Who doesn’t love Bobby Short? Don’t ask me because I certainly do. And so do thousands and thousands of others who have heard the darling, superbly talented man sing in that instantly recognizable voice like no other and play the piano like the incomparable entertainer he has been since he first begin playing when he was a little boy in the South. His New York home through his long and famous career has been the Carlyle Hotel, where his appearances have drawn adoring fans night after night. Dear Bobby. He makes so many people so happy, even when he sings those sad, sad songs. Did you know he is 80 years old? I know, I know. But it’s true. And on a clear day and a good night — and for him they are all good — he looks half his age.
Some of the friends who love this legend best gave him a big 80th birthday party at the Rainbow Room the other night. Hosted by such luminaries as Lynn and Oscar Wyatt, Christina Wyeth, Lisa and David Schiff, Casey Ribicoff, Yanna and Warren Avis, Susan Fales-Hill and Aaron Hill, Alex Hitz and Larry Chrysler, it wasn’t just another night on the town, because everybody came to wish him many happy returns. Bobby’s great chum, the magnificent Jessye Norman, wearing one of the towering turbans that are her trademark, sang a cappella and brought down the house. Tony Bennett sang without a mike, if you please. Cy Coleman took to the piano and sang and played some of his hip tunes. Barbara Carroll, another top pianist and Bobby’s longtime friend, showed why she has been such a success through the years, and Julie Wilson and her ever-present white gardenia favored the group with one of her best-known ballads.
This story first appeared in the September 15, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In the crowd were Maria Cooper Janis and Byron Janis; Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman with Dr. Frank Petito; Marti Stevens; Anne Slater with John Cahill; the famous Elaine (the restaurateuse of song and storybook); Nan Kempner in summery white by Ferré; Amy Fine Collins of “The God of Driving;” Jane and Peter Marino; Gil Shiva; Ellin Saltzman; Dina Merrill, in black and white polkadots, with Ted Hartley; Pamela Fiori; Marguerite Littman, the noted London hostess; Peter Rogers; Geraldine Stutz; Jean Bach; Frank Bowling, in from Beverly Hills; Mica and Ahmet Ertegun; Kitty Carlisle Hart, in chiffon and feathers; Joe Eula; Irith Landau Federman, the Israeli hotel heiress, and more, more, more.
Lynn Wyatt wore a stunning beaded dress from Tom Ford’s last collection. Someone stepped on her train, but it really didn’t matter. As the old saying goes, she’d look good in a gunny sack. All it takes for her is a combination of really great genes and a trainer who won’t let go.
The ladies who plot and plan the new season’s benefit parties and galas work hard to help those in need, and doing it year after year is no easy feat. But still they plow on and on and on. So, The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will host a luncheon and a Bill Blass fashion show at Saks Fifth Avenue on Monday to kick off its big preview at the Park Avenue Armory on Oct. 21. This year’s co-chairs — Jamee Gregory, Leslie Jones and Lavinia Snyder, plus their committee — are vowing to raise $1 million. Way to go, ladies.
Dogs and cats are barking and meowing all over town about the Animal Medical Center’s Top Dog Gala to be held at the Waldorf-Astoria on Sept. 22. Among those buying tickets and tables are Oscar and Annette de la Renta, Eliza and Alex Bolen, Nancy and Henry Kissinger, Emilia and Pepe Fanjul, Cynthia Phipps, Pauline Pitt, Donna and Bill Acquavella, Carroll Petrie and Eugenie Niven, animal lovers all. The chairmen of the party are Wendy and Stephen Lash, and the junior committee is headed up by Alexia Hamm Ryan and Shoshanna Gruss. But the night’s real guest of honor is Winston, a heroic seven-year-old black labrador, one of the NYPD’s Explosive Canines who keep our city safe.
Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg will present the Municipal Arts Society’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis medal to MoMA’s former president, the one and only Agnes Gund, on Oct. 5 at the opening of One Beacon Court, the building designed by Cesar Pelli with interiors by Jacques Grange. The gala’s co-chairs are David Rockefeller, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman and John Whitehead. The medal bears Jackie’s name in recognition of her tireless efforts to preserve and protect New York’s great architecture.
The exotic Greek isle of Mykonos might just as well have had its own fashion week. Valentino pulled his glamorous yacht right into the island’s picturesque Ornos Bay and practically right into the bedroom of Jean Paul Gaultier’s suite at the Kivotos, the island’s hottest boutique hotel that perches on the cliff over the bay. Patrick Stewart is also staying at the Kivotos, with a mystery blonde in her late 20s who shall be nameless, namely because we don’t know her name. But, va-va-voom. Also dropping anchor in the bay was Bill Gates’ seemingly endless boat, Goygpus, as well as yachts belonging to such golden Greek clans as the Niarchoses and Goulandrises. Thierry Mugler, while in Mykonos, was seen night after night at Piero’s, the island’s answer to why nobody goes to bed until morning. Other fashionable figures on the whitewashed isle this summer were Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford, who rented not only one villa but the four surrounding ones to ensure that whatever they are doing together these days, they can do in private. Good for them, everybody hates a showoff.