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The Swans of Society: C.Z. Guest


“For C.Z., there’s no such thing as missing a party,” Vogue editrix and noted HBIC Diana Vreeland once said of C.Z. Guest. “Either she’s there or for her it doesn’t exist.”

Lucy Douglas Cochrane, nicknamed C.Z. from a sibling’s mispronunciation of “sister,” was born into the purple of Boston society in 1920. The daughter of investment banker Alexander Lyne Cochrane and Vivian Cochrane, C.Z. made her social debut in 1937. After being named glamour girl of the Massachusetts North Shore in a contest, C.Z. tried her hand at the business we call show. A stint in the Ziegfield Follies in 1944  led to a screen test for 20th Century Fox, though nothing became of it. ”My ambition was to be a successful enough actress to get myself thrown out of the Social Register,” she once said, according to her obituary in the New York Times. ”I had no talent at all but I enjoyed every minute of my experience.”


Written by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester dot brathwaite at gmail