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Posts Tagged ‘Rita Jamais’

Lunch: Barbara Walters, Frank Langella & Kathie Lee Gifford

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— DIANE CLEHANE

It was a tasty mix of media mavens, social types and the random celebrity (Frank Langella was in the house!) on the menu at Michael’s today: The dining room was so packed, they were shoehorning tables in everywhere. I was glad I got there early so I was able to grab some of the regulars on the way to their tables before they got down to some serious dining and dishing. Kathie Lee Gifford was one of the first to arrive, announcing, “Ah, springtime!” as she came through the door. She’s got plenty to smile about these days as her latest book, Just When I Thought I’d Dropped My Last Egg (Ballantine), hit the New York Times bestseller list. I just has to ask Kathie Lee what she thought about her pal Joan Rivers winning The Celebrity Apprentice, besting her arch enemy poker player Annie Duke and the nasty showdown the women had on the finale. “I was thrilled for her. Anyone that knows Joan knows she’s a friend to the end — and any time a 75-year-old wins anything, it’s good for all of us!”

I was lunching today with Alexandra Trower, Estee Lauder’s executive vice president of global communications. This consummate public relations pro has been with the company just over a year now, having made the switch from banking (she was SVP of media relations for Bank of America) to the beauty biz. This week, Alex scored a major hit with a front-page story on Estee Lauder’s new CEO Fabrizio Freda in WWD Beauty Biz. We had a terrific chat about the famous faces and captains of industry we’ve both come to know. It’s amazing what a small world Manhattan can be!

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Today show twosome Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb with Kathie Lee’s right-hand gal Christine and Hoda’s chic pal Sunny

2. Literary lioness Lynn Nesbitt and Peter Brown

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong dining with Kerry Kennedy and her charming young daughter Michaela

4. Barbara Walters and Frank Langella

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Lunch At Michael’s: The Dog Days Are Here!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The morning monsoon that shut down the city for several hours kept all but the true diehards away today at 55th & Fifth. Even general manager Steve Millington was kept from his post due to a weather-related nanny nightmare (we can relate). Others, like our pal Jaqui Lividini, arrived breathless due to today’s stifling heat and annoying lack of cabs. The fashion maven recovered her cool before being joined by Teen Vogue‘s Amy Astley, a newly minted member of the International Best Dressed List. (Check out the full list of fab fashionistas — including Posh & Becks and the always dreamy George Clooney in Vanity Fair‘s gigantic September issue). Memo to Mike Bloomberg: Why don’t you stop waging your will-he-or-won’t he run for president, declare August a citywide holiday and put us all out of our misery?’

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Four suits — one, we’re told was a Fox News bigwig (obviously someone else was charged with bailing out the drenched mothership) — tucking into cobb salads.

2. The soul of Manolo Blahnik, George Malkemus — looking dapper in a blue blazer — dining with two guests.

3. Jack Myers and two jacketed gents.

4. Portfolio’s David Carey

5. Bill Siegal(Herb’s son).

6. Allen & Co.’s John Josephson with a table full of young turks and one mystery gal.

7. The man himself, Michael McCarty, dishing with John Hilton. We’re assuming he’s part of that Hilton clan. I wanted to ask how Paris was doing since being sprung from the slammer but I just couldn’t bring myself to utter her name in public …

8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and Rita Jamais, the former owner of La Caravelle.

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Lunch at Michael’s: Wesley Clark & A Model Mystery

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpgWe missed Jane Fonda by a day. Today’s lunch crowd was lacking the star power we’ve come to expect on our weekly visits so while we were disappointed our usual perch at the bar had been usurped by an unidentified exec, we didn’t miss much from our less than stellar seat a few stools down. We were, though, happy to spot our pal Jack Kliger. Lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane chatted up the Hachette honcho about the latest celebrity implosion that’s got everyone buzzing — the Rosie O’Donnell trainwreck that left the station at Monday’s Matrix Awards and crashed and burned with today’s surprise announcement that she is leaving The View in mid-June due to a reported contract dispute.

Kliger was among the stunned crowd of media elite that had to suffer through O’Donnell’s profane performance as emcee of the event that had her soon to be ex-boss Barbara Walters laying her face in her hands from her seat on the dais alongside such luminaries as Hillary Clinton and Arianna Huffington. “It was absolutely disgusting,” he said, adding that the editors from Woman’s Day and other Hachette books at his table were equally sickened by the comedian’s performance. The veteran magazine executive, who knows a thing or two about working with celebrities (remember George?), says it was O’Donnell’s ill-fated stint helming her own magazine was the “turning point” against launching further titles with stars moonlighting as editors. “We’ve learned that you can cover celebrities without giving celebrities their own magazine.” For every Oprah, says Kliger, there are scores of over-inflated egos and Hollywood headcases that are deluded into thinking they can run a magazine. “I was getting at least a proposal week,” he recalls of those days when O’Donnell was still masquerading as “The Queen of Nice.” Everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Jane Pauley(“she was talking to everyone”) was interested in adding the title of editor-in-chief to their resumes — with no personal investment, of course, he recalls. Long before the 2,000 attendees of Matrix witnessed what seemed like O’Donnell’s latest effort at career suicide, Kliger told fellow publishing bigwigs they were crazy to tie their bottom line to the star. “She’s a time bomb.” No kidding.

The rest of the crowd:

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