The architect as a superstar. It's not a new phenomenon, but the list keeps growing and the latest addition is 50-year-old Richard Meier, winner of the 1984 Pritzker Prize (it's considered architecture's version of the Nobel), designer of Atlanta's High Museum of Art and winner of the architectural plum of the decade--architect for the multimillion-dollar J. Paul Getty Trust arts complex that will rise over many acres in Brentwood.
Meier was in town this week to lecture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on "The High and Other Museums" under auspices of the USC School of Architecture's Architectural Guild. The night before the lecture he was being lionized--as he should be--at a dinner party given for him by Paige Rense, editor in chief of Architectural Digest. The setting was the Regency Club and the guest list represented a wonderfully varied lot of talented individuals.
The hostess laughingly referred to her guests as a "mixed bag." And in toasting her guest of honor she called him a "genius" and a "part-time bicoastal." Dr. Franklin Murphy, who was there with his wife Judy, had next to the last words. "It's a California bouillabaisse," he said of the gathering and "a typical Paige mix." Because Meier will be commuting between the East and West coasts for a long time, the scholarly Dr. Murphy decided he was an "in migrant." And he added, "We have a lot of geniuses in our part of the world, but it is useful to have them enhanced." Then Meier, evidently a man of few words, stood up and almost shyly and, certainly, modestly simply said, "Thanks."
That mixed bag included David Murdock, the financier-developer who has just added Castle & Cooke to his holdings; the internationally renowned team of decorators Valerian Rybar and Jean-Francois Daigre; antiquarians Ariane Dandois-Faye of Paris, Rose Tarlow who commutes between Los Angeles and London, and Leo Dennis and Jerry Leen; interior designers Ted Graber, Sally Sirkin Lewis, Kalef Alaton, Jack Lowrance, Leonard Stanley, Mimi London, and Val Arnold. And to add to the spicy mixture, artist Jack Baker, part of a Santa Barbara-Montecito contingent that also included actor Mel Ferrer and his wife Lisa (who'd just returned from Russia where he'd been filming "Peter the Great") and Ralph Saltus, who teaches languages; former Atty. Gen. and Mrs. William French Smith, who are still settling down to life in Los Angeles; Ardie and Harriet Deutsch (her all-over beaded dress was made for big entrances); Frances Bergen; Connie Wald; Alan and Nancy Livingston; Alan Shayne; Hollywood agent Sue Mengers and her writer husband Jean-Claude Tramont; art collectors Laura Lee and Bob Woods; Tom Allardyce; producer Tamara Asseyev; Bradley and Mary Jones; artist Norman Sunshine; Russell McMasters and Nancy and John Bryson. (He's the former Life photographer who is circling the world, camera in hand, with Dr. Armand Hammer. The result will be a coffee-table book on the irrepressible octogenarian's life style.)
Dinner began with a delicate fish served with corn in a cornhusk. And the last touch was the Regency Club's own chocolate truffles.
A few of the same people had been in Kalef Alaton's impressive living quarters cum office complex the night before for the dinner Kalef gave for his house guest and friend, Ariane Dandois-Faye. Eighteen came to dine in the spacious salon and a few more arrived later for dessert and chitchat.
St. Germain to Go cleverly set up two round buffet tables (for the roast beef and veggies and salad), one at each end of the room. Later the tables became groaning boards for an array of desserts and fruits. The cheese course was passed.
The early group included Shirley and Simon Beriro; Mrs. Joseph Pollock with her daughter Margo and Margo's husband Danny Sinclair, the sculptor (Dr. Joe was home baby-sitting with his granddaughter Ariel who had the chicken pox); Henry and Jayne Berger; Howard Ruby; the Gilbert Schnitzers; Rose Tarlow; architect Olivier Vidal and his wife; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Jenks. Spaniards call after-dinner guests "palillos" (toothpicks). This evening they included Lois and Jerry Magnin and Linda May with Harold Applebaum.
Actress Dyan Cannon and real-estate developer (and former show-biz lawyer) Stanley Fimberg are keeping their wedding date and the place a secret. But they will celebrate the event handsomely with a black-tie wedding reception and dinner later this month at Rex Il Ristorante. Among those who will join the celebration is Stanford student Jennifer Grant, the daughter of Dyan Cannon and Cary Grant. And among others who've been invited are Cary Grant and his wife Barbara, Shirley MacLaine, Barbra Streisand and Dudley Moore.