— DIANE CLEHANE
Sometimes it seems as if all roads lead to Michael’s — well, at least on Wednesdays. Today, the planets aligned to bring together folks with some interesting six-degrees-of-separation connections. I was talking to ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong who introduced me to Greg Lawrence, author of Jackie as Editor: The Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (St. Martins). Greg interviewed over 125 writers and editors who worked with Jackie during her 19 years at Viking Press. (The excerpt that ran in Vanity Fair recently was dishy and full of colorful details of Jackie’s life as a working girl. The paperback edition comes out this summer.) Turns out Greg worked with Jackie on three books, including one with his former wife, ballerina Gelsey Kirkland. Their memoir, Dancing on My Grave, caused quite an uproar at the time for its revelations. “It was quite scandalous,” recalled Greg, smiling at the memory.
That got me thinking. Since Greg knew one of the most famous members of the Kennedy family pretty well, I asked if he thought Caroline Kennedy was really behind the campaign that got The History Channel to drop their plans to air The Kennedys mini-series. “Oh, definitely,” he told me. “Caroline is very sensitive about these things, and since she has a documentary with ABC and a book with Hyperion planned on her own about Jackie, she was able to stop it.”
Before he could say more, Kerry Kennedy walked up to say hello to Joe (a longtime friend of the Kennedy family) unaware there was a journalist in her midst who had delved into the life of a Kennedy for fun and profit. When Joe introduced Kerry to Greg and told her about his book, I observed what appeared to be a cautiously cordial response. It must be surreal to see your relative on the cover of a book someone is holding only to find out the author of that book is the person you’re talking to, although I’m guessing it’s not all that unusual if you’re a Kennedy. We were saved from any further awkwardness when Henry Schleiff (who knows everyone) grabbed Kerry for a big hug and pulled her aside for a little chat.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Kerry Kennedy, presiding over a table of casually clad diners
2. Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer, having what looked to be a very intense conversation with uber agent Wayne Kabak
3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong with director Susan Stroman, Ed Victor and his lovely wife, Carol
4. Hudson News CEO James S. Cohen with a doppelganger power lunch pal