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Philip Baloun, 61; high society party planner's clientele included Prince Charles

July 09, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Philip Baloun, 61, one of America's preeminent party planners, died June 28 of pancreatic cancer at his home in Manhattan, the New York Times reported.

Trained as a florist, Baloun's work required him to also employ "in equal measure the skills of a theater designer, engineer and sorcerer," the newspaper reported.

For the 70th birthday of financier George Soros, he built a town square that would summon up visions of Soros' home country of Hungary.

For Britain's Prince Charles, he created a forest in a tent on the plaza at Lincoln Center.

His rates started around $30,000 for a simple affair of flowers and decor, but a high-end affair could easily run into seven figures, and his work often involved the use of dozens of subcontractors, including caterers, carpenters, disc jockeys, lighting technicians and parking valets, the newspaper said.

A native of Chicago, Baloun attended the American Floral Arts School there. He earned a bachelor's degree in literature and music from St. Norbert College in Wisconsin.

He moved to Manhattan with the hopes of becoming a theater director but ended up working for a leading society florist and party designer, the newspaper reported. Baloun opened his own business in 1979.

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