Cold days, warm spirits
The last of the first snow and the end of autumn. 3:55 PM. Photo: JH.
We’re closing in on Christmas and Hanukah in New York and now comes the onslaught of drinks parties.

Sunday night, Bill Reilly gave his annual buffet and drinks party at his Sutton Place mansion. Mr. Reilly made his impressive fortune in the publishing business – MacMillan, Primedia and more recently (although I think he’s sold out already) in the niche publishing company (a slew of publications).

Bill Reilly's gingerbread house
Several years ago he bought a beautiful brick Georgian house that was famous to New York society as home of Rosita and Norman Winston. Mrs. Winston was a popular hostess here, in Paris, and in the South of France in her day (which was the 1940s, 50s, and 60s). Their New York house was considered quite the chic little jewel, overlooking the East River.

When Mr. Reilly bought it he decided he could use a little (or a lot) more room and so he bought the house next door, joined them together. and turned it into a Georgian-style style mansion that is perfect for his holiday party. Family – children, their spouses, grandchildren, old friends, new friends, business associates all congregate from six to ten or so for a big buffet, two bars, lots of champagne, lots of desserts, a band (this year it was a Salvation Army band), fires roaring in the fireplaces.

The party runs from about six to ten and I got there on the late side, although the place was still packed. I saw a lot of people I don’t know and several family faces, including some I have never met. There was Jim and Ellen Marcus, Sydney and Stan Shuman, Sandy Gallin the Hollywood entertainment mogul, John Dobkin with one of his three sons, Rick Marek, and Paul Beirne.

Paul, who is with Bernstein and Company and cuts a wide swath through social and philanthropic Manhattan, told me he is spending the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Rio where it is now summertime. About thirty people, including our mutual friend Beth DeWoody, are in the party that travels to Rio for about ten days. They spend most of their days on the beach and their nights partying.

Click to order
After a week in Rio, several in the group are going to San Paolo for a few days before returning to New York.

In the course of the evening at Mr. Reilly’s, I ran into another who travels to Rio for the holidays also. While it is fun, he told me that there are the dangers. For example, you never stray out of the main sections of the city, especially at night, for fear of being robbed. At night, he said, you never stop for lights because you might be stopped by bandits who are after your money and your jewelry. Nice and exciting, no? You wear your fake Rolex (that is, if you own a Rolex) and leave your valuables at home. I found all of this unnerving just to hear about but my friend was unperturbed by that reality, in fact he saw it more as simply the way of the world and thought my reaction was somewhat quaint – which I’m sure it is. He seemed assured of his own security in that kind of environment knowing that there were plenty of armed guards everywhere. He told me of going to a party at one of the better apartment residences where each family had their own floor and their own arm guards (with machine guns!) to keep everything safe. I found all of this troubling just to hear about. Being the bumpkin that I remain even at this late stage of the game. However, since I’m staying in little ole Manhattan over the holidays, it’s not really my problem, is it?

Yesterday I went to a holiday luncheon at Michael’s
given by Helen O’Hagan. The group included Dominick Dunne, Casey Ribicoff, Cynthia Boardman, Alex Hitz, Ellin Saltzman, Eileen and Jerry Ford, Peter Rogers, Ceil Prendergast, Pierre Durand, and me.

Ms. O’Hagan is a long standing member of the fashion establishment in New York, having worked for years at Saks where she was director of fashion public relations and the a/d/c to the great Sophie of Saks, a now forgotten but longtime fashion force in New York and this country. In the course of her career Helen became a lifetime friend of many of the famous and the fashionable. She is one of those rare individuals who continually makes new friends and is vigilant about lending a helping hand to a friend in need. At the end of his life, she helped Bill Blass (in collaboration with Michael Vollbracht) with a book archiving his design history.

Sarah Rosenthal, Joe Armstrong, and Cynthia Brill
I was seated between Ellin Saltzman and Eileen Ford. Ellin just returned from London where she was visiting her daughter Elizabeth Saltzman who is now London fashion editor for Vanity Fair, and who lives there fulltime with her American husband and children. Eileen Ford and her husband Jerry founded the famous model agency of the same name sixty years ago next year. When they started in the business there were only two other agencies – and both famous in their time: Harry Conover and John Robert Powers, once household names in America, now long forgotten (in case you’re wondering what happens to celebrities over time). Both eventually went out of business. Harry Conover went to jail for cheating on his modeling fees and John Robert Powers just quit, leaving Ford the leading agency. Today it remains an important force in the business and is run by Eileen and Jerry’s daughter, Katie Ford.

Michael’s was packed again. I took the digital along to catch the faces of the O’Hagan guests. At the table next to ours was Joe Armstrong, Sarah Rosenthal, and Cynthia Brill. Cynthia and her husband Steve Brill started Court TV. As I was taking pictures of my table, Sarah said, well, aren’t you going to take pictures of us?! So I did.
Ceil Prendergast, Peter Rogers, and Eileen Ford
Dominick Dunne, Helen O'Hagan, and Jerry Ford
Cynthia Boardman, Pierre Durand, and Casey Ribicoff
Ellin Saltzman and Alex Hitz
It's all about the dogs: I got a card in the mail over the weekend with this dear litlle, slightly scruffy looking dog on its cover. And underneath was typewritten: “Rescued in honor of David Patrick Columbia.”

Inside was the following note:

Dear David: Lange Foundation has received a Holiday Gift of Life donation in your honor from (a friend of mine), requesting we use it to save the life of an otherwise hopeless impounded pet.

We chose “Sheba” from the pitiful, over-crowded South Los Angeles animal shelter, where so many go to dispose of their unwanted pets, where so few go to adopt. Sheba had been brought to the shelter by her elderly owner who was unable to take care of herself anymore, let alone her beloved pet. Despite assurances from the shelter staff that they would try as hard as possible to find Sheba a new home, she was over-looked by the few potential adopters who visit there as she is 8 years old. After 10 days she came down with the predictable kennel cough, an automatic death sentence as it is so contagious. Fortunately we were there when she was being led to the “back room” and her life turned the corner! After a few days at our Veterinarians, she has recovered from her infection, and today she will be joining our 130+ other feline and canine “guests” at our busy Halfway Home kennel. We know we will have no trouble finding her a new home, and she is a perfect angel. Sincerely, Gillian Lange.
When I got this card, I thought to myself that if I were living in Los Angeles, I’d adopt Sheba in a minute. All of my dogs have been adopted. I adopted three different little ones when I lived in L.A. from shelters, all of whom were eight years and older. Age is irrelevant, and in fact, the older ones can be easier to adjust because they are well-trained and mellow.

I don’t know how people give up their pets under any circumstances. It must have been very painful for Sheba’s owner. I also don’t know why more people don’t adopt. There are all kinds of rewards and wonderful companions just waiting to give love and devotion. It’s good for the heart and soul.

The Lange Foundation is a non-profit corporation dedicated to rescuing pets from animal shelters. They are located at 2106 South Sepulveda in West L.A. Their website is:

www. and their email is

Kit Kat and Kippy
I also got another card with another irresistible image of cat and a dog, from the Humane Society here in New York. They, like the Lange, need funds to care for sick and injured animals in their clinic. You can adopt there too.

The photo is of Kippy (the dog) who was adopted from the Society in October 1995. The following spring Kit Kat showed up at the door and was adopted by Kippy. This picture was taken by an Advisory Board Member of the Society, Peter Simon, who lives with Kippy and Kit Kat. Do you know how much pleasure and light these dear ones bring to the life of Mr. Simon? It could be true for you too. The Humane Society’s number is 212-752-4840.

Incidentally, DON’T give a pet as a Christmas gift unless you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that the recipient loves animals and has the patience and fortitude to train and love the animal. There are a lot of us bi-peds who can barely muster common courtesy for each other in life, let alone these little dependent creatures who ask very little and don’t deserve worse. And where animals can learn obedience and live quite agreeably, they don’t naturally understand English or any other language readily, just as we don’t understand any other language than the ones we’ve been taught since childhood. And some of us have a hard time understanding even that, as you know.
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Our friend and fellow friend of animals, Frances Hayward was honored at the 5th annual Breakthrough of the Year Awards presented by Hollywood Life Magazine, for incomparable humanitarian efforts on behalf of needy animals. Hosted by Eddie Griffin, the star-studded awards ceremony honored some of Hollywood's most respectable artists, causes and efforts.

Hayward, looking her stunning self in a red suit, proudly walked her rescued German Shepherd, Amigo down the red carpet at the Henry Fonda Theater last Sunday. She joined fellow honorees and presenters Felicity Huffman, Jeremy Piven, and Famke Janssen while a camera shy Harrison Ford decided to miss the media madness and snuck in a side entrance to avoid the paparazzi.

 Karla Cavalli, Frances Hayward, and Angelica Bridges

Alicia Silverstone, another renowned animal activist and dog lover, presented Frances with Hollywood Life’s Breakthrough of the Year Award for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina and the launch of her organization BeKind.

Working in conjunction with the Humane Society of the US, Frances’ BeKind organization promotes animal welfare and proposes a new national awareness toward homeless and displaced animals everywhere, funded by the sales of the BeKind bracelet and cause collar available at The face of the BeKind campaign is Amigo — a former stray from Grand Bahama Island — whom Frances rescued.

Leading the applause in the theater when Amigo and Frances took to the stage to receive their award was Hollywood’s finest including stars Terrence Howard, David Duchovny, Doug Savant, and Dakota Fanning. Also seen enjoying a reunion during the reception was “Lost” star Naveen Andrews who told Maggie Grace that he misses her on the show.

Following the awards presentation, Frances and Amigo joined Cheryl Hines, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Maria Bello, Justin Chatwin, Bradley Cooper, Isla Fisher, Kristin Chenoweth, HBO Entertainment President Carolyn Strauss, “Super Size Me” star Morgan Spurlock, Samuel Goldwyn and celebrity photographer turned producer David LaChappelle and some of his “Rize” dancers for the Star Ice after party on the rooftop.

Alicia Silverstone, Amigo, and Frances Hayward
Terrence Howard and Amigo
Kristen Chenoweth and Amigo
David LaChappelle with Amigo and Rize dancers
William Grims, Amigo, Frances Hayward, and Dakota Fanning
L. to r.: Felicity Huffman, Amigo, Frances Hayward; Amigo; Amigo, Frances Hayward, and Jeremy Piven.
L. to r.: Cheryl Hines, Amigo, and Frances Hayward; John Evans, Morgan Spurlock, Frances Hayward, and Alexandra Jamieson; David Duchovny, Anton Yelchin, Frances Hayward, and Amigo.
L. to r.: Molly Sims and Amigo; Eddie Griffin and Harrison Ford; Famke Janssen.

December 13, 2005, Volume V, Number 207
Photographs by DPC/ & WireImage (Hayward)


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