Amazed, Schrader nevertheless had neither the time nor the energy to unravel the mystery of his newfound friend.“This went on for five, six months,” he says, “till finally it got so frustrating, all these aborted meetings, I just kind of let it go.
The woman on the line introduced herself as Miranda Grosvenor, and before Schrader could get rid of her, she had somehow managed to keep him talking for 20 minutes, gossiping about Hollywood and a number of famous men she seemed to know all about. The information she had on people was very accurate.They would talk late into the night.“As it grew,” Perry says after a sip of wine, “she would weave her spell and make you feel closer and closer and closer to her, until you’re saying to yourself that this is the most extraordinary woman I’ve ever met in my life.I thought, I’m falling in love with her.”The photographs and letters didn’t hurt. But she did send him a photo, cut out of a magazine, of a lithe, voluptuous model.“You actually started living for these phone calls,” remembers Brian Mc Nally, the noted Manhattan restaurateur and hotelier. We were going to hook up in Florida and of course that never took place, because that was never her intention. You know, Quincy thought she was this really large woman.”Friesen laughs. “She keeps you on the line because she has a very, very engaging way of making you feel that she is dying to talk to you. [Eventually] I think I just dropped it, once I put two and two together and realized this was one of the silliest things I had ever done. It was supposedly a wrong number, but then the woman on the line, who introduced herself as Miranda Grosvenor, seemed to have a spark of recognition. ” she exclaimed.“So we started talking,” Mc Nally remembers. She alluded to friendships with Warren Beatty and Ted Kennedy. “It was a confusing long-distance call, apparently from somebody I knew. music scene: one wall of his den is lined with the gold records he has produced over the years for the likes of Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, and the Pointer Sisters; on another are dozens of candid photos of Perry with friends and collaborators, an arm around Frank Sinatra, cuddling with Diana Ross, sharing a laugh with Paul Mc Cartney and Ringo Starr.“I was absolutely—I mean, I couldn’t wait for her call. “She sounded very funny, charming, and incredibly sexy. “It was amazing—she knew all these disparate sorts of people, all of them famous,” Mc Nally says. I have your Solidarity T-shirt for you.’” Mc Nally was disconcerted to discover that Miranda might be taping her calls. I called back, got an operator, but of course [I now know] it was all phony. Ultimately I’m talking to this girl who says she has no idea who I am, and I have no idea who she was. On a cul-de-sac high in the hills above Sunset Boulevard, behind the gates of a sprawling Art Deco—style home Ronald Reagan built for Jane Wyman in 1941, Richard Perry gazes out at the evening lights of Los Angeles. Perry’s once longish brown hair is now tastefully short and gray.We’re talking about someone who can con people into saying they saw her. I don’t remember how it ended, but he never talked about it afterwards.”The name Miranda Grosvenor, in fact, is one that any number of famous and respected figures would just as soon forget. “Oh, my God.”Friesen takes a moment to collect his thoughts as I list the names of some of Miranda’s confidants. He leaned over and asked Johnny Carson, “Did you ever have anyone come up to you at ‘21’ and say they’re a friend of mine? Ever since, he has made a hobby of collecting all the information he can about the woman who called herself Miranda Grosvenor. She knew his résumé by heart and within minutes had coaxed him into a conversation about his passion for 1950s doo-wop records. I was getting off on this mystery woman.”They talked for 20 minutes, and he invited her to call back anytime.