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Can you ever forgive Lee Israel?

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 Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel in the film “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”.

Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel in the film “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”.

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Photo by Mary Cybulski. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Lee Israel’s memoir, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” tells the story of her years forging letters by famous writers like Dorothy Parker and Noël Coward. Her book has recently been adapted into a new film starring Melissa McCarthy as Israel.

Kurt Andersen interviewed the real Lee Israel in 2008, and with the film adaption now in theaters, he revisits his conversation with the literary con artist. Lee Israel died in 2014.

(Originally aired September 5, 2008)

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