'Duchess' Demands $10M To Leave Carnegie Hall Editta Sherman has lived above Carnegie Hall for more than 60 years. In her home studio, she has photographed some of the most famous names in show business. Now, Carnegie Hall is trying to evict her. "I only have three years to be 100," she tells us as part of the reason why she's going to put up a fight.
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'Duchess' Demands $10M To Leave Carnegie Hall

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'Duchess' Demands $10M To Leave Carnegie Hall

'Duchess' Demands $10M To Leave Carnegie Hall

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If you make it to Carnegie Hall, baby, you know you have made it. Trouble is, someday Carnegie Hall will say the gig is up, as it is saying to Editta Sherman. She is a photographer. She has been living at Carnegie Hall since right after World War II in a studio apartment there where she has photographed some of the most famous faces in film, music and theater. Now, Carnegie Hall is asking her to move out of that apartment, and she is not ready to go. Hello, Editta Sherman. Why does Carnegie Hall want you to move?

Ms. EDITTA SHERMAN (Photographer): Well, they want to reconstruct the studios because they - it seems that they don't have enough space for people to come in and do their music and so on.

CHADWICK: This is a rent-controlled apartment, we will say, at Carnegie Hall. So, it's quite a good deal for you. You've asked them, you said, OK, I'll move out, but you have to pay me and, you know, help me out a little bit. How much money are you asking for?

Ms. SHERMAN: Well, it isn't that I agreed to move out. I haven't agreed to move out. Actually, I want to say here, but if they insist, I should have something like, I don't know, I mean, some reasonable amount of money.

CHADWICK: Wasn't it $10 million?

Ms. SHERMAN: Well, it said that, $10 million, but it could be less if I want to move. But you know, I'm not going to feel happy about moving out somewhere else...


Ms. SHERMAN: When I've been here that long and my people know me by the Duchess of Carnegie Hall.

CHADWICK: I didn't even know that, Duchess. I didn't even know there were apartments in Carnegie Hall. What, there were a half dozen kind of artist spaces there?

Ms. SHERMAN: Well, yes, that's what it was all about. There was 300 studios. Andrew Carnegie builds the studio, this building, for the artists who'd live and work. That's way back in 1900.

CHADWICK: You are a photographer. You have a site online where we can see some of your photos. These are amazing pictures that you have taken and you have a huge, old eight-by-ten 100-year-old camera there?

Ms. SHERMAN: Yeah, right. Yes.

CHADWICK: You've photographed so many stars. I mean, big stars who would come to Carnegie Hall, they would come up to your apartment, you would photograph them. You have a picture there I know of Yul Brynner.

Ms. SHERMAN: Yes, I have it here.

CHADWICK: And you photographed him there in your apartment?


CHADWICK: Tell me about that photograph, will you?

Ms. SHERMAN: Well, the - he came here several times, a matter of fact. He was a friend of Marlene Dietrich, and the second time he came, he wanted me to photograph Marlene Dietrich, who was his friend.

CHADWICK: Yul Brynner showed up with Marlene Dietrich and asked you to photograph her?

Ms. SHERMAN: Yes, right, because I have a long story with Yul Brynner. He was a friend actually, became a friend because my husband had a very bad situation with diabetes. And so they had a quite a talk about that because he was interested. You know, he died also with cancer, Yul Brynner.

CHADWICK: Well, Editta, I see you that you have a lot of stories of time...

Ms. SHERMAN: Oh, I have a lot, yes.

CHADWICK: In this apartment. Carnegie...

Ms. SHERMAN: I call it a studio. I don't call it an apartment.

CHADWICK: Yeah, OK, a studio. Carnegie Hall does want you to get out of the space, and you know something is going to have to happen here and...

Ms. SHERMAN: Right.

CHADWICK: And what do you think that is going to be? What is going to happen?

Ms. SHERMAN: Well, I don't think they can put me out. I mean, I'm 97 years old, coming up my birthday, 97. I only have three years to be 100 and I'm still skipping rope. And I'm running around, and I have no wrinkles on my face. People rave about it. But anyway, I - that's my life now. I mean, I've got 22 grandchildren.

CHADWICK: So, that's it. You're going to say you can't get me to leave, I'm just going to stay?

Ms. SHERMAN: No. I'm not going to leave because it's - I don't think it's right that they do this because I need my skylight. I have a beautiful light skylight and, you know, Tyrone Power, we're just crazy about this place. He brought Eva Gabor here one morning at 10 o'clock in the morning. So, I can't forget this with Tyrone Power. I feel that he is here. And as a matter of fact, I saw him in almost in person in one of my sleep - it was a heavy sleep, I guess. And these are little stories that you can talk about, you know...

CHADWICK: What the heck.

Ms. SHERMAN: Once in awhile.

CHADWICK: Editta Sherman, still dreaming of Tyron Power...

Ms. SHERMAN: Right.

CHADWICK: At your apartment there, your studio, I'm sorry, at Carnegie Hall. Good luck staying on there and battling with Carnegie Hall. And I guess we'll just have to see what happens.


CHADWICK: And you can see pictures of Editta's studio and you can see her work that's at our website,npr.org. Good luck, Editta.

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