Another beautiful night in New York
Last night at the The New York Public Library for its annual Young Lions Benefit, "An Affair in Havana." 8:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Americans are completely unfamiliar with the British earls of Shaftesbury except for a brief bubble of publicity in the early 1950s when Clark Gable married a "champagne" blonde named Sylvia, Lady Ashley whose previous husbands had been Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Major Lord Ashley, son of the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury. Sylvia Ashley who started out life as a model and chorus girl in London, gained only a title from her peer of a husband -- Lord Ashley had been in line to inherit the earldom but died before his father -- but it played well in Hollywood. Lord Ashley's son was barely an adult when his grandfather died and he inherited the title. But from there on in he pursued his passions, which as this obituary from the Telegraph explains, were worldly but not very wise. Although from the sound of it, he never minded.

When Too Much of Too Much Is Still Not Enough

The Earl of Shaftesbury

The 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, whose death aged 66 was confirmed yesterday, demonstrated the dangers of the possession of inherited wealth coupled with a weakness for women and Champagne.

Shaftesbury, who disappeared last November prompting an international police investigation, was tall, debonair, affable and rather shy. He tried after his own fashion to be true to the liberal philanthropic family traditions of his ancestors, notably the first Earl (1621-83), founder of the Whig party in Parliament, and the 7th Earl (1801-85), the great 19th-century evangelical social reformer.

He served as president of the Shaftesbury Society, which the 7th Earl had founded, and - as a keen music fan - was chairman of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 1966 to 1980.

He was also respected as a conservationist. On his 9,000-acre estate at Wimborne St Giles, Dorset, he planted more than a million trees and, in 1992, was joint winner of the Royal Forestry Society's National Duke of Cornwall's Award for Forestry and Conservation. He also served as president of the Hawk and Owl Trust and as vice-president of the British Butterfly Conservation Society.

It was said, after his mysterious disappearance from a Cannes nightclub, that the 10th Earl, like Gladstone, had been devoting himself to helping vulnerable young girls working in nightspots on the French Riviera to start new lives. But as the mystery deepened, it seemed that his interest was more than merely philanthropic.

Indeed, Lord Shaftesbury had always exhibited a weakness for exotic women. At Eton he had famously penned an article for the college magazine in which he described English debutantes as "round-shouldered, unsophisticated garglers of pink champagne". His subsequent amorous career was notable for his avoidance of the species.

He met his Italian-born first wife, Bianca Le Vien, the ex-wife of an American film producer and 12 years his senior, during a skiing holiday. They married in 1966, but divorced, owing to his adultery with an unnamed woman, in 1976. The same year he married a Swedish-born divorcee, Christina Casella, the daughter of a diplomat, with whom he had two sons.

That marriage, too, ended acrimoniously, in 2000, and he embarked on a string of short-lived and expensive love affairs with younger women distinguished by their exotic looks and equally colourful past histories.
He became a familiar figure in some of the loucher nightspots on the French Riviera, where he cut a curious figure in leather trousers, pink shirts and large red-and-black spectacles; he was notable for his habit of flashing his money around as he bought drinks for a succession of nubile female companions.

In 1999 he had begun a relationship with Nathalie Lions, a pneumatic 29-year-old whom he had met in a lingerie shop in Geneva, where she was working as a model. They became engaged, and he paraded her around London, Barbados and the south of France, maintaining that she was a member of the Italian royal house of Savoy. He admitted to lavishing some £1 million on her in cheques and expensive gifts, including a £100,000 Rolex watch and an Audi TT sports car.

But their relationship came to an end in 2002 after it was revealed that she was, in fact, a French nude model and former Penthouse "Pet" with silicone-enhanced breasts.

Later that year, he married Jamila M'Barek, a Tunisian divorcee with two children, whom he had met in a Paris bar where she was working as a hostess. She separated from him in April 2004, claiming that he had become an alcoholic and "sex addict", regularly overdosing on Viagra and having testosterone injections. Among several bizarre stories, she alleged that, on one occasion, she had returned unexpectedly to their flat in Cannes to find her husband in the company of a large Arab gangster and two Arab women who were rifling through the wardrobes. Her husband was on a stool singing and dancing; the women left with a car-load of her belongings.

In August 2004 Shaftesbury was reported as having taken up with a 33-year old Moroccan hostess known as Nadia. He installed her and her two children in their own flat and, a month later, asked her to become the fourth Countess of Shaftesbury.

On the evening of November 5 2004, Shaftesbury left the Noga Hilton Hotel in Cannes and, as was his regular habit by this time, entered a basement hostess-bar nearby. Within 24 hours he had vanished, setting off an international criminal investigation.

The saga of "le Lord disparu" sent the French media into a frenzy, and spawned a multitude of theories. In February his estranged wife, Jamila M'Barek, was arrested by French police and allegedly admitted that she was present when the Earl was killed in her home; but she insisted that she was only a witness to a fight involving her husband and his killer. She and her brother Mohammed have both been placed under investigation for murder, which is a step short of formal charges under French law.

Anthony Ashley-Cooper was born on May 22 1938, the elder son of Major Lord Ashley, elder son of the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury KP, PC, GCVO, CBE. Lord Ashley, who died in 1947 before he could inherit the earldom, had shocked London society by marrying the model and chorus girl Sylvia Hawkes. After their divorce she went on to marry Douglas Fairbanks Sr, followed by Clark Gable. Anthony was the son of his father's French-born second wife, Françoise Soulier.

He was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, and, as a young man, was a keen climber and skier. He succeeded to the earldom aged 22 on his grandfather's death in 1961.

The 9th Earl had, by prudent financial planning, arranged matters so that his heirs would avoid death duties. The young earl therefore came into an estate which included the family's 17th-century home and large estate in Dorset, several other properties and a collection of art and other valuables. By the 1990s his wealth was said to be in the "low millions".

It was another ancestor, the 3rd Earl, who had bequeathed to his wayward descendant the wisest counsel: "The extending of a single passion too far or the continuance of it too long," he observed, "is able to bring irrecoverable ruin and misery."

Shaftesbury's body was found in the south of France on April 5; yesterday it was announced that DNA tests had confirmed his identity.
By his second marriage, Lord Shaftesbury had two sons, the eldest of whom, Anthony Nils Christian, Lord Ashley, born in 1977, succeeds to the earldom.

— From the Telegraph of London
On a recent Friday night in Nassau, Kip Forbes and Frances Hayward hosted a dinner aboard the Forbes yacht, The Highlander in honor of Bernadette Christie, wife of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, the Rt. Honorable Perry Christie. There were 140 guests in attendance including leading membes of the Nassau community as well as representatives of the national political divide, for an evening of dinner, dancing and a cruise on the world famous yacht.

Kip Forbes and Renee Wood
The beautiful Mrs. Christie was accompanied by her husband as well as members of his cabinet. Also among the guests were Earl and Countess Dudley who were visiting from London, Sybilla Clark of Lyford Cay, Renee Wood who came over from Palm Beach; Victoria and Frank Wyman, Norma Dana, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Dingman, Judy Loeb, all of Lyford, and Mrs. and Mrs. Michael Earley.  Mr. Earley is the CEO of Bankers Trust.

The Highlander, built by the late publisher of Forbes Magazine, Malcolm Forbes, is the fifth in the long tradition of Forbes family yachts with the name. Mr. Forbes, who had a penchant for both luxury and publicity entertained presidents, kings, members of royal families, prime ministers as well as boatloads of movie stars and celebrities. The boat carries a helicopter, two tenders, a cigarette boat, a Donzi, two BMW motorcycles, as well as a magnificent art collection and rare architectural details such as the dining room ceiling that used to be on Queen Victoria's royal yacht, the Osborne.

After presenting Mrs. Christie with a special edition book on Faberge (another Forbes family passion), Kip and Frances Forbes expressed their delight in having everyone on board (I'm sure the feeling was mutual), and  praised Mrs. Christie for her wonderful service as the wife of the Prime Minister as well as her success as a career woman.  At the end of the evening, guests disembarked to the music of bagpipes which had welcomed them aboard.
Mrs. and Mr. Michael Dingman greeting Bernadette Christie

Frank Wyman, Bernadette Christie, and Frances Hayward
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Earley and friends

Prime Minister Perry Christie, Frances Hayward, and Kip Forbes
L. to r.: Judy Loeb; Lord and Lady Dudley; Victoria Wyman.

Stribling & Associates, Ltd. one of New York’s premiere residential brokerage firms started in business in 1980 with eight residential brokers. Two weeks ago they celebrated its 25th anniversary with a gala evening of disco dancing harkening back to the glory days of John Travolta’s movie Saturday Night Fever at The Manhattan Penthouse. The firm, serving the highest echelons of the Manhattan residential real estate, now has over 185 brokers.

Elizabeth Stribling and Stan Ponte
“Over the past 25 years Stribling & Associates has become known for its dedication to serving buyers and sellers of Manhattan’s finest residential properties with unparalled service and expertise,” said Elizabeth Stribling, founder and president.

Mrs. Stribling is widely respected as an active participant in many New York charitable and civic associations. She is a board member of the Central Park Conservancy and Landmark Conservancy as well as the Real Estate Board of New York. She was also a recipient of the Real Estate Board of New York Henry Forster Memorial Award for dedication to the community and industry accomplishments.

In addition to its three Manhattan offices, Stribling maintains affiliations in the South of France, dedicated to the sale of top properties in locations from Monaco to St. Tropez, as well as Paris.
Elizabeth Stribling and Guy Robinson

Bob Blau, Christopher Wilson, Betsy Dean, Elizabeth Stribling, Ken Scheff, Rosita Sarnoff, and Kirk Henckels
Rosita Sarnoff, Christopher Wilson, and Beth Sapery

Keisha Ryan, Ken Scheff, Yegor Shevtsov, and Lee Ann Jaffe

Photographs by Jennifer Weisbord

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Last Monday night, April 11, over at the China Club on their handsome third-floor stage, 19 actors and actresses performed scenes in two ors threes from the works of Tennessee Williams, Donald Margulies and Neil Simon in an unprecedented showcase of fresh talent from several different acting schools and coaches here in New York.

The showcase was done in conjunction with Evangeline Morphos, head of the Actors Studio Drama School and a Film Department head at Columbia University.

Suzanne Smith with performers Anthony Manna, James Lloyd Reynolds, and Scott DuQuette
Some of New York's top casting directors, talent managers, agents, producers and directors turned out including producer John Hart ("Boys Don't Cry", "A Home at the End of the World"), director Michael Bregman ("Carlito's Way: The Beginning" starring Sean P.Diddy Combs), talent manager Johnny Planco, casting director and producer Bonnie Timmermann (currently producing "Fur" the Diane Arbus film starring Nicole Kidman), "Law and Order" casting director Lynn Kressel, Billy Hopkins and Suzanne Smith, Todd Thaler, and IMG male model head Chris Forberg and producer Jon Furay, along with top model Bekah Jenkins, wife of Cory Bond (one of the performers), Met Opera star Aprile Millo whose sister Grace coached one of the performers and last but not least Emmy nominated writer/producer/director ("Citizen X") Matthew Chapman, the great grandson of Charles Darwin. Doug Darwin, one of the Actors Studio graduate students who performed and who is also a descendant of Charles Darwin, got to meet his Darwin relative.

Due to the success of it, they're already talking about a second-such production. A number of the actresses and actors have been tapped for film and television auditions.
IMG Agent Chris Forberg with performer Cory Bond and his wife Bekah Jenkins
Performer Doug Darwin with writer/director Matthew Chapman
Producer John Hart (currently filming "The Night Listener" with Robin Williams) and actress Bronwen Coleman

Mandy Logothetis and Steve Coombs performing part of "Orpheus Descending"
Writer/Director Michael Bregman with actresses Jennifer Bowles and Jessica Cannon
Casting Director Suzanne Smith with actress Krista Watterworth
Also on Monday last, April 11, the Catsimatidis family hosted a dinner on behalf of the Hellenic Times Newspaper to to recognize the contributions longtime CBS news anchor Ernie Anastos and Greek pop icon Anna Vissi have made to the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, which raises money for talented Greek youths to attend collage.

The dinner took place at the “21” Club with nearly 60 friends and colleagues of the hosts and guests of honor in attendance. During the dinner, speeches were given about Anna and Ernie's careers as well as recent strides of the Hellenic Scholarship Fund. Anna also delighted partygoers with an impromptu performance of her #1 Billboard hit "Call Me." Anna's best friend, famous costume designer Patricia Field was in attendance as well as FOX News anchor Rita Cosby.
Peter Young and Anna Vissi
Anna Vissi and Yanni Kiskini

Anna Vissi and Ernie Anastos
Peter Castro and Christine Kaculis

Patricia Field
Margo Catsimatidis and Kalliongis
Peter Kakoyiann and friend

Alex Karloutsos and Matthew Wanning
Sophia Milonas and Andrea Catsimatidis
Rita Crosby

Anna Vissi and Rich Issacson
John Catsimatidis
Robert and Nanna Wolfe and Anna Vissi

Georgia and Tommy Kontagianis

April 22, 2005, Volume V, Number 70


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