Liz, 1,000 Other Personalities Rub Elbows at Forbes Bash
FAR HILLS, N.J. (AP) _ Publisher Malcolm Forbes converted his 75-acre estate into a storybook Scottish village, with bagpipers and simulated mist and moonlight, setting the mood for Thursday’s 70th birthday bash for Forbes magazine.
Organizers promised the party would send even ″Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous″ host Robin Leach groping for superlatives.
The all-star guest list of 1,000 people was topped by Elizabeth Taylor, White House Chief of Staff Howard H. Baker and Henry Kissinger.
Two 180-foot-long tents were pitched on Forbes’ northern New Jersey estate, where the guests included Penthouse Publisher Bob Guccione, new CIA chief William Webster, former Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., and television talk-show host Regis Philbin.
Guests began arriving by helicopter and limousine at 6:30 p.m., then nibbled hors d’oeuvres of cold pheasant while a kilt-clad army of 130 bagpipers and drummers marched down a hill and into a tent. Their medley of Scottish tunes concluded with Forbes’ favorite, ″Amazing Grace.″
Two reception lines formed. In one stood Forbes, wearing a kilt, and Miss Taylor, wearing a white linen dress over a black bodice, along with Baker and Forbes’ eldest son, Malcolm Jr. In the other were Forbes’ other sons - Robert, Christopher and Timothy - and James J. Dunn, vice president and publisher of the magazine.
Real estate magnate Donald Trump arrived in a black helicopter emblazoned with his name. Also in attendance were television’s Barbara Walters and Tom Brokaw.
Model Jerry Hall arrived without her companion, rock star Mick Jagger, who she said had a recording obligation.
The guest list also included Playboy President Christie Hefner, corporate raider Carl Icahn, advice columnist Ann Landers and U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese.
Dinner began after the bagpipers beckoned the guests across a drawbridge and under a covered walkway twinkling with electric stars to a second tent.
The tent was designed to look like the interior of a Scottish castle courtyard, with the entrance guarded by two armored knights standing beneath a magnificent flower arrangement and the Forbes family crest.
The guests, assigned carefully chosen places at one of the 106 tables, dined on baked Scottish salmon, potatoes and baby vegetables. Gov. Thomas H. Kean and the state’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Bill Bradley, delivered speeches.
Fireworks and a light show followed, with dancing past 1 a.m. to complete the evening.
It took hundreds of workers eight weeks to install the party’s infrastructure , including 48,156 square-feet of carpeting, 8,240 square-feet of curved-topped canopies and a 1,782-foot dance floor.
″Mr. Forbes is just like a little boy, and he loves to have fun and he wants his guests to have fun,″ Ruth Schwartz, whose public relations firm coordinated the event, said Thursday afternoon. ″As we planned this, he wanted his dance floor to be big, big, bigger.″
Nobody would disclose how much the party is costing, although some have guessed privately it would go into the six digits.
But if anyone could afford the 400 chauffeurs, 302 waiters, 35 chefs and 8,000 pounds of spruce and pine garland, it’s Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, whose estimated worth runs from $400 million to $600 million.
Forbes, who took over Forbes magazine in 1954 after the death of his father, B.C. Forbes, is famous for his fast-paced lifestyle and exuberant parties, including a 16-hour Statue of Liberty celebration last summer aboard his 151-foot yacht.
He has survived balloon and motorcycle crashes, and has amassed enough wealth to put himself on his eagerly awaited, annual list of America’s 400 richest people. His business magazine has a circulation of 720,000 and sells $100 million a year in advertising.
The high point of Thursday night’s celebration was the pyrotechnics display by Grucci, the renowned fireworks exhibitor from New York, that featured not only bombs bursting in air, but also a laser and search light extravaganza, choreographed to works by Beethoven, Wagner, Gershwin, and Sousa.
″I can’t tell you how much it costs, but I can tell you that Mr. Forbes is a man of unlimited dimensions, and that’s how we look at this party - a party of unlimited dimensions,″ Ms. Schwartz said.