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Kevin Spacey, Dream Lover * Kings and Castles * Petal Pushers

Kevin Spacey can’t stop singing. After his recent duet with Elton John at a benefit for the Old Vic in London, he told friends that this summer, he will realize his dream of playing the legendary crooner Bobby Darin in a movie to be titled “Beyond the Sea,” which he will also produce and direct.

This story first appeared in the February 21, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Darin, you may or may not remember, was a huge recording, nightclub and movie star in the late Fifties and Sixties who married America’s sweetheart at the time, the doll-like Sandra Dee. His doctors warned Darin that his life would be short because of his chronic heart disease, a fact that drove him to find stardom by the time he was 25. In 1973, when he was 37, he died while having open heart surgery in Los Angeles. At 44, Spacey is not worried about his voice — he will sing “Mack the Knife,” “Dream Lover,” and maybe even “Splish Splash” — but he fears that he may be a little long in the tooth. Not to worry, they are doing amazing things these days with lighting, makeup and computer imaging. No word yet as to whom is going to play the dewy-faced Dee. Certainly not Madonna — maybe Renée Zellweger? But lighting and imaging aside, even if he sings like a bird, I still don’t see Spacey as Bobby Darin. Do you?

King Constantine of Greece made a sentimental journey home last week to beautiful Tatoi Palace, just north of Athens, where he spent his youth when it was the royal family’s summer residence. Sad but true, the estate was officially taken from him by the European Court of Human Rights last year along with two other family properties he was trying to reclaim. In their stead, he was given a mere $10 million, even though the land and buildings are reckoned to be worth well over $400 million. How do you say “that’s life” in Greek?

The King spent several hours at Tatoi with his wife Queen Anne-Marie; his son Crown Prince Pavlos and his wife, Marie-Chantal; his son Prince Nicholas, and his daughter, Princess Alexis, praying before the tombs of his parents, King Paul and Queen Frederika of Greece. He traveled from his home in England on a Danish passport, as the current Greek government refuses to give him one from his homeland. His great-grandfather George I, the founder of the Greek dynasty, was from the Danish Royal Family and Queen Anne-Marie was a Danish princess before their marriage. Constantine, a member of the International Olympic Committee, plans to return for the Summer 2004 Olympics in Athens if he doesn’t make it before. As for Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie-Chantal, when they left New York to live in Europe, they left behind a hole in what is commonly referred to as high society. A lot of people can’t wait for them to come back.

Prince Charles is developing a grand new estate, Harewood Park, in Herefordshire. The property is not far from his country house, Highgrove, in Gloucestershire and it will have a manor house, a farm, stables and a private chapel on the property. It should be up and operating in about seven years. Officially, it will be rented out on the open market, but unofficially it’s said that it will be given to Prince William so he can have a little country place of his own — and why not? He will be almost 30 by then and may well be married with children. There is some lucky girl out there somewhere.

The New York Botanical Garden held its annual Orchid Dinner in the beautiful paneled library of the University Club among zillions of breathtaking orchids, a number of orchid-acious women and a dashing man or two. The evening’s honorary chairman was Carolina Herrera, who looked as if she’d just stepped off the runway in a dress of her own design. The chairmen of the evening were House & Garden’s Dominique Browning and Ann and Philip Miller, who — listen, it’s no secret — are simply mad about orchids. Thirty-two designers created an array of exquisite centerpieces made from blooming orchids on black velvet cloths for the guests to dine around. Kitty Hawk’s contribution was a nest of speckled lizard eggs, complete with hatching little lizards, surrounded by pink cymbidium orchids. Bunny Williams’ crystal trumpet vase was wrapped in coco palm bark filled with cymbidium orchids, curly willow and palm fronds resting on a base that hid a whole reptilian world, if you care a lot about reptilian worlds. Jackson, Siegel and Aarons miniature 19th century winged chair was upholstered in white orchids on a moss-covered pedestal. Ralph Lauren’s whimsical antique bird cage held exotic orchids of fuchsia, purple, orange and yellow. Jamie Drake’s cachepots covered in pink suede and jewels held masses of roses and crisp white orchids. Tiffany & Co. and Robert Couturier also did luscious designs.

The evening’s vice chairmen included such as Mary and Howard Phipps, Molly Rockefeller-Millbank, Dana Buchman, Fernanda Kellogg and Kirk Henckels. More than $450,000 — the orchids were for sale, you know — was raised to benefit the Botanical Gardens and its highly celebrated orchid collection.

Bob Hardwick and his orchestra played for the dancing, and among the razzle-dazzle crowd were such as Blaine and Robert Trump, former Time Inc. editor in chief Ralph Graves, Honore Wamsler, Nancy Pyne of the New Jersey Pynes, Jean Beard (she’s Blaine Trump’s mother), Greg Jordan and Reinaldo Herrera.

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