The Real-Life Inspiration Behind The Bonfire of the Vanities

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Will the real Sherman McCoy please stand up?

Stacked in the vaults of the New York Public Library’s grand main building at 42nd Street in Manhattan are 236 boxes detailing the personal and professional life of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated chroniclers of American society. It’s fitting that, he wrote the definitive book on the 1980s, the decade when Wall Street’s masters of the universe—a Wolfe coinage—rose to dominate the economy and pop culture.

Wolfe brought a magnifying glass to his subjects, but he avoided being the subject of biographies or documentaries—until now. Filmmaker Richard Dewey’s , which premiered on Sept. 15 at IFC Center in New York, offers a glimpse into Wolfe’s depths. He spent many hours in the archive, as did

 

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