Legally Brown

You've seen Legally Blonde, but did you know Elle Woods really grew up in Paradise Valley?

Most people would be thrilled to have their book become a movie, but Amanda was always disappointed that no one published Legally Blonde.

"It's very gratifying to see people saying your words, yeah, but I was never a big movie person," she says. "Great, but where's my book?" Earlier this year, a division of Penguin books published Legally Blonde, along with Family Trust, which coincided nicely with the release of the movie Legally Blonde 2. Amanda stakes no claim to the second Elle Woods movie; the credits simply list her as the creator of the characters.

But she insists the rest of her work is all hers -- even though the U.S. Copyright Office might beg to differ.

Amanda Brown
Amanda Brown
Brown's second book, Family Trust, looks to be a very tasty
Brown's second book, Family Trust, looks to be a very tasty read.


Photographs by Jeff Newton

The copyright for the novel Legally Blonde, filed in 1994, clearly lists the authors as Brigid Kerrigan and Amanda Brown. And there's similar paperwork for Family Trust and The Perm. (The Family Trust materials, dated 2001, list Brigid's married name, Thomas.)

Brigid Kerrigan Thomas lives in Virginia and has an unlisted number. She graduated from Harvard College (where she gained brief notoriety for waving the Confederate flag out her window as a call for free speech) and the law school at the University of Virginia. She clerked for Brown and Bain in Phoenix in the early '90s, which could have been when she and Amanda collaborated, or at least when the daughters of two old friends reconnected -- but neither woman will say so.

Correction. Brigid did say so once. Sort of. In the summer of 2001, she wrote to the alumni magazine at Harvard College:

"As the Harvard Law Bulletin reported in its spring issue, the story of a fashionable blonde turned law student, which I co-wrote in law school with my childhood friend Amanda Brown, is now a movie. Though we did not set the original story at Harvard, its venue has been shifted there for Legally Blonde. Look and you might see yourselves!"

Thomas' father, Mike, a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., won't give out Brigid's number, saying, "I don't think she can give you much. She's got non-disclosure agreements," but does comment that the Wall Street Journal has called about the same subject.

Kerrigan pointedly says there's only one Brown he loves, his old friend Jack.

Amanda has nothing to say about any of it -- although she insists she wishes she could. "I can't talk about it, unfortunately," she says. "It's not a significant person or a part of my life," she says of Brigid and the time they obviously worked together.

"Suffice to say, it's my book, my idea, my baby."

And it's certainly Amanda Brown's party.

E-mail, or call 602-229-8443.

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