Here’s the thing about Edith Massey, it’s hard to untangle my feelings about her from my feelings about John Waters and my feelings about Divine. I love them all so very dearly, but Ms. Edie is just the tops. Perhaps it’s that she has such a strong resemblance to multiple people in my family, or her big ol’ messed up teeth, but she has a special crib in my heart. While the films she appears in can have harsh themes and mean people, her characters always have a kind of innocence about them. Her enunciation of every vowel in every word is just the sweetest thing. That’s just it, even when she is playing the cruel Queen Carlotta in Desperate Living, she is just so damn loveable. No one but Edie can scream, “DON’T LEAVE PECKER TRACKS!” and still leave you smiling.
In 1975 Robert Maier made a film about her called Love Letter to Edie.
I highly recommend you see it. Here is an excerpt:
Here’s a little interview piece including her and John Waters from 1978:
Everything she ever did was pure brilliance. I wish I could post a million clips here.
Instead I will share a collection of a few scenes that someone posted to youtube, but it’s only just scratched the surface of how wonderful her work is.
Just go watch everything she ever did, you won’t be sorry.