Flash! Emilio Azcarraga, the Mexican media tycoon who is the richest man in Mexico and one of the richest in the world, and his lovely wife, Paula, are getting a divorce. They’ve been together for more than 25 years. It’s Paula’s idea. She is said to be unhappy and ready for a change. Wants to be her own person, if you please. There is no third party involved on either side. Whatever the path Paula takes — who knows, maybe she’s had it with marriage or even a reasonable facsimile forever — she’ll never find another man like Emilio. Macho with a capital M he may be, but he’s a dynamic, brilliant original and generous beyond generous. So it’s nice to know the parting is friendly.
The British Royals are busy being their own persons, even if nobody is getting divorced lately. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, still touring the Caribbean aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, are the guests of honor at a luncheon for 1,000 on Monday to be given in Freeport by the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Hubert A. Ingraham, and Mrs. Ingraham at the splendid seaside residence of Sir Jack Hayward. The house is a masterpiece of British Colonial architecture, designed by the American architect, Alfred Browning Parker of Miami Beach. Sir Jack himself is chairman of the Grand Bahama Development Commission and the principal owner of the Grand Lucayan Beach Hotel, so try to be impressed.As for the Queen’s little sister, Princess Margaret, she will soon visit New York after a sunny sojourn in Mustique as the guest of her son, Viscount Linley, and his bride, Serena, at their charming house, the same charming house that used to belong to Princess Margaret until she recently deeded it over to her son. Mustique was simply tons of fun with Shakira and Michael Caine and Kate Ford ensconced with Mary and Harding Lawrence at their magnificent villa at the top of the island, The Terraces, and Kenny Lane and Wendy Stark staying with Minnie and John Coleman of New Orleans and Newport.
Just now the princess is in St. Lucia, staying with Lord and Lady Glenconner — Lady Anne Glenconner is Margaret’s lady-in-waiting — at their charming house which they have, so far, deeded to no one.
While the princess is here — she arrives next week — she will be the guest of honor at a smart dinner on March 9 given by Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera and Cynthia and Graydon Carter of the Vanity Fair Carters.
As for Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin, that great music lover, the Earl of Harewood, he and Lady Harewood will be the guests of honor at a little dinner Arnold Scaasi is giving at his Beekman Place place tonight. Arnold’s dramatic dining room holds 20, so coming to fill it up are such as Brooke Astor, Louise and Henry Grunwald, Gayfryd and Saul Steinberg, Blaine and Robert Trump, Carroll Petrie, Kenny Lane, Beverly Sills and Peter Greenough, Astrid and Kip Forbes, Nancy Lassalle, Robert Woolley, like that. But more of all this next week.
The only place to be on March 11 around about midnight is at the Plaza Hotel, where the one and only Kay Thompson, the dancing sensation of her day, is giving a “surprise” birthday party for Liza Minnelli, her beloved godchild. “Liza agrees it’s a good idea,” reads the invitation. The party is in the Terrace Room, and it’s very black tie and intimate, too. A mere 600 are expected for cocktails and a piece of the birthday cake, which will be wheeled in at midnight on the dot, because Liza’s actual birthday is on March 12. Liza will be 48, which is perfectly alright to mention, because she looks years and years younger, don’t you think?
Liza’s stepmother, Lee Minnelli, the widow of Liza’s father, Vincente, the great director, is flying in from Los Angeles for the big night. She’ll be wearing her white tuxedo by Adolfo at the party and staying with Eleanor Lambert while she’s here. So say hello.
Will Donald Sutherland, who plays a man married for twentysomething years in “Six Degrees of Separation,” finally do the deed with his love, Francine Racette? Friends say yes. He’s been with Francine for more than twentysomething years. Something’s gotta give.
Antonio Banderas, the gorgeous Spaniard (“The Mambo Kings,” “Philadelphia”) is being hyped as the movie sex star of the Nineties. You’ll get the picture when you see his shocking, scorching, steamy scenes with Winona Ryder in “The House of the Spirits.” Banderas plays a Che Guevara type in the movie, equally adept at politics and love-making. He can have my vote.
Even though Adnan Khashoggi’s wife, Shapari, is a beauty, his other passion is Marilyn Monroe, and he has one of the biggest collections in the world of Monroe memorabilia, thousands of signed magazine covers and pictures, and, of course, all her movies. In the South of France, where they exaggerate everything, the story goes he may even name his new yacht, “The Marilyn.” The big news here is that he has a new yacht, never mind what he’s naming it. The coffers must have been refilled while a lot of backs were turned.
Reports of the alleged extra-marital wanderings of Luciano Pavarotti persist and persist and persist. So, in the face of continued rumors, Adua Pavarotti, the terrific tenor’s wife who, God knows, has been through all this before, tosses out this caustic comment, “He might leave home for a plate of spaghetti. But for a woman? Never!” She knows her man. And besides, there’s all that linguini waiting at home.
The lullabies of Broadway will float through the floors of Tiffany on the evening of March 8, when cocktails and good cheer will mark the curtain call for Broadway’s 100th anniversary year. Tiffany’s chairman William Chaney and 300 guests will celebrate the triumphs of the stage by raising toasts to four legendary ladies of the theater, Carol Channing, Celeste Holm, Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon, all singular sensations if there ever were any. There will also be Tiffany table settings on display based on themes suggested by these fabulous females’ famous productions. John Loring, Tiffany’s design director, and John Funt have set out to create designs inspired by “Oklahoma!” (who can forget Celeste Holm as Ado Annie breaking out in that famous hog call?), “Hello Dolly” (starring the incomparable Carol Channing), the original “Damn Yankees” (in which Gwen Verdon played the seductive Lola) and “West Side Story” (set on fire by Chita Rivera and her wild dancing). That formidable foursome, along with Mercedes Ruehl and Lucille Lortel, plus illustrator Al Hirschfeld, will all be there that night to bring a close to the centennial and hear about the new Celebrate Broadway Preservation Fund, designed to collect and preserve the artifacts of Broadway, which will be housed at a location to be decided later. And, yes, it will be big enough for the surrey with the fringe on top.
Get ready for the big Fitness Fest at the Vertical Club on March 8. Jamee Gregory is the chairman of this March of Dimes benefit. The idea is to throw away your little black dress and your dinner jacket and show up in spandex and sweats. The invitations came in plastic water bottles. Is that ever cute? Everyone will be there — John McEnroe, Vitas Gerulaitis, Paula Zahn and Mary McFadden will compete in a celebrity tennis match and Dave DeBusschere will let you practice free throws. The cheerleader teams from the Knicks and the Nets will strut their stuff, and you can work out with top instructors on the aerobics floor. You’ll be fed too. Miss U.S.A Debra Hamilton is coming and so are Nina Griscom Baker, Hilary Geary, Marina and Francesco Galesi, Carol and George McFadden, Whitney St. John and others too pumped-up to mention.