— DIANE CLEHANE
It’s been hard enough to keep track of the steady stream of A-listers that pour into Michael’s on any given Wednesday, but this afternoon really kept me hopping. While the usual roster of boldface names traded air kisses and table hopped in the front room, the garden room was filled to the brim for a luncheon hosted by Patricia Duff to celebrate The Gray Zone, the first novel from her longtime pal, producer and screenwriter Daphna Ziman. Perched at the bar with my friend, designer David Biscaye who will soon be off to London and Torino, Italy in search of treasures for his clients, I nabbed Daphna for a quick chat before she could join her guests that included author Naomi Wolf, Debbie Bancroft, Patty Raynes, artist Mark Kostabiand actress Beverly Todd. (You might recall Beverly’s scene stealing performance in Crash as a drug addicted mother devastated by the death of her son.)
Daphna told me she got the idea for the book two years ago in the midst of watching her marriage implode. She found it “empowering” to write about a heroine who flees an abusive household and becomes involved in a personal crusade to stop human trafficking. “I was stuck in the horrific reality of a divorce but I was able to live in another world through my character,” said the author. While the novel is a work of fiction, Daphna knows her subject matter well. She is founder of CUN (Children Uniting Nations) and the chairperson of ABC LOVE (Adoption Brings Children Love). An adoptive mother of two, she is passionate about stopping the trafficking of children and will be speaking out on the subject during her book tour that includes a spot on tonight’s broadcast of NBC’s Nightly News.
Here’s a rundown on today’s crowd:
1. David Poltrack of CBS presiding over a table full of business types
2. Peter Brown
3. Producer Jean Doumanian, Barbara Lieberman and Vidicom’s Christy Ferer
4. Mike Ovitzwith a well-heeled gent we didn’t get to meet
5. Herb Siegel and Frank Gifford
6. Beauty Fashion’s George Ledes and Truitt Bell (Great name!)
7. Money man Richard Bressler
8. Men’s Health honcho David Zinczenko huddled deep in conversation with MidOcean Capital’s Steven Gilbert
9. Western Management’s Philip Mactaggart
10. Author (The Power of Style) Annette Tapert
11. Discovery Communications president Henry Schleiff
12. Art aficionado Alexander Chemla
14. Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew
15. The always distinguished (and tall!) Vernon Jordan
16. United Stations Radio Network’s Nick Verbitsky
81. Radio Advertising Bureau’s CEO Jeff Haley
17. The Pilot Group’s Marshall Cohen, who stopped by to say hello at the bar. Marshall told me his son Robert Cohen just landed a new gig as a writer’s assistant on Law & Order SVU. Congrats! (Here’s hoping he can help script some compelling story lines that will keep two of our favorite television cops, Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, on the beat despite reports that both are getting ready to leave the long running series).
Marshall’s lunch date, Dateline NBC’s David Corvo, also had some tasty TV dish when he arrived. It seems David will be busier than ever when his new primetime newsmagazine show with Brian Williams premieres this fall. The still unnamed broadcast, which doesn’t have a time slot yet, will “give Brian a chance to do the long form interviews and longer pieces he loves to do but can’t on Nightly News,” says David. David, who said he’ll miss working with Ann Curry now that she’ll be busy as co-host of Today, assures me that the new show will complement Dateline, which will continue to explore one subject in depth. No word on whether Brian will be doing a monologue now that his comedic gifts have been lauded by in a glowing profile in New York. We’re guessing he’ll save his one-liners for his guest spots on The Tonight Show and SNL.
18. Barbara Walters (in all-white) with Marie Josee Kravis
19. Marvel Enterprise’s Sara Beth Shrager
20. Power blondes a deux: literary agent extraordinaire Frederica Friedman and Betsy Perry
21. Quest’s Chris Meigher (We also spotted daughter Elizabeth Meigher in the crowd but didn’t see who she was dining with).
22. Richard Rubin
23. Amanda Tapper
24. Morgan Stanley’s Anson Beard
26. NBC’s Victor Garvey
27. Elaine Florio
28. Charles Fisher
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.