Lapham Takes Stand in Polanski Libel Trial

Sarah Lyall in the New York Times:

Lewis H. Lapham, the editor of Harper’s Magazine, reached far back into the past on Wednesday, telling a British court about an encounter he says he saw in Elaine’s restaurant in Manhattan in August 1969, between the filmmaker Roman Polanski and a Scandinavian model named Beatte Telle.

“He began to praise her beauty and speak to her, romance her,” Mr. Lapham recounted, speaking of Mr. Polanski and Ms. Telle, strangers until that moment. “At one point he had his hand on her leg and he said to her: ‘I can put you in the movies. I can make you the next Sharon Tate.’ “

Testifying in a libel case setting Mr. Polanski, 71, against Vanity Fair magazine, which reported the anecdote in an article in July 2002, Mr. Lapham said that the incident was embedded in his memory. “I was impressed by the remark, not only because it was tasteless and vulgar, but because it was a cliché,” he said.

More here.