Staggering success, unexpected loss, over-the-top parties, shocking betrayals, and profound intimacy are woven together into a high-profile family-therapy session. The Just Enough Family follows the meteoric rise and staggering fall of the Steinbergs, once one of America’s richest families, through the eyes of Liz Lange— successful fashion designer, captivating storyteller, and niece of the infamous corporate raider Saul Steinberg. Host Ariel Levy (The New Yorker, The Rules do Not Apply), Liz’s friend, gets an inside look at what happened to the once seemingly invincible clan. New money, old secrets, and the fine line between success and excess, from executive producer Melinda Shopsin (Mystery Show) and Three Uncanny Four Productions.
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Liz Lange grew up in one of New York City’s richest families, and then accidentally started a maternity wear empire that revolutionized the look of American pregnancy— she led a charmed life until all at once, her family went bankrupt, she was diagnosed with cancer, and everything she believed to be dependable was proved precarious.
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Park Avenue Shtetl
The Steinberg wealth is all thanks to Liz’s uncle Saul, who became a multi millionaire before he turned thirty, and brought his entire family along for the ride—especially Liz’s father, Bobby, Saul’s life-long right-hand man.
Pumpkins and Monkeys
Liz learned about glamour from her mother, Kathy—a “shopper’s shopper”—whom she fought with all the time as a kid, to the great distress of her little sister, Jane, and their father, Bobby.
It’s a Wasp World
Saul was a genius—a business phenomenon who went to Wharton at sixteen, had a publicly-traded company by the end of his twenties, and led a “Halston kind of life” dating models and going to Studio 54—but the gentile establishment stood in his way when he went after august institutions like the Chemical Bank.
When Liz married Jeff Lange everyone thought she’d won the lottery, but ultimately his mental illness led to a tragic end that challenged even Liz’s relentless Pollyanna optimism.
The Magic Kingdom
Liz and Jane—and most of New York City—were dazzled by the gorgeous woman with the strange name who Saul took up with after his second divorce: Gayfryd. Meanwhile, Kathy and Bobby seemed to be competing for who could spend more extravagantly, and their marriage unraveled.
All I knew was Spy’s jaundiced view
Kudos to the producers and Ariel for a beautifully written and produced podcast. I walked away knowing much more about the Steinbergs and the trials (literal and figurative) they went through. Maybe It helps that I’m a landsman, but even if I was a shiksa, I would like to think I’d recognize that there is a lot to appreciate about this very rich, very neurotic, and in the end, very loving family.
Liz is beyond annoying and obnoxious. Way too in love with herself for all the wrong reasons.
Interesting podcast and easy to binge! I was hooked!
1. But what about the other family the dad had?
2. What was the fallout w the business going under? Was it like Enron and the employees were very upset?
3. What were the lessons and takeaways from each family member now?
4. How is Liz’s cancer treatment going and can you clarify Jim’s mental breakdown and/or temper which led to Liz selling her company?
Thank you and I hope some of these questions are answered in a follow-up episode or two. Three stars because of the questions-will change to five in anticipation of future updates. Thank you!