Legendary Oscar winning actress Faye Dunaway (Network, Chinatown, Bonnie and Clyde) earned a vaunted spot in the Pantheon of high camp goddesses for her frightening (but funny) portrayal of wire hanger hating actress Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. Based on an ugly and ongoing dust up with her New York City landlord, it seems the 70 and still stunning actress can be as volatile and verbally lacerating in her real life as in the land of Tinseltown make-believe.
Since 1994 Miz Dunaway has held the lease on a rent-stabilized apartment in a dingy walk-up tenement building with green linoleum-floored hallways on East 78th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. The current rent on the one bedroom apartment is reported to be $1,048.72, less than half the $2,300+ average market rate price for a one-bedroom apartment in the Upper East Side 'hood.
Here's the thing, kitty cats: Rent stabilization laws require the tenant of record occupy the premises as a primary residence. The landlord for Miz Dunaways' digs in The Big Apple, citing voter and car registrations, claims the actress actually lives in California where property records reveal she owns a small two-house compound in West Hollywood bought in April 1998 for $315,000. Back in September 2007, some of the children whose brains aren't burnt out on the dope or booze may recall, the sometimes still working actress posted an ad on Craigs List to lease a 2-bedroom Spanish style cottage within her walled and hedged compound with an asking price of $4,250 per month.
Fearsome Miz Dunaway isn't taking the eviction efforts or ensuing publicity lying down. Oh no, hunnies, she's gone on a voice mail leaving verbal rampage. According to the guys at Gothamist, Miz Dunaway has left three voice mails for the New York Times–who originally reported the story on Tuesday–in which she said the landlord can't evict her because she's already vacated the premises. She claims that she, "offered to hand back the apartment keys, told the landlord that she had moved out in May and informed Mr. Moses that she was arranging for a moving company to pick up some papers." The landlord claims he's yet to receive anything in writing and, technically, legal possession remains with Miz Dunaway.
She went on to say in her voice messages to the New York Times that she herself had decided to move out because "of the state of the apartment," which she claims had "bugs everywhere." She went on to say about the landlord, "He is a slum landlord. He has no class." Oh dear.
Not surprisingly, Miz Dunaway left some additional choice words on the landlord's message machine too, telling him, "I hope you need that money like crazy and you’ll give it to poor people. I hope you have a terrible life."
Your Mama has no love for New York City landlords–we waged battles of our own with more than one of them–but rent stabilization rules is rules and it sounds to Your Mama like Miz Dunaway is just 29-kinds of pissed that she won't be able to keep a New York City pied a terre on the cheap any more.