I’m sorry to report the passing of Iris Love, who was 87 and one of the most brilliant people ever. A socialist who was also a real archeologist, Iris loved dogs (dachshunds) and people and especially her best friend long time partner in life, the great Liz Smith. She was part sass, and part scholar, erudite and lots of fun.
Even though Iris was the cousin of a crazy former colleague, I really knew her through Liz. In the last few years we had so much fun together at our little lunches at El Rio Grande, and at various functions and events. No one flirted like Iris, she was incorrigible. She loved a good drink and a lot of tasty gossip. I will say, we enjoyed each other’s company. You know that expression, if you have nothing to good to say about anyone, come sit by me? That was Iris and me.
Iris came from some background: her father, Cornelius Ruxton Love Jr., was a descendant of Alexander Hamilton. Her her mother, Audrey Barbara Josephthal, was an heiress to the Guggenheim fortune and the New York private securities firm Josephthal & Company. She was literally the combination of patrician high society and the German Jewish 400. You can’t do better than that.
She was profiled often as an archeologist, like a female Indiana Jones. In 1971, the New York Times photographed her at an excavation site Knidos, in Turkey. She discovered Aphrodite’s temple in Knidos in 1969. She never stopped writing, publishing, or speaking about her finds, and was most entertaining in doing so. I assume the Times will have a big piece on her tomorrow.
Iris was one of those great people I was lucky enough to meet and to know. I will carry her in my heart forever. I’m just glad she and Liz are in heaven, maybe at Elaine’s in the sky, having a pitcher of those margaritas, crabbing at each other and carrying on. I will always miss them.