Donald Trump, Star Jones, Wendy Williams, Plus Dish on the New Dark Shadows Movie


Who knew there was a pre-Easter rush? Michael’s dining room was jam packed today with moguls (Donald Trump!), fashion mavens (Rachel Roy, Fern Mallis) and talking heads (Star Jones, Wendy Williams and Joe Kernen) before the town car set jets off to Florida and other more exotic ports of call for the holiday. We arrived early so as not to miss a minute of the mixing and mingling of the power lunch scene and were glad we did. Trump made quite an entrance with his bodyguard in tow. The last time we spotted anyone with protection stationed inside the restaurant was when Elton John met with some bigwigs at Table One several years back. Life can be so complicated when you have money.

I was joined today by Kathryn Leigh Scott, who starred in one of my favorite television shows of all time, Dark Shadows. If you grew up in the 60’s, then you — or someone you knew — probably ran home after school in time to catch the iconic gothic soap opera which aired on WABC at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Kathryn played Maggie Evans and Josette DuPres who was the ill-fated lady love of Barnabas Collins, one of television’s most famous vampires memorably depicted by Jonathan Frid. She also starred opposite Jonathan in the hit MGM film House of Dark Shadows (soon to be re-released on DVD and BlueRay).

Well, everything old is new again and next month Tim Burton‘s big screen homage to the show, Dark Shadows, starring super fan Johnny Depp hits theaters May 11. Kathryn, Jonathan as well as her former castmates Lara Parker (the original Angelique) and David Selby (Quentin Collins) have cameos in the film. “Lara and I plan to walk the red carpet together at the Los Angeles premiere wearing age-appropriate gowns and have a glass of champagne. This is really something to celebrate,” said Kathryn who has high hopes for the film. “It has all the elements the show had (fantasy, horror, romance and comedy), but it’s their playground with their own spin on things.”

Kathryn Leigh Scott and Diane Clehane
Kathryn Leigh Scott and Diane Clehane

The timing of the film couldn’t be better for Kathryn’s new book, Dark Shadows Return to Collinwood which has just come out to rave reviews. Designed by Cheryl Carrington, the book contains hundreds of rare photos from the show, as well as stunning images from the new film.

Kathryn told me she is “so grateful to Warner Brothers and to Tim Burton and Johnny Depp” for their “huge trust in me.”  The movie studio released the images from the film to her before they’d finished their own trailer or movie poster and did not ask for approval over their usage. The photos of Depp in full Barnabas regalia standing alongside the original cast members is really something to see, and Kathryn’s behind the scenes account of the experience of being in Burton’s film make the book a must-have for fans both old and new.

Over 200 fans turned out last night at Barnes & Noble on 86th Street to meet Kathryn, get their books signed, and talk about the show and the upcoming film.  They also got a surprise gift of posters from the new movie provided by Warner Brothers. “It was wonderful because it was a real mix of people,” she told me. “There were young fans who were excited to learn more about the show, and there were some of the longtime fans who were children when they stood outside the stage door of the show here in New York in the 60s. The legacy of Dark Shadows lives on!”

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1.  PR powerhouse Paul Wilmot, presiding over a table of hipsters we didn’t recognize

2.  Peter Brown

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong with Colin Firth lookalike George Farias

4. Lida Burpee and William Lauder who got up and went over to greet Donald Trump when he arrived

5. CNBC’s  Joe Kernen with Donald Trump, Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross and Richard LeFrak. Before Joe was joined by the masters of the universe, I stopped by his table for a chat. The proud papa told me that earlier this week he and his daughter, Blake Kernen, appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s show earlier this week. It seems the sixth grader who has already written a bestseller, Your Teacher Said What? (coauthored by her dad) and spoken at Harvard’s business school has a new venture. Her new website reports on — you guessed it — “Wall Street for today’s teen.” Clever Blake blogs on everything from inflation to the animal rights advocates who recently got their feathers ruffled over poultry farmers dyeing live chicks for the Easter holiday. Greta wrote about Blake on her own blog after the appearance, marveling “She is going to take over the world.” I second that emotion.

Michael's restaurant
The scene in the Michael’s dining room

6.  The Imber Gang: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield and Michael Kramer

7. Diet diva Nikki Haskell and some well-dressed pals

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and Ron Mwangaguhunga

9.  Rachel Roy and Desiree Rogers. We couldn’t help but notice the eye-catching accessories these stylish power gals were sporting. Rachel was rocking a serious pair of gladiator platforms and an interesting ring that was connected to a bracelet with a delicate gold chain. Desiree was wearing flip flops. Perhaps the former White House social secretary-turned-publishing executive was hoping to squeeze in a pedicure on the way back to the office.

10. Hearst’s editorial director, Ellen Levine, and legendary consumer advocate Joan Hamburg

11. Radical Media’s Bobby Friedman at his regular table

12. SESAC’s CEO Stephen Swid

14. Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew

15. First seating: Abernathy & MacGregor’s Jim Abernathy; act Two:  Dr. Ian Smithof VH-1’s Celebrity Fit Club

16.  Mickey Ateyeh and some serious ‘suits’

81. 2 Degrees Ventures’ Mitch Kanner

17.  Judy Price and a dark haired gal pal

18.  Attorney Robert Barnett

20. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at this table: Star Jones and Wendy Williams

Star Jones and Wendy Williams
Star Jones and Wendy Williams

21.  Euan Rellie and a chic blonde we didn’t recognize

23. The sartorially splendid duo of Patrick Murphy and Tony Hoyt

24.  AllianceBernstein’s Liz Smith (not the gossip great)

25.  Attorney Michael Kassan

26.  Kathryn Leigh Scott and yours truly

82. Hearst PR princess Deb Shriver

27. Fern Mallis and Elyse Kroll (Nice to meet you!) I went over to offer my congratulations to Fern on being this year’s recipient of the 2012 Pratt Institute Fashion Industry Lifetime Achievement Award. The prestigious honor will be presented to her by none other than Calvin Klein on April 26 at a fashion show and dinner held at Center548. Bravo!

28. Aryeh Bourkoff

29.  Jim Smith

Faces in the crowd: Spinmeister Matthew Hiltzik in the dining room. We forgot to ask Matthew where Alec Baldwin and his fiance, 28-year-old yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas are registered. In case you didn’t know, it was Matthew who announced earlier this week that his famously divorced (from Kim Basinger) client was tying the knot …. The Wall Street Journal‘s David Sanford and Lewis Stein in the Garden Room.

We’re on staycation for spring break next week. See you on the 18th!

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