I wish I had known Gary

09/19/2012 10:00 PM


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READING OBITUARIES IS CREEPY. It’s like browsing through a cemetery, looking at all the tombstones for familiar names, all the while knowing one day others will be reading them and see your name.

The bell tolls for us all as we scan obit articles and fear we will know the cast of characters.

I WISH I HAD KNOWN GARY HEYDORN. I saw a middle-aged man’s pleasant face in an obit in the daily papers recently, and found myself curious about him so I read his story. It told me that Gary Heydorn, 70, who retired from his own business, G & G Locotronics in 1999, married his best friend, Pat Jacobi, in 1963. Together they traveled the world, played golf, enjoyed fine wine and had many fun adventures with friends and family. (A happy man, I decided.) In just a few well chosen words, his mourning survivors hailed Gary’s love of life and his insistence on “smelling the roses.”

“GARY WAS A VERY SOCIAL PERSON,” the article continued, “he enjoyed listening to Johnny Cash, watching John Wayne movies and drinking Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.” (How down-to-earth and All-American he sounded. And the coffee — not some pricey Starbucks brew but good ole Dunkin’ Donuts blend.)

“GARY WAS AN INCREDIBLE INSPIRATION TO HIS THREE KIDS and seven grandchildren,” his obit trumpeted, but that isn’t what made me wish I had known him.

THE LAST LINE OF HIS OBIT READ, “Remember Gary by sharing a bottle of fine wine with someone you love.”

OBVIOUSLY HIS WIFE AND FAMILY were sensitive and caring enough to hope that others would find some companionship and love as they had with this warm and devoted husband and father and granddad. He had made their lives happier and more meaningful and they unselfishly wished the same for all who read about him. Perhaps I should write, “I wish I had known Gary and the fortunate people he inspired to follow his lead and find the time to value love and fine wine.”

Gossip, gossip, gossip

WHO IS THE DUMPED WIFE OF 19 YEARS who sends the love letters her husband wrote her before they wed, to his new wife? Each week she mails one of her treasured notes reminding her, “he loved me once and he can dump you, too.”

THAT WAS ACTOR TOM HANKS lunching at swank RL recently with columnist/author Bob Greene.

OUR CONDOLENCES to Rochelle Smith Trotter, wife of retired restaurateur Charlie Trotter, on the death of her brother, Darryl Smith.

SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jimmy Fallon, Bill Murray, Sophia Loren, B.B. King, Jada Pinkett Smith, James Gandolfini, Marc Anthony and Faith Hill.

DEAR KATE MIDDLETON: To avoid being photographed topless, just cover up! It works for the rest of us when paparazzi with telescopic lenses stalk us.

“WE WERE NEVER PROSTITUTES, WE WERE ESCORTS,” insist some nervous “socialites,” terrified they may be pictured in the book Gold Coast Madam by Rose Laws that will be published soon. Since we first wrote about the hot book detailing 30 years of sexy intrigue on the Near North Side, we have been receiving disclaimers from a few high-profile, wealthy women — giggling and acting like they really don’t care what Rose will reveal. Oh, yeah?

ROSE TOLD HER STORY to Diane Harris who penned the book, available in mid-November on Amazon for $17.95.

LOOKING GORGEOUS, movie star Ali Larter of Heroes, married to Hayes MacArthur, wowed the crowd at the Fashion Night Party at the 900 N. Michigan shops. Her mother-in-law, stunner songstress Shelley MacArthur Farley, was there to cheer Ali on.

A LOVE LETTER TO HER MOTHER WRITTEN WITH A POISONED PEN and filled with anger and pain is The Chocolate Money, the 284-page first novel by Abra Prentice Wilkin’s darling daughter Ashley Norton that is powerful and bitter. Surely the mother monster Babs is not patterned after Abra, the Rockefeller heiress we think we know, for she is cold, clueless, loveless, narcissistic, cruel. We prefer to think Abra told Ashley to write a blockbuster book about a truly horrible, beyond reality, mama. Ashley is the daughter of Abra and Jon Anderson, both accomplished writers, and is now living in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Devastating and poignant, this coming-of-age memoir boasts shocking revelations about teen sex and longing for love that a reader will not soon forget.

AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES is the list of super stars coming here for the Chicago International Film Festival Oct. 11 for the premiere of producer Tom Rosenberg’s movie Stand Up Guys directed by our Fisher Stevens. He won an Oscar for The Cove and Rosenberg won the Academy Award for the film Million Dollar Baby. There will be a red carpet at the Harris Theater and the feet of Alan Arkin, Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Julianna Margulies are expected. Michael Kutza, founder and artistic director of the festival, is excited about the bonanza of talent. And the flick sounds promising. It is about retired gangsters united with Pacino, out of prison, for one last major job. Lots of twists and turns.

CONGRATS TO MICHAEL FERRO JR., Sun-Times chairman, who will receive the Frederic Gibbs Award for Philanthropic Leadership at the Oct. 29 Brain Research Foundation benefit at the Four Seasons, chaired by Suzanne Kopp-Moskow and Michael Moskow, and Martha and John Mabie.

WERE THEY GOLDEN YEARS? Walter Jacobson, anchor, investigative reporter and political commentator, has penned his autobiography, Walter’s Perspective: A Memoir of Fifty Years in Chicago TV News ($24.95, SIU Press). The foreword is by longtime colleague Bill Kurtis who currently shares the 6 p.m. CBS-2 news desk with Walter. Says Robert Feder of Time Out Chicago: “Walter is as much a landmark as Wrigley Field or City Hall. With the same candor and courage he brought to his must-see nightly commentaries, he traces his own unlikely rise from enfante terrible to wise elder statesman. … It is a revealing, provocative memoir of a local news icon feared by politicians, respected by colleagues and beloved by viewers.” Married three (or is it four?) times, likable Walter has many stories to tell, but this book appears to be a more scholarly account of the inner workings of Chicago TV news, the rating games, media power and meddling by corporate and network executives. Jacobson is married to Susie (who loves dogs, horses and Walter).

MUSIC MAKERS EXTRAORDINAIRE, singers Marilyn Maye and Spider Saloff will be honored Oct. 14 at the 14th anniversary gala of the Chicago Cabaret Professionals at the Park West. The Mabel Mercer Foundation and the late Donald Smith will receive a special recognition award. Daryl Nitz is president of the board and major supporters include Joan Curto, Cheryl Szucsits, Alma Mendoza, Elizabeth Doyle, Jeff Dean, Carla Gordon, Myrna Petlicki, Anne Burnell, Scott Gryder, Laura Freeman, Beckie Menzie, Melissa Young, Suzanne Petri, Bob Moreen, Jonathan Abarbanel, Ann Hampton Callaway, Ron Cohn, Hilary Feldman, Gitta Jacobs, Jim Jensen, Tommy Hensel, Michael Kerker, Andrea Marcovicci, Karen Mason, Audrey Morris, Stanley Paul, Ken Price, Denise Tomasello, Denise McGowan Tracy, Carol Weston, Julie Wilson.

HOTTEST TICKET IS TO THE GLAM MAHARAJA BALL OCT. 13 hosted by the women’s board of the Field Museum to celebrate the opening of a new exhibit, “Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts,” at the museum. (Yes, there have been sightings of fashionistas on Devon Avenue seeking saris to dazzle and pay tribute to this rich, exotic land.) Special guest is His Highness Maharana Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, and this black tie holds the promise of being one of the most fabulous parties in recent memory. Field Museum galas are always cutting edge and world class. Ball co- chairs are Kathleen Carbonara and Susan Faurot. Mrs. Miles White is president of the board and some of its A-list members include: Trisha Rooney Alden, Marilynn Alsdorf, Mrs. T. Stanton Armour, Susan Baird, Mrs. James Bay, Mrs. Richard Black, Mrs. Bowen Blair, Mrs. P.D. Block III, Virginia Bobins, Mrs. Hammond Chaffetz, Mrs. Gary Comer, Mrs. Frank Considine.

FIELD MUSEUM MEMBERS EXCITED ABOUT THE BALL and exhibit include: Donna La Pietra, Mrs. William McKenna, Mrs. George McCutcheon II, Mrs. Newton Minow, Mrs. Joe Nathan, Mrs. Patrick Ryan, Peggy Snorf, Nancy Stevenson, Carole Wood, Mrs. Robert Zentner, Mrs. John Siragusa, Mrs. Richard Mayer, Susan McBride, Amanda Murphy, Mrs. Jerry Pearlman, Mrs. Don Reuben, Sharon Sweeney, Nancy Winter and Carole Wood. The gowns at this benefit should be spectacular. Call 312-565-7135 for more info.

FANS OF GIULIANA AND BILL RANCIC, and their TV show on the Style Network, are happy for them with the birth of their son, Edward Duke, by a surrogate. Their fertility issues and her breast cancer are now pushed aside by good news as they celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. And their restaurant, RPM, with the Melmans, is one of our town’s most popular.

GET A FASHION “FIX” every Wednesday at 9 a.m. on Fox when Barbara Glass, always one of our best dressed, tells what’s in, out and what escaped the fashion police’s intervention. Barbara, who at one point in her long career had her own salon on Oak Street, has been a fixture in our fashion world. Judging by what we see parading around on Michigan Avenue, tourists and natives alike need help!

MORE THAN 1,500 GUESTS ARE EXPECTED at the Gold Coast Fashion Award show Sept. 28 at the Hilton to benefit the Lurie Children’s Hospital. Tickets are $200 and co-chairs are Mary Hess and Beth Parsons.

A MEMORIAL SERVICE was held for well known dressmaker/designer Elizabeth Markiewicz who died after a long bout with cancer. Not only friends and clients mourned, but her little dog, Coco, is missing his mistress.

MARILYN KATZ, president of MK Communications, is still smarting after being misquoted in the New York Times in an article about Valerie Jarrett, presidential advisor. She says they took a statement cherry-picked from a different topic, and printed it. What Marilyn really said was, “Jarrett is a rare combination of charm, brilliance and toughness. She defends her principles, her turf and her friends. And I have never seen her lose.”

COOKING UP A TASTY BENEFIT Oct. 12 to help Meals on Wheels is a Celebrity Chef Ball at Venue One, 1044 W. Randolph St., supporting seniors and the homebound. For $350 you get a seat at one of the 28 chef’s tables, and there is an after-party with 60 chefs giving samples of their specialties. That treat is $150.

CHICAGO LOOP ALLIANCE gala is Oct. 12 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, with dinner and dancing led by hosts Bill Burfeind, Judie Green, Rich Gamble and Bill Noonan. Board prez is Martin Stern and their goal is to develop, support, promote artistic, cultural and public events that benefit the Loop.

WHO WERE THOSE ATTRACTIVE FEMMES celebrating realtor Maggie Dempsey’s birthday at Gibson’s? Psychologist Fran Johnson and philanthropist Elizabeth Steele Applebaum with Countess Mimi Fairview.

GET OUT YOUR TAPSHOES for the Oct. 29 Jubilee from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Longtime arts supporters Susan and Ted Oppenheimer will be honored.

TONI PRECKWINKLE, JOHN CARROLL AND THOMAS RICKETTS will be in the spotlight for applause Oct. 3 at the Four Seasons when the Apparel Industry Board and the 100 Club honor them for leadership. Lori Healey is dinner chair with Joe Ahern and Marsha Brenner. Cook Country Board president Preckwinkle, magazine publisher Carroll and Cub owner Ricketts rate as role models supreme. Hundreds are expected to attend and cheer them on.

WHAT’S MORE FUN THAN A DAY AT THE RACES with the horsey set? Sue and Tom Carey are hosting a brunch at their Hawthorne Race Course Oct. 7 with tea at 4 p.m. It is Royal Ascot attire for this invitation-only party.

HOT TICKET IS THE OCT. 17 LUNCHEON WITH ACTRESS BROOKE SHIELDS at the Hilton for the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation, chaired by Michelle Friedman, Andrea Gordon and Ashley Netzky. Fab purses will be sold and dozens of the most desirable have been found by a committee including Lili Ann Zisook, Terri Lind, Chloe Ifergan, Margie Korshak, Julie Barrish, Lindsey Gell, Nancy Golding, Ellen Jacobs, Charlene Lieber, Nancy Resnick and Ellen Sorin.


CONTACT: annbgerber@gmail.com or 847-677-2232

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