John and Katherine “Katy” Dos Passos, who lived at No. 571, bought this property in 1945. It passed from them to Frank and Edith Shay, who rented it in 1950 to Laura Z. Hobson, the author of Gentleman’s Agreement. Norman and Beverly (Bentley) Mailer (pictured) bought it in 1966, the year they founded an experimental theater, Act IV, at the Gifford House. In 1967, Mailer wrote an article here that was the basis of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Armies of the Night. But it was not an altogether happy time. The couple separated. Bentley fought to keep the house, J. Michael Lennon wrote in Norman Mailer: A Double Life, but it was lost to the I.R.S. to satisfy unpaid taxes. Russell Gaudreau Jr., of the law firm Ropes & Gray in Boston, and his wife, Elizabeth, an interior designer, bought the house in 1982 from interim owners.
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