A beautiful late October weekend in New York
The Ramble in Central Park. 1:10 PM. Photo: JH.
I went to a marvelous party
With Nounou and Nada and Nell ....

People's behaviour
Away from Belgravia
Would make you aghast,
So much variety
Watching society
Scampering past ....

Noel Coward, “I Went To a Marvelous Party”

Well, it wasn’t Belgravia, and there were no Nounous or Nadas or Nells, but it was something Mr. Coward could have turned a phrase or two about: Dominick Dunne had a birthday cocktail party for himself last night at one of the snazzier of the grand old private clubs in little ole Manhattan, and the world, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, turned out to fete the man who has kept us intrigued and turning the pages of what seems like a lifetime now.

The two Nicks: Pileggi and the Birthday boy Dunne
I saw Michael Caine with his wife Shakira, and Barbara Walters and Martha (Martha Who?? You have to ask?? The one the only); the Ford sisters, Charlotte and Anne (with Anne’s son Alessandro Uzielli in from L.A.), the PeabodysSam, Judy and Elizabeth – and Liz Smith and Gloria Vanderbilt and Wendy Vanderbilt (with Dr. Frank Petito), and Jean Harvey Vanderbilt, and also: Tina Brown and Harry Evans, Francesca Stanfill and Dick Nye, Marie Brenner, Hannah Pakula, Barbara Goldsmith, Alice Mason and her daughter Dominique Richard, Julie Baumgold and Ed Kosner, the Comte and Comtesse Jean Charles de Ravenel (Charles and Jackie to their friends); Denise Hale in from San Francisco; Jackie Collins, Wendy Stark, Tita Cahn, Toni Howard and David Yarnell in from Los Angeles; the Connecticut contingent, Jill Isles, Colette and Peter Harron, Angus Wilkie and Len Morgan, Tim Lovejoy; Jesse Kornbluth, Freddie Eberstadt, Howard Erskine (life long friends of DD), his sister-in-law Joan Didion, his niece Liza Finley, his son Griffin Dunne, his former daughter-in-law and mother of his granddaughter Cary Lowell (now Mrs. Richard Gere), Mica and Ahmet Ertegun, Pauline Pitt, Nina Griscom and Leonel Peraino, Gil Shiva, Taki and Mrs. Theodoracopoulos, John Somerset, Charles Hollerith, Chris and Grace Meigher, Duane Hampton, Nikki Haskell, Maria Cooper and Byron Janis, Kay Meehan, Casey Ribicoff, Nick Simunek and Terry Allen Kramer, Heather Cohane, Christopher Mason, Nancy Biddle, Ivana Lowell, Dan Abrams, Matt Lauer, Caroline Whitman also in from Paris, Dixon and Arianna Boardman, Annette Tapert and Joe Allen, Katherine Bryan, Nick Pileggi, Jackie Weld and Rod Drake, Mario Buatta, John and Susan Gutfreund, Mort and Linda Janklow, Betty Prashker (Dominick’s editor who told him when they met for the first time years ago in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel that he was a writer and had to do it), Mr. and Mrs. Henry Schlieff, Anne Slater and John Cahill, Charlie Wexler, Cynthia Boardman, Karen Lerner, James Reginato, Amy Fine Collins, Reinaldo and Carolina Herrera, Giovanni LoFar, Shirley Lord and Abe Rosenthal, Sharon Sondes and Geoffrey Thomas, Alex Hitz, Peggy Siegal, Euan Rellie, Ivana Lowell, Barbara de Kwiatkowski, Sarah Giles, Gale Hayman and Dr. Richard Bockman, and many more who’ve slipped out of my visual memory at this moment. I was very busy with the Digital and got a good number of the guests, so many in fact, that we’ll have to run them in two segments, today and tomorrow.

The invite
Dominick turns 80 on the 29th of this month. He won’t be here to celebrate because he’ll be in Paris. Towards the end of the evening, his son, the actor/producer/director Griffin Dunne, took the podium and told us how when he turned fifty he was full of the old lamentation – aww gee, fifty ...! And his father put everything in perspective for him: “I didn’t start writing until I was fifty.” And of course because Dominick, who had a long career in television and film production, is famous to the world for his novels, his television commentaries and his Vanity Fair articles, Griffin got the message: it’s just beginning.

After Griffin, Dominick got up to speak, relating how he was amazed to find himself at age 80 because he doesn’t “feel” it. Someone, he recounted, said that 80 was the new 60. Someone else said it was the new 50. That got his vote.

He recalled how when he was a very young man he was drafted to serve in the Second World War. And he was terrified that he was going to be killed in the War. He told us how when he was at Fort Devens one night he went into town with the boys, he happened to pass by a fortune teller and so he stopped in. It was one of those dens with the crystal ball, the woman in a turban, wearing the shawl. She asked the boy if he had any questions. So he asked her: Am I going to be killed in the War? She looked into her crystal ball for quite some time, and then said: “no, you’re going to have a very long life and you will have some terrible experiences but the best part of your life will be in the latter part.”

Griffin Dunne at the podium
He recounted how he first met editor Betty Prashker in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel to discuss a story that he had some information about (he wasn’t a writer at the time), she told him that he was a writer and that he should be writing. Later, after he’d got started, in New York he met a young Englishwoman named Tina Brown who’d just been hired to be the editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair. After their conversation, Tina told Dominick he should be writing for magazines and so began his long and hugely successful association with the magazine. In his recounting, he added that it was Liz Smith who gave him the idea of doing a monthly diary in the magazine.

The room was filled with friends Dominick has known since he got his first job as a production assistant on the Howdy Doody Show on NBC-TV in the early 1950s (where he met Liz Smith), to the past few years. Because he is a man with tireless curiosity about people, he’s been blessed with friendship all his life, people of all ages, all professions and interests. And many of them were present last night, gifted by the man of the moment with a great party for all.
Susan Magrino and Abe Rosenthal
Tony Danza and Annette Tapert

Martha Stewart
Tita Cahn
Geoffrey Thomas and Sharon Sondes

Chris Meigher, Nick Simunek, and Tony Hoyt
Charlotte Ford, Al Uzielli, and Anne Ford
Alice Mason and Dominique Richard

Linda Janklow
Ed Kosner and Jesse Kornbluth
Yanna Avis

Marie Brenner
The writer's colony: Jullie Baumgold, Marie Brenner, Francesca Stanfill,
Helen Gurley Brown, and Tina Brown
Rod Drake and Jackie Weld Drake with Mario Buatta
Brian Young and Liza Finley
The very bashful Claudia Cohen

Angus Wilkie
Christopher Mason and Heather Cohane
Mort Janklow

Anne Slater and John Cahill
Kay Meehan
Tim Lovejoy and Peter Harron

Peggy Siegal and Euan Rellie
David Yarnell, Colette Harron, and Charlie Wexler
Elizabeth Peabody and Charles Hollerith

Armine Milliken
Betty Prashker, Karen Lerner, and Griffin Dunne
Jackie Collins

Sarah Giles and le Comte de Ravenel

More pics coming tomorrow ...

October 24, 2005, Volume V, Number 181
Photographs by DPC/NYSD.com


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