Byline: Aileen Mehle

The big news that has Europe’s creme de la creme all whipped up is that Karim Aga Khan, K to his chums, has suddenly and unexpectedly and secretly (until it was announced at a very recent family reunion) married Princess Dr. Gabriele zu Leiningen, who from now on out will be known as Princess Inaara. This when everyone thought the stunning widow of an Argentine polo player had the inside track. Men. Now the happy couple are reportedly honeymooning somewhere in the Mediterranean on the groom’s yacht, Shergar. Shergar was also the name of the Aga Khan’s famous horse that was kidnapped years ago and met a bad end. Well, anyhow, bon voyage.

Mira Sorvino, who is not about to run out of movie jobs, plays opposite Val Kilmer in what they keep calling “a romantic drama”: “At First Sight,” appearing at a theater near you sometime in the fall. Fine. But it’s staggering news that Mira is being set by director Ron Maxwell to play Joan of Arc in his new film, also starring such veteran tried-and-very-true talents as Albert Finney and the incomparable actor Derek Jacobi. Another noted director, Luc Besson, is also planning a movie about the Maid of Orleans starring his love, Milla Jovovich. So, asked a friend of Hollywood types, does that make the ladies Arc rivals? Please.
I don’t know how you feel about it, but frankly, I can’t see either of les girls, talented and young though they may be, playing Joan, a difficult part that calls for a gifted actress of stature. Mira sizzling at the stake? Milla toasted to a turn? I don’t think so. Of course, when Ingrid Bergman, an actress of stature if there ever was one, played Joan years and years and years ago, the movie was one of the biggest bombs ever. So — the best of French luck to Mira and Milla.

La Ronde: John Travolta and George Clooney, both starring in Geisler Roberdeau’s “The Thin Red Line,” have something in common: Kelly Preston. Clooney used to date her. Travolta married her. It was that cute Kelly who gave Clooney his beloved pet pot-bellied pig, Max, who beloved or not, is so ugly he makes your teeth hurt. Clooney got the pig, Travolta got the girl.

When Claire Danes moves from Hollywood to study at Yale, that means that she and her Australian rock star, Ben Lee, will be thousands and thousands of miles apart. Ben’s sweet, but a girl needs an education. Besides, if it’s true love, Benny knows where New Haven is, mate.

Mick Jagger, never as wild really as his image suggested (past tense) has put his son James’s name down for Eton. As for daughter Jade’s new romance on the isle of Ibiza, where she’s currently living a bohemian lifestyle with a young Irish laddie, Mick is not amused. Especially since Ibiza has recently been described as “a floating chemical laboratory.”

Michael Flatley (Lord of the Dance) just spent $10 million for a magnificent mansion in an exclusive London enclave, a palatial Palladian-style pile where King Edward VII wooed his love, the sexy Lily Langtry. Flatley will spend another million to give the house “a very modern, Hollywood-esque look, with endless marble and loudspeakers in every room.” There goes the neighborhood.

Jessica Lange, coming up this summer in “Cousin Bette,” turns 50 this year, and she’s hoping to mark her birthday by having another baby. “I love being a mother,” she says. “I don’t care if I’m at an age when most women don’t attempt to conceive. Now my youngest child needs me for little more than driving him to soccer practice, and I want to experience motherhood again.” Well, have fun, dearie, and give our regards to Sam.

Never one to stay put for long or ever to hide her light under a bushel, Marylou Whitney, the widow of Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, and her husband, John Hendrickson, are at the moment in one or the other of their two Alaskan retreats. Will it thrill you to learn that during the course of their year-long honeymoon they have gone to Kenya on safari; visited Spain, Italy, Palm Beach and their new house on Long Boat Key; stopped off at the Lexington horse farm where they managed to squeeze in the Kentucky Derby; popped into the New York apartment; flew to Vancouver; cruised in Alaska, and visited the fishing camp in the Adirondacks and the house in Saratoga? Just packing their bags for the hegira was enough to bring on circles under the eyes, but then, as Marylou inherited $100 million, she probably has someone to do up the luggage, wouldn’t you think?
Speaking of Saratoga quite naturally brings up the annual Whitney Gala, which benefits The National Museum of Dance. It will burst forth on Aug. 7 at Canfield Casino. Saratoga steams up during the August racing season, but not to worry. Marylou and the late CVW air-conditioned the casino some years ago, so all will stay delightfully cool whilst sipping the Moet et Chandon.
The theme of this year’s gala is “The Phantom of the Opera,” and the ladies have been requested to wear black or white. As for Marylou, she found the perfect gown at a local boutique called Bird of Paradise. It’s a scoopneck, sleeveless satin and chiffon Empire confection with a matching long-sleeved bolero jacket, all designed by Chris McLaughlin. She won’t wear a white mask, but John might. Dear John.
Marylou is the honorary chair of the evening, and Eileen (Mrs. Joseph) Cornacchia and Sheryl (Mrs. Barry) Schwartz are the chairs. Marylou — and would you expect anything else? — oversees all the exacting details of the party as the dance museum is near and dear to her. You see, her daughter, Heather (Mrs. Douglas) Mabee, is the president. All in the family, and ain’t it nice to have 100 million big ones?

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