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CNN&Time

The Great Pretender; Still Working; Queen of Clean

Aired October 29, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANNOUNCER: CNN & TIME. Tonight, "The Great Pretender": He had a sterling name and a golden manner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEMINA BOSS, NIGHTCLUB MANAGER: He had a certain air that made you believe from the moment he walked in that he was very wealthy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: And that's what a lot of people thought until it was too late.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM CURRY, REAL ESTATE BROKER: His pitch was, you give me $50,000 up front money, and I will loan you a half a million dollars interest free for a year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: In the playground of New York's elite, a daring masquerade.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE MUEHLER, SUPERVISING INVESTIGATOR, LOS ANGELES DISTRICT ATTORNEY: He will suck all the blood out of you that he can. And when he's done with you, he moves on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STUDS TERKEL, AUTHOR: And no Italian sounds Italian. It's gibberish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: "Still Working": Pulitzer Prize winning author Studs Terkel talks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERKEL: ... slip in a word here (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: But he also listens. In fact, he's been listening and logging the American story for nearly half a century.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERKEL: The oral history of the unknowns that made the wheel go around. And that's what I'm interested in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Now at 88, a new challenge.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERNARD SHAW, CO-HOST: Why are you writing a book about dying?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: "Queen of Clean":

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHERYL MENDELSON, AUTHOR: Who's the maker of this?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: She's meticulous.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MENDELSON: You couldn't launder these things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: She's methodical.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MENDELSON: You see there's measurements here so you can actually count.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: And Cheryl Mendelson believes everybody would be better off giving serious housekeeping its due.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MENDELSON: I think we as a nation are a little bit homesick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: From closet cleaner to best selling author, a modern woman picks up some dust with her musings on the perfect home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MENDELSON: It's a nice thought. But all of us don't want to be in the kitchen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: CNN & TIME with Jeff Greenfield and Bernard Shaw.

SHAW: Good evening.

His surname alone was synonymous with wealth, philanthropy, and public service, especially in New York. So when Christopher Rockefeller landed in the Hamptons, who could blame the well-to-do for inviting him into their lives?

Who cared if this heir to an American fortune spoke with a French accent, slouched, slurped his soup, and drove a sedan? However eccentric, he was a Rockefeller, right?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CO-HOST: Well, do you recall the film "Six Degrees of Separation"? That's the movie where Will Smith enjoyed the hospitality of wealthy New Yorkers who believed they were sheltering the son of a celebrity.

But in real life, how does a person convince so many smart, successful people that he is someone who he in fact may not be? The answer in a word: practice.

That story now from Charles Glass.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Summer is over. And vacationers from New York City have left the Hamptons on the eastern end of Long Island.

But many locals haven't forgotten one summer visitor, Christopher Rockefeller.

BOSS: He had a certain air that made you believe from the moment he walked in that he was very wealthy and he was going to be spending a lot of money.

GLASS: Shemina Boss (ph) is manager of the NV Nightclub.

BOSS: And he made it very clear to us that we should take very good care of him.

GLASS: Rockefeller bought expensive cigars at Dennis Daugherty's (ph) Blue Train Tobacco Store.

DENNIS DAUGHERTY, TOBACCO STORE OWNER: Christopher came in here with his personal assistant, his girlfriend, and a girl that he was passing off as his Russian beauty. GLASS: At The Pink House and at The Mill Garth Inn, the two places Rockefeller lived all summer, he always paid in cash. Mill Garth Inn owner Tommy Allegra (ph) remembers her flamboyant guest.

TOMMY ALLEGRA, OWNER, MILL GARTH INN: He presented himself as a very well bred, from a very fine family.

GLASS: Rockefeller arrived on Long Island early in the season with his entourage, wife a former "Playboy" centerfold named Pia (ph), son Zeus, and a mysterious blond woman who called herself Laurent (ph). Always at their side was a personal assistant named Joseph (ph).

CURRY: Someone had pulled me aside and said, this is Christopher Rockefeller of the Rockefeller family.

GLASS: Manhattan real estate broker Kim Curry spends summer weekends in this house in Southampton. Her stock broker fianc

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