Lizzie and Steve Blatt: an artful romance that spanned an ocean

| January 25, 2024 | 0 Comments

AT THEIR WEDDING in 2009, Lizzie and Steve Blatt.

Lizzie Pearl Rudoff met Steve Blatt in London in 2007, and they married in Steve’s  backyard in Windsor Square two and a half years later. The path that brought together the British mother of two and the divorced Los Angeles business manager was unexpected and marked by tragedy, art and more than a little fairy dust.

In 2006, Lizzie, a teacher of special needs children in London, had been happily married to Stephen Rudoff for 16 years. One morning she stayed home with their daughters, Sophie, then 13, and Florence, 10, while Stephen went on an errand. He never came home.

“He had had a brain hemorrhage and fell into the path of a double decker bus,” Lizzie explains. “It was devastating.” Luckily she had some very good friends who supported her while she threw herself into helping her children cope. One of those friends had an idea for Lizzie.

“I got a call five weeks after Stephen died,” Lizzie explains. “My friend Jane said, ‘I’ve got a husband for you.’”

Jane is an art consultant living in London, but she works internationally. The man she thought would be perfect for Lizzie, Steve Blatt, lived in Los Angeles and had hired Jane to help him start his art collection. He had been divorced for two or three years at that point, with two children, Josh and Helen, approximately the same age as Lizzie’s daughters.

“I basically told her where to get off,” laughs Lizzie. “I mean, I had just lost a husband! I had two little girls who needed everything from me. I wasn’t thinking about the future at all.”

Despite protestations, she received an email from Steve two months later, in October 2006. Lizzie thought, “I don’t need this! I’m never going to go to Los Angeles, never going to meet this guy. But I responded, because I’m well brought up.”

Steve needed to come to London in early January with a client, but arranged to arrive two days earlier to have time to meet Lizzie. Steve has a quiet and ironic sense of humor, so when asked if he came looking for a wife, he professes not to remember. Lizzie offers, “I always say he would have married a lamppost because he so wanted to get married. I was introduced to him and he said, ‘Yeah, I’ll take her!’” Steve interjects, “The lamppost was busy.”

Lamppost or not, they went out twice and both dates ended with a handshake. Lizzie thought, “I’m never going to see this guy again!” Besides, his client was arriving the next day, and Jane had arranged a busy schedule for them.

But sometimes fate intervenes. The client lost his passport and couldn’t fly, so Steve had three days’ worth of arranged art and dining activities and no one to share them with.

“I left my kids with some very good friends and met up with him in town,” Lizzie remembers. “We went to the best restaurants.” They also went to the Tate Modern. Expecting Steve to arrive with a famous actor, the museum closed early for their private showing of a Carsten Höller giant metal slide installation, which Lizzie and Steve slid down together.

“I liked Steve! I thought he was lovely,” confesses Lizzie. “His last night we walked through London. It was so romantic, and I thought, ‘Why isn’t he holding my hand?’”

Later, having a drink at his hotel before Lizzie returned to her children, there was finally a kiss and Steve said, “I’ve fallen in love with you.” Lizzie laughs, “Steve said he knew he had fallen in love with me when we went down the slide!”

And thus started a courtship that spanned an ocean.

On his next visit to London, Steve told her about his mother and siblings and about the things that are important to him. “This man means to marry me,” thought Lizzie. “He’s telling me stuff I need to know.” She thought, “Yeah, I could marry him.”

For their third weekend visit, Steve came to London, and they flew to Venice together. Lizzie has a chronic illness and got horribly sick on the way, jumping into an ambulance boat as soon as they landed. She spent four days in the hospital with tubes everywhere. “Steve sat there for four days. He did not leave the hospital. He just held my hand,” Lizzie recounts. “And I just knew he was the right one for me.”

They spent one weekend every four to five weeks in New York. They began purchasing art together. Their children met each other. But no marriage proposal.

“Well, I was told to propose,” Steve reminds her.

Lizzie explains, “We were in a restaurant and Steve was talking about getting his backyard done and I said, ‘Don’t do that. I want to design the garden when I come and live with you,’ and he said, ‘Oh, are you coming to live with me?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ And he asked, ‘When?’ And I said, ‘When you ask me to marry you.’ So he was under orders. But he just didn’t and didn’t.”

When pressed, Steve admitted he was waiting to propose in Italy the next summer, but Lizzie quashed that. “We’re getting married next August,” she proclaimed, “and I need time to plan!” Soon after, he proposed. “I always thought I’d burst into tears, but I just jumped around the room doing bunny hops. I was overjoyed!”

“So we got married,” Lizzie continues. “And that’s the story.”

“And a wonderful story it is,” concludes Steve.

Of course, that was just the beginning of their new life together. Lizzie and her daughters moved into Steve’s Windsor Square home, and he became a stepparent. “He’s the most wonderful stepfather,” Lizzie enthuses. “He’s a great mentor. He treated [my daughters] exactly as he treated his own children.” 

Lizzie soon became a part of her new neighborhood. She joined the Ebell of Los Angeles, serving four years on its Board of Directors as the director of publications. She belongs to the Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society. Steve prefers to keep his involvements private.

AT HOME IN WINDSOR SQUARE Steve and Lizzie Blatt in front of “After Flags I (green)” by Hank Willis Thomas.

Art continues to play an important role in their lives. With friends, they ran an art  program for four years, during which they gave 36 artists from all over the world 90-day residencies. They were given studios, art supplies and room and board.

The Blatts have also built and focused their personal art collection. “We like to support African American artists,” Lizzie explains. They have begun purchasing African artists as well. They have donated pieces to LACMA and the Hammer Museum and loaned other artwork for special exhibits, including to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. “It gives us pleasure,” Lizzie states. “We like to give back.”

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Category: Entertainment

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