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Nicky Blair Catered to the Stars

December 02, 1998|IRENE LACHER

The golden rule of any party fiend is a thank-you call to one's host for the good time had by all, and heaven knows, we all had a blast. So thanks, Nicky.

Wherever you are.

The late Nicky Blair was the heavenly host for his own wake at Spago on Sunset Saturday afternoon. One of the town's top party-meisters to celebrities, the legendary restaurateur had provided in his will for one final bash. Oh, yes. Did we mention that his will was handled by Robert Shapiro?

"Even when he died, he had a superstar taking care of him," said his former publicist David Kramer. "That's Nicky."

About 400 Blair-ites braved the weekend downpour to pay court to Nicky's memories. Not to mention his facsimiles. Six blow-up portraits of Blair greeted the damp mourners at Forest Lawn--Nicky with Elvis. Nicky with Sinatra. Nicky with Tony Curtis.

"Nicky was still playing for publicity, even though he was dead," Kramer said. "The reason I called you is that I knew Nicky would love it. He wanted a lot of attention, even when he was gone."

Happy to help. Curtis showed up to see Blair off. So did Shapiro, a co-Raiders fan whose law offices were never out of chomping distance from Blair's restaurants. Jack Haley Jr. was there, along with Robert Forster, Nikki Haskell, Hugh Hefner, Suzanne Pleshette, Dan Tana, Tom Conti and Ann-Margret. Clint Eastwood and Kirk Kerkorian said their farewells in letters that were read aloud.

Later, Blair-ites did their best to party with the competition down the street--Spago on Sunset--sporting pins that read "love + spaghetti," Blair's recipe for life and the title of his unpublished memoir.

"He would have loved this," said his longtime friend Bruce Glatman.

Haskell found a kindred spirit in the purveyor of Italian food. "I would call Nicky and say, 'So how's business?' And he would say, 'Over the titles.' To Nicky, every night was a movie of the week, and he wanted the room filled with people that he loved."

Indeed, Blair's acting career may have been an endless trailer of bit parts, but he was the star under his own marquees, the ones emblazoned "Nicky Blair's."

So don't expect Blair's star to dim any time soon if Shapiro has anything to say about it. "I thought a wonderful tribute to him would be to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."


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