to me that his slimness, when he [George Frazier] was in good health, could be attributed to poor eating habits.

JPF: No. He did exercises. When he was on Nantucket, he ran.

RDC: He did own his own house on Nantucket?

JPF: No. He rented. He would switch around, and sometimes get close to my mother's house just to annoy her. They [his parents] used to have a house on Nantucket.

RDC: Does your brother, George IV, share your interest in producing a book?

JPF: He doesn't seem to. I saw him last weekend. I don't understand it. He says he doesn't have enough time. I guess he does have his hands full,

RDC: How was the estate divided?

JPF: Between us [J Pepper and George IV].

RDC: What about the wardrobe?

JPF: That's downstairs. [Richard] Merkin wants some of that. But I can't [part with it]. I lent Merkin some pictures, and he didn't give them back to me. Also, some people have called out of the blue, inquiring about the clothes. That was kind of tasteless.

RDC: How large is the wardrobe?

JPF: Not huge. He believed that a good suit should last almost forever. I'd say 10 suits; 10 sports jackets; 10, 15 pairs of Peals and Lobbs [bespoke shoe-makers in London]; alot of ties. Alot of the same ties. He must have had 25 to 30 black knit ties. And alot of chevron-checked [Macclesfield-designed] ties. If he found something he liked, he'd buy alot of them. Like, eight-feet long winter scarves. He had some summer clothes. Though not very many summer suits. Not many summer jackets. Maybe three of each. Alot of sweaters.

RDC: Brooks was his favourite haberdasher...?

JPF: We [J. Pepper and George IV] were the first kids to have Brooks Brothers button-down shirts. One of my mother's favourite stories is that Dad went into Brooks Brothers [at 346 Madison Avenue, New York] and asked for button-down shirts for my brother and me, But he was told, 'I'm sorry. We don't them for children.' But he got them made. The reason for the problem was because Alfred Vanderbilt claimed that the shirts were too expensive for his kids. So, Dad got them for us.

RDC: Was he a Brooks man, through and through?

JPF: I didn't like his taste for jodphur boots. Sometimes, he'd try to dress a little too young for his age. Cable-knit sweaters, too brightly coloured. It's tough to describe.

RDC: What about his being on President Nixon's 'Enemy List'?

JPF: He thought that was great. But if Nixon wanted a real enemy, he should have left him off the list.

RDC: Did he ever do any research?

JPF: He would constantly take notes. He would always be writing things on little pieces of paper, on the backs of envelopes. Especially when watching TV. He'd see something, and say, 'Oh, that prick!,' and write down whatever occurred to him. He was always reading magazines. But how pertinent they were, I don't know. He'd Monster Times. He thought it was great. If he said something that was vaguely witty, he'd write it down so as to use it sometime. In no way, [was he] a reporter. If his facts weren't there, he'd try to invent them one way or another. He would always try to start rumours, or try to get people to admit something that he wanted to be true.

RDC: Did he travel much?
JPF: He got to Hollywood alot. I don't think he like to travel. The whole Eastern seaboard, he didn't mind.

RDC: Thank you.