There were gasps of disbelief throughout the Beverly Hilton's grand ballroom when Edna Lillich Davidson, concluding her May books-plays-music salon announced that, after 32 years, it was her final program--she planned "a new beginning for Edna," with more time for her private speech students.
Several months earlier Davidson, the grande dame on the Los Angeles salon scene, had learned that she faced cataract surgery.
Besides, she said recently, "I thought in 32 years people had had enough of seeing the same person on stage."
Apparently, she was wrong.
She had not told members of the salon beforehand of her "retirement," but she had advised the hotel staff, which had responded with Champagne for everyone and luncheon served on the best china.
Within weeks, Davidson said, there was "the most beautiful outpouring" of letters and phone calls" from her membership. Rethinking her decision, Davidson agreed to return for one more year, which she insists will be her last. After all, she says, when she started the salons on a shoestring in 1955 "I thought maybe it would be for three or four years."