Melania Trump, Charles Grodin and Princess Di’s Wedding Designer


The oppressive heat didn’t keep the faithful away from Michael’s today. The joint was jumping with media mavens of every stripe, including one editor who is clearly having a moment (David Zinczenko), high-profile publishers (Connie Ann Phillips, Donna Lagani) and, of course, a boldfaced name (Melania Trump) thrown in the mix.

It seemed as if all anyone wanted to talk about on (and off) the record was the imploding scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch. Said one source close to the action, “This could be bigger than anyone yet knows. Just wait if this thing hits New York. That would be major.” Uber agent and Londoner Ed Victor weighed in with this: “I made a $100 bet with Alfred Taubman that by this time next year [Murdoch] won’t be CEO.” And why? The corporation has no choice but to “throw him under the bus,” he said, adding that the televised hearings that have everyone riveted are “a complete wash.” Stay tuned.

I was joined today by Morgan Stanley’s Patrick Murphy and his sister, author and documentarian Mary Murphy. While I’ve had my share of Michael’s chats with Patrick, who spent four years with the Bloomberg administration and was one of the folks responsible for bringing Fashion Week to Lincoln Center, we’d never had our own lunch. These days, he’s hard at work at Morgan Stanley’s Reiser Group where he manages the finances of families, foundations and pension funds. “It’s so rewarding,” he tells me. “So many people are in need of good financial advice.” Indeed.

I was also glad I got the chance to finally sit down with Mary, having been so impressed by the success of her multimedia project, Hey, Boo: Harper  Lee & To Kill A Mockingbird. The paperback version of the book is out this week, and the DVD, which features interviews with a host of A-listers including Tom Brokaw and Oprah Winfrey reading their favorite passages and reflecting on the novel’s legendary influence, is out and available on Netflix and iTunes today. Mary also just learned that PBS’ American Masters just bought the television rights. “That’s pretty much the biggest thing that can happen to you as a documentarian. I’m thrilled.”

She and I learned we were both inspired to become writers because of our love of the children’s classic, Harriet the Spy written in 1964 by Louise Fitzhugh. “When I think about it, there were definitely some similarities between Harriet and [Mockingbird heroine] Scout,” says Mary. The moral of the story: Parents, turn off the television and read to your children.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Producer Freddie Gershorn

2. Ed Victor and author Will Schwalbe, former Hyperion VP turned author whose new book, SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How To Do It Better, has people talking — and texting.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, O Magazine’s Sara Nelson and two other gals we didn’t get to meet.

4. Stephen Swid

5. Allen & Company’s Stan Shuman

6. Most of ‘The Imber Gang:’ Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina and Andy Bergman

7. Patrick Murphy, Mary Murphy and yours truly

8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and Ambassador John Loeb

9. Viacom’s Michael Fricklas

10. Cindi Berger (in leopard!) with Queency Mateo. How’s this for a power lunch: Cindi, one of this year’s Matrix Award winners, was lunching with Queency who’d won a chance to dine and dish with this year’s recipients in an auction sponsored by New York Women in Communications. Well, it turns out Queency has an interesting story all her own. Strapped for cash at the time, she went on the game show Make Me a Millionaire sponsored by the California State Lottery in 2009 and won $1.4 million — on her birthday. She used her winnings to start her own company, Fearless Innovations, whose mission is to empower underprivileged women to achieve their goals. You go, girl.

11. Every step-grandmother should look this good: Melania Trump (all in white) with Patricia Duff

12. Producer Joan Gelman with sons Josh Gelman and Gregg Gelman

14. Charles Grodin (who, I’m guessing, was seriously rethinking his wardrobe choice of heavy black jacket and cap) with casting director Bonnie Timmerman

15. Long time, no see: Patriarch Partners’ Randy Jones

16. United Stations Radio Network Nick Verbitsky

81. Rodale’s champion multi-tasker David Zinczenko with Men’s Health‘s new publisher Ronan Gardiner.  Now that Dave has turned Men’s Health into a mega brand, the powers that be have added the title of editorial director of Prevention and Organic Gardening to his resume. (He’s already doing the job for Women’s Health). No doubt Dave, who also manages to moonlight as a best-selling author and restauranteur,  is more than up to the job. Congrats!

17. Judy Price

18. Discovery’s Henry Schleiff, looking dapper as always

20. Accessory maven Mickey Ateyeh

21. Quest’s Chris Meigher

23. Producer Chuck Pfeifer

24. Ad man extraordinaire Martin Puris

25. Willkie, Farr & Gallagher’s Richard Descherer

26. PR maven Maury Rogoff with Fidelis Global founder Gerry Byrne

27. InStyle‘s Connie Anne Phillips

28. Cosmo’s  Donna Lagani

29. Peter Price

Faces in the crowd: David Emanuel, who, with ex-wife Elizabeth, designed the over the top gown with the 25 foot train worn by Princess Diana on her wedding day, with staffers from CBS News 48 Hours… Photographer Patrick McMullan (two weeks in a row!) arriving for a late lunch… Designer David Biscaye, who had a quick lunch at the bar and slipped out before I could say ‘hello.’ See you next time!…. A new face at the bar: welcome to Jesse Suchoff, who just started pouring the libations at lunchtime. Good luck!

Please send comments and corrections to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.