George Christy Talks About Nowruz, Dr. Safvarti, Marilyn Monroe and more
Music and more music.
Dancing and more dancing.
A night of joy celebrating the Persian New Year (Nowruz) that arrives March 21, the day of the vernal equinox.
We were dining in the ballroom of the Peninsula Hotel, listening to the exotic melodies played by Sohrab, all the while singing while leading his band.
Joy filled the festive air, where the eminent Dr. Shahriar Daniel Safvarti of Urgent Care fame in Los Angeles and his wife Megan hosted the annual Iranian Medical Society Banquet.
We were seated with their attorney son Sina Simon and lovely daughter Nora, 14, who participated in the revelry. Daughter Niloofar remained in Miami, preparing for her graduation as a medic specializing in obgyn.
Dating back to 6th Century BC, the Persian New Year heralds the arrival of Spring, signifying that time is here for spring cleaning.
Special menus are prepared that children remember throughout their adult lives. Young and old never stopped dancing and all were pleased by the excellent dinner selected by catering manager Toby Lent and overseen by event manager Ani Bekmezian, a veteran of the Ivy restaurants.
We were delighted to observe Dr. Safvarti performing a Kurdish dance. His son Sina Simon informed that his dad is proud of his Kurdish heritage.
Megan and Dr. Safvarti are among the kindest and most generous people we know, bonded by the strength of family.
The thoughtfulness of the Safvarti’s never fails to impress, as we are often gifted with the most delicious pistachios flown in from their native Iran.
The Peninsula is under the aegis of Offer Nissenbaum, a perfectionist hotelier, who has renovated the beautiful dining room.
Time and again, we look forward to arriving in the courtyard of the Peninsula. Where we are greeted by Steve O’Mahoney, the Commander-in-Chief of Parking. Not only is he a handsome rascal, he’s gracious and dependably helpful.
Steve joined the Peninsula in January 1992 after its opening in August 1991. A veteran now of 26 years. Talk about loyalty!
Personally, he’s partnered with Christina Gavin, who we’ve known from the long ago. Christina lately lost her distinguished dad, John Gavin, who served as our Ambassador to Mexico. John also enjoyed a successful film career.
Wed to the alluring Constance Towers, an actress of elegant renown, John and Constance became an iconic couple at major charity events. We were surprised to learn that Constance hails from Whitefish, Montana.
About the Dynasties series on CNN, which premiered last Sunday, promising forthcoming episodes of famous dynasties, the first episode focused on the Kennedys.
We discovered that Jacqueline Kennedy hated her wedding gown, chosen by her father-in-law, Papa Joe Kennedy. Admittedly, she was not prepared for the women coming and going into her presidential husband’s life.
To celebrate JFK’s 45th birthday, Marilyn Monroe offered to sing Happy Birthday during his extraordinary party at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1962.
Marilyn’s poured-on sparkling gown, created by the Oscar-winning designer Jean Louis, became an overnight sensation.
A longtime friend, Jean Louis, during an evening at his home, described his behind-the-scenes story about Marilyn Monroe.
“Marilyn came to me and explained that she wanted the fitting to be done on her naked body, I was shocked. Of course, I refused. But she badgered me. I didn’t know what to do, as she laughed and laughed. Saying ‘you have dressed dozens of female stars and know their bodies, is anything wrong with mine?’ Embarrassed, I apologized. She kept saying please, please, please. Finally I mumbled, ‘let me ask my wife.’
“Maggy was amazing. She approved instantly, saying this would be the greatest publicity a designer would ever receive. A ‘must-do.’
“I returned to Marilyn and agreed that we would proceed immediately.
“Over a nude veil of netting which I draped over her extraordinary form, I told her we would sew thousands of rhinestone crystals by hand on the veil over her nude body. As you may imagine, this was not easy.
“Marilyn was thrilled, the crowds cheered, and she sent me a special gift.”
The gown’s historic. Marilyn’s bill from Western Costume is on the internet — she paid a total of $1,140.33.
Ultimately, Debbie Reynolds purchased it as part of an MGM collection of famous Hollywood memorabilia for $600,000 in 1970. Later, it fetched $4.8 million from Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, where it’s touring the country in celebration of Ripley’s 100th anniversary.