The heavy hitters — studio, network exex and agents — arriving at the Beverly Hills Grill this week for lunch-dinner are in for a pleasant surprise.
The formerly non-descript alley between the eatery’s entrance and Vuitton on Dayton Way is now identified. It’s “Fred Hayman Place.” The sign’s dedication was proclaimed — and erected — at The City of Beverly Hills’ glamorous, black tie-d banquet-birthday party honoring Hayman on “his more than 50 years of generosity and service to our City of Beverly Hills.”
The outdoor celebration was held on Dayton Way Sunday night. The event was pure Hayman class — from the arrival area where the Grill presented a buffet of seafood — continuing on to the (seated) dinner launched with Hayman’s signature baked golden potato topped with Osetra caviar and creme fraiche, to the Wolfgang Puck duo entree of steak and shortribs to Spago’s Sherry Yard dessert of Amadei chocolate and rasberries. (Wolfgang and fiancee Gelila Assefa, on hand, plan a July 4 wedding in Capri with BevHills party-reception to follow in September). The Peninsula hotel’s staff was augmented to serve the 250 guests. The Hotel’s Ali Kasikci, Vicki Reynolds and Katy Sweet chaired the event.
The party’s waiters sported the signature yellow Giorgio’s sweatshirt, saved from the closing party of Hayman’s historic Rodeo Drive store (and customer-friendly bar) emblazoned with: “Farewell My Friends, June 30, 1998.” He had bought the property, renamed it it Fred Hayman’s when he sold the title “Giorgio’s” and fragrance to Avon in ’87. He now leases his valuable Rodeo Drive property to Vuitton.
His is a success story from the immigrant kitchen worker at New York’s Waldorf — to the Ambassador Hotel to the BeverlyHilton. Hayman received a proclamation from BevHills’ Mayor Jimmy Delshad (who Hayman swore into office) declaring it “Fred Hayman Week.” He was presented with a bronze sculpture, “Angel In Flight” by Robert Graham, whose 14-foot “Torso” greets Rodeo Drivers at Dayton Way.
George Schlatter m.c’d a program including performances by the Los Angeles Gospel Choir, Hal David, Merv Griffin — who, with Freddie Martin’s orch, preceded Hayman at the Cocoanut Grove, and followed him when he bought the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Insight into Hayman, the father and family man, was eloquently revealed by sons Robert and Charles. Wife Betty and daughter Nicole were given bows.
The piece de resistance was Placido Domingo who rose from the audience singing “Happy Birthday” to Fred as he made his way to the stage (and the birthday cake). Hayman, 82 is a longtime supporter of the L.A. Opera, which is among his many other civic contributions. He founded the Rodeo Drive Committee and put the street on the map with the world’s other fashion avenues. He was Fashion Coordinator for the Oscars for 11 years and Gil Cates said, “Fred Hayman single-handedly put glamor back into the Oscars.”