He’s the invisible force behind the hotel’s booking logistics, which include pricing, contracts and meal planning. He tries to meet clients’ needs (and calm their nerves) by overseeing all the moving parts, but sometimes those parts don’t move easily. He and his staff of 75 host showbiz fundraisers as well as non-pro events including bar/bat mitzvahs, anniversary parties and more than 1,100 weddings.
(From the pages of the April 2 issue of Variety.)
“I had to get an elephant into a room for a bar mitzvah once,” Dreher recalls. “They unloaded an elephant on the Wilshire side (of the BevHilton) and brought it in ready for an entrance with the bar mitzvah boy, but the elephant was way too tall for our doors. We had to get the elephant down on his knees and put the boy on top.” Dreher and his team also imported a white circus horse that had to maneuver a dance floor and, for a holiday party, an ice skating rink, accompanied by professional ice skaters and reindeer ice sculptures.
He’s from Maryland and got his start at the BevHilton’s front desk, but after two years, he wanted to make the switch to handling the “big parties.” Dreher has worked with everyone from Lucille Ball to Barbra Streisand. He enthuses, “I’m an ordinary guy with an extraordinary job. Now that isn’t the first time somebody’s said that, but when I go to my family in Maryland, they’re all over me like a cheap suit wanting to know about the stars.”
He has his own DVD: “Table Manners and Table Etiquette,” released in 2007.
Name: Paul Dreher
Title: Assistant director of catering, Beverly Hilton
Function: To work on events, including countless showbiz fetes
Domain: Intl. Ballroom, Beverly Hills Ballroom
Years on the job: 36
Number of events worked: 5,000+
Showbiz events covered: 750+
Number of meals served: 3 million +
(Local Hero is a tribute to the people who are invisible but invaluable: They’re not in the spotlight, but the biz couldn’t function without them.)