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DAN'S PAPERS, March 14, 2008 Page 24


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really put too much emphasis on whether he received an award or not because he didn’t think that artists were in competition with one another. But he was happy to accept it anyway, particularly because Guild Hall was this rare and important thing that was not only a theatre but also a museum, and that combining the two in one building created many opportunities. What would it be like, he asked, if the Met or MOMA had a theatre in it? He left us to ponder that. Robert F. X. Sillerman, who is a billionaire businessman with a genius for promotion — he recently bought the rights to the promotion of Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali and “American Idol” — held up his award and said that unlike the others being honored

who had earned their honor, he had simply bought his. He was, he said, just a businessman who had done very well at what businessmen are supposed to do, which is make money. “Here’s how you get this award,” he said. “You give Guild Hall a million dollars. They give you an award.” He looked around the room to see who might buy the award next year. He also talked a bit about the new building at Brandeis that will have his name on it and will house a division of that University that teaches Philanthropy to those in a position to give away large sums but would like to be taught how most effectively to do that. Mel Brooks spoke next. Actually, he didn’t speak at first. He was announced, got up

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from his table in the audience like everybody else, went up front, snatched up his award, turned around without speaking and went back toward his seat which, fortunately, was completely blocked by admirers who said he had to get back up there and say something. “This is an amazing coincidence,” he said when he got back to the podium. “David Salle was born in Oklahoma and was raised in Wichita. And I was born in Oklahoma and raised in Wichita.” Everybody howled. “Then I went to Hollywood and people said forget Wichita, do that Jew thing. So that’s what I did. And I’m glad of it.” Brooks talked a little about Guild Hall. “They have a museum there? I didn’t know that. I thought it was just the theatre. I never went in the back. Imagine that. A museum.” Brooks told a story about being a young man in his early days in Hollywood and learning that the hotel bar he was sitting at was frequented, every day at noon, by Cary Grant. “I couldn’t believe it! Cary Grant? It was ten to noon. I didn’t move. And there he was. He wore a pin-striped suit, shined up black shoes, and he came up the escalator from his Bentley and came right in and sat down. Later I called my friend in New York and said guess who came right in to where I was? Cary Grant! The next day, he came in again, and I came up and introduced myself to him. He asked me to sit down. I said sit down with Cary Grant? He insisted. We talked. He asked me my favorite color. I said blue. He said that was his favorite color. He asked me my favorite movie. I said Top Hat. He said Top Hat was his favorite movie too. We had something going here. We had all this in common. Afterwards, I couldn’t believe it. I had made friends with Cary Grant. The next day, there he was again and he called me over and now we had lunch. He asked me what my favorite car was, and I said an Oldsmobile. And he said how about that, his was the Bentley. I said wow and there’s one right there outside. We were becoming buddies now. I picked up the check for lunch of course. He called me the next day and we met again. Then he called me on Thursday and we met again. When he called Friday, I thought about it for a minute, and then I told my secretary — tell him I’m out.” That was Mel Brooks. The King of the, where the hell were we? What a wonderful evening. Comedian Angela LaGreca, who also writes for the “Today Show” and before that “The View,” hosted the evening and was hilarious. The dinner included a crabmeat salad, herb crusted roast lamb and wild mushroom risotto, vanilla cream meringue cake and Corey Creek Chardonnay and Bedell Merlot wines from the North Fork. The key figures today for Guild Hall, Mickey Straus, Roy Furman and Ruth Appelhof, did an absolutely marvelous job of putting together this wonderful and glittering evening high up at the top of Manhattan. •

Dan's Papers Mar. 14, 2008  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...

Dan's Papers Mar. 14, 2008  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...