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The Daily Dish Southern Charm

Patricia Altschul's Butler Michael Once Worked for Another Glam Grand Dame

The #SouthernCharm matriarch dishes on her beloved employee's life before Charleston.

By Laura Rosenfeld
Patricia Does Not Approve of Whitney Smoking Weed

Patricia Altschul is one of the most fabulous women we know. But of course, she does have a little help in making her the hostess with the mostest, maintaining one of the most elegant homes in Charleston, and always getting her "medicine." 

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Patricia's butler Michael is her right-hand man, and he has become a beloved member of the Southern Charm crew since the beginning of the series. But believe it or not, there was a time when Michael wasn't in Patricia's life, even though it's totally hard to imagine right now.

Patricia spilled all the sweet tea on how Michael became her beloved butler, or majordomo as she also puts it, in her new book, The Art of Southern Charm, which is in stores now, because, let's face it, Southern Charm fans just can't get enough of his friendly face and excellent service. The Southern Charm grand dame was looking for a new butler for her waterfront estate, Southerly, in Oyster Bay, New York in 2004, two years after her third husband, Arthur Altschul passed away. Her longtime interior designer, Mario Buatta, told her that a woman by the name of Mrs. Lillian Bostwick, who maintained a huge estate in Old Westbury, New York, had passed away and "one of her prized employees" would be looking for a job — "but not for long." That employee was Michael Kelcourse.

Patricia writes that she "moved with indecent speed" to try and get Michael to come work for her at Southerly. "I met with Michael immediately and persuaded him to come work for me, even as he was finishing his responsibilities in the Bostwick household," Patricia writes. 

The Southern Charm matriarch now says that was the "best thing I could have done." As anyone who watches Southern Charm knows, Michael is a consummate professional: smart, skilled, and with impeccable taste," Patricia writes in her book. "Best of all, he has a killer sense of humor—dry as my favorite martini."

Patricia gives all the deets on her life before Southern Charm in her new book, out now. Photo: Diversion Books

In her book, Patricia also gave us more info on Michael's background before he started working for Patricia and even before he got into the butler profession. Michael was born and raised in Michigan, and as a boy, he loved reading and watching TV. He was also interested in the Gilded Age, that time in American history after the Civil War and before World War I when wealthy families like the Astors and Vanderbilts ruled society. 

After attending college in Michigan, Michael went on to work at a nursing home. However, he soon realized that he wanted to "make a career out of looking after people who were well...and well-off," according to Patricia. So Michael moved to New York looking for a position in a private household, and he was soon hired by Mrs. Bostwick, who had 18 servants, including cooks, maids, and three different chaffeurs. The family's 90-year-old butler taught Michael everything he knows so that by the time he went to work for Patricia, "he was a first-class butler," she writes.

Watch the master at work, below.

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