Now is this really true? Britain's King Edward VII would request a ballerina's slipper, drink champagne from it, intimating, post-ballet, he wanted to meet the dancer.
Whatever the legend, it's circulating. And it's evidence that the Moet & Chandon will flow for the opening night Movado Gala on Tuesday at the Shrine Auditorium inaugurating the American Ballet Theatre and Music Center Dance Presentations benefit performance of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's new production of "The Sleeping Beauty."
According to Charles Dillingham, executive director of American Ballet, Movado is bestowing a corporate patron lilt on the ABT's season with a coast-to-coast barre of glittering galas. Washington and Miami Beach debuted in January, followed by Chicago and San Francisco. ABT stages a finale April 20 in New York.
(The single "dot" on the Movado dial was conceived more than five decades ago by Nathan George Horwitt, among artists founding the Bauhaus School in Germany.) Movado chairman Gerry Grinberg explains Movado's involvement with ABT: "A shared heritage of classics in action."
Nora Kaye Ross is founding chairman of Music Center Dance Presentations. More movers: Lloyd Rigler, chairman, and Michael Tennenbaum, president, plus Clara Yust, LuAnne Wells, Kitty Keck Moses, Peter Keller, Hailey Dart, William Severns. Black-tie dining and dancing in the Shrine Exposition Hall follow for $1,000-$350 donors.
CHAMPIONS: Gene Autry has always been a man of few words, lots of songs, equestrian loyalty and a lot of money. His friends adore him. He doesn't even ask Frank Sinatra to sing for his parties; Sinatra asks him. And, Sinatra says, "Can I bring Sammy and Dean?" And then he also shows up with Rosemary Clooney. That's the way it was the other evening.
Pure nostalgia. Autry and 1,055 pals from the West and yon sophisticated cities--there to pay tribute to a man whose Autry Foundation has funded $25 million for the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum to be constructed opposite Greater Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park by summer of 1988.
At age 79, Autry has stamina. At the gala over the weekend in the Century Plaza Ballroom, he and his stately wife Jackie (in white satin Bob Mackie, she is the one who said, "OK, you've been talking about this museum for years--now just do it!") shook hands with every well-wisher they could. Devoted sidekicks--Cowboy Monte Hale and his red-haired wife Joanne (she's executive director and a major dynamo behind the museum)--were at their elbows. The thank-yous were sincere: The Autrys may have underwritten the dinner, but friends contributed the $600,000 net.
"Look," one in the know said. "Cowboy James Arness--he never comes to these things." Roy Rogers and Dale were there, smilin'. And there were plenty of sheriffs: Sheriff Sherman Block. Former Sheriff Peter Pitchess. And mayors galore: Mayor Tom Bradley and his wife, Ethel, sitting with the Autrys, and former Mayor Sam Yorty, who's writing his autobiography, with a direct eye's view to center stage. Museum heads, Dr. and Mrs. Craig C. Black. Political kingpins--Margaret Martin Brock and Charles Bakaly Jr. and his wife Pat. Councilmen like John Ferraro, Marvin Braude and Gilbert Lindsay, who followed instinct and opened his Neiman-Marcus Red River Jalapeno catsup (table favors along with cassettes of Gene Autry's 16 original hits) and smothered his tenderloin of beef. And the Glen Campbells. Pat Buttram. Ambassador John Gavin, the Larry Israels, Northrop's Bill Williams and Joan Kaiser Mahan, public relations tycoon Lee Solters, Neiman-Marcus' Dale Shumate in Galanos couture; USC Medical School's Dr. Joe Van Der Meulen. Movie great John Wayne's offspring, including the Michael Waynes and their children Josephine and Christopher. And David Hall, vice president and general manager of the Nashville Network, which launches "Melody Ranch Theater" on cable and 65 Autry films (29 of them never on TV before) April 6.
The Western art world was there: In the lobby, a gentleman was overheard to comment, "I just paid $200,000 for a painting." No doubt, Autry's ears would perk up to that. Western artifacts, including Frederic Remingtons, will grace the halls of the new museum. All Autry wants is a "museum that will be a masterpiece the whole world will look at."
It was a night for diamonds, rather than turquoise, though Monte Hale was wearing an Indian head $10 gold piece circa 1912. "I had it enameled in London, and that's a little pearl in his ear."
Blonde, glamorous bejeweled Barbara Sinatra was svelte in black Yves St. Laurent, planning Norway, Sweden and Italy with Ol' Blue Eyes, then Monte Carlo, for the summer.
Alex Wagner, a New Yorker with a Southern accent, was outdoing his tablemates with Autry trivia: "Dinah (Shore) turned down 'Rudolph (the Red-nosed Reindeer).' Autry did it in one take--that was it! And it's second to 'White Christmas' in sales."