— DIANE CLEHANE
The planets aligned in a strange way today at 55th & Fifth drawing a cross section of folks who found fame — and considerable fortune — during the O.J. Simpson trial. It’s a strange coincidence that this happens to be the very same week that Fred Goldman was awarded the rights to sell the disgraced gridiron great’s much reviled book If I Did It to satisfy the judgment leveled against Simpson in the wrongful death suit brought by the Goldman and Brown families. Nancy Grace and Star Jones, who both bolted the court room in favor of cushier TV gigs after the verdict, exchanged air kisses and good wishes over their respective new projects. Both controversial talking heads have come a long way since their days as power-suited guest commentators. Star is eagerly awaiting the debut of her upcoming show on Tru TV; Nancy’s on the case at Headline News and dealing with impending motherhood — she’s due to give birth to twins in January.
I met O.J. aficionado Jeffrey Toobin at the bar while he waited for Harper Collins’ David Hirshey (the original publishers of If) to arrive, and he was nice enough to chat with me about Goldman’s decision to foist the book on the already outraged public. Having written his own best-selling tome, The Run of His Life: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, Jeffrey told me reaction to the book will most likely be a “disgusted sigh.” But, the CNN commentator says there’s one person who will be eager to read the finished product, which reportedly will have annotated comments from the Goldman family: Simpson himself. “O.J. is the ultimate O.J. Simpson junkie and reads everything that’s written about him.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Leonard Lauder — looking dapper in seersucker — and a handsome young buck. Interestingly enough, the Mrs. was having her own power lunch at a nearby table …
2. Francine Lefrak
3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong (on his way to Martha’s Vineyard — have fun!) who introduced me to charming New York-based ‘Texas tycoon’ George Farias. Glad to make your acquaintance.
4. John Huey and two unidentified guests.
5. Gil Schwartz.
6. Peter Price.
7. Charlie Schuler.
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia with Steve and Maryann Harrison.
9. Peggy Siegal.
11. Self editrix Lucy Danziger and Evelyn Lauder.
12. Allure’s Linda Wells.
14. Hallmark TV honcho Henry Schleiff and Stanley Schuman.
15. Harper Collins’ David Hirshey and Jeffrey Toobin, whose new book, The Nine Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, is due out in September.
16. Jack Myers.
17. MPA’s Nina Link.
18. David Friend.
20. Gerry Byrne.
21. Uber agent Ed Victor, who gets our vote for one of the summer’s biggest winners. He agented Tina Brown‘s No. 1 best seller The Diana Chronicles and just sealed a reported $7.3 million advance for Rolling Stone legend Keith Richards‘ memoir to Little, Brown. Ed (who wouldn’t confirm the exact amount of the huge payday), told me the deal is for English language rights only and he’s eager to go to Frankfurt to shop the international editions where he’s sure there will be plenty of interest. “It’s more than just an autobiography. It’s the story of one of the most legendary figures of the 20th century.” Ed also says it will be chock full of juicy details. Are you listening, Mick?
22. Robb Report group publisher David Arnold.
23. Peter Miscovich.
24. Martin Puris.
25. Star Jones with Amy Schulman, who recently left CNN Headline News’ Showbiz Tonight to work with Star.
26. Alexandra Trower.
28. Sarahbeth Schrager,
29. Robert Verdi.
In the Garden Room: CNN Headline News honcho Ken Jautz and producer Dean Sicoli\ (with Nancy Grace) and New York Times scribe Michael Barbaro.
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch AT mediabistro DOT com.