Ellen DeGeneres turns 52 today. Retired hockey star Wayne Gretzky is turning 49. Rocker Eddie Van Halen is 55. Orlando Magic guard Vince Carter is 33. Actor David Strathairn turns 61. R&B singer Anita Baker is turning 52. Singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams is 57. Model Frankie Rayder is turning 36. Actress Sara Rue (Less Than Perfect) is turning 31. Mega NYC real estate broker Serena Boardman is turning 40. Top literary agent Suzanne Gluck is 50. And perma-tanned socialite Denise Rich celebrates her 66th birthday today.
New York turned out to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the historic Apollo Theater on Monday night. Prince, Mariah Carey, Steve Harvey, Bill Cosby, Fantasia Barrino, and Chanj all took turns on the stage; Jamie Foxx introduced Quincy Jones, who was inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame; and the crowd included Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor, New York First Lady Michelle Patterson, Patti LaBelle, Dick Parsons, Al Sharpton, Gayle King, Sherri Shepard, Phylicia Rashad, Clarissa and Edgar Bronfman Jr., Ruby Dee, Ron Perelman and daughter Samantha Perelman, Sade Baderinwa, Devyn Simone, Kevin Liles, Jonelle Procope, Susan Magrino, Robin Roberts, Doug E. Fresh, Bryant and Hilary Gumbel, Bethenny Frankel, Denise Rich, and designer (and secret soul music fan) Roberto Cavalli. [PMc, Wireimage, VF]
Karole Armitage's Armitage Gone! dance company held its annual benefit last night at Capitale. The honorees at the Think Punk! event, Jeff Koons and Earle Mack, celebrated with their wives, Justine and Carole, as well as with attendees like Rufus Wainwright (left), Andre Balazs, Calvin Klein, Fabiola Beracasa, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, Nicole Miller, Lauren duPont, Allison Sarofim, Peter Marino, Mary Boone, David Salle, Michael Musto, Dominique Levy, Sandy Brant, Tom Sachs, Todd Eberle, Francesco Clemente, Michele Zalopany, and Jamie Niven. [PMc, VF, WWD]
Denise Rich turns 65 today, so if you see the socialite on line to apply for social security benefits, now you know why. Others celebrating: Ellen DeGeneres is 51. Socialite and real estate broker Serena Boardman is turning 39. Nets guard Vince Carter is 32. Eddie Van Halen is turning 54. Model Frankie Rayder is 35. Actress Sara Rue is turning 30. William Morris agent Suzanne Gluck turns 49. Rabbi Marc Schneier is 50. And retired Rangers star Wayne Gretzky is turning 48 today.
Lucky hosted its fifth annual "Lucky Shops" last night inside the Metropolitan Pavilion. Lucky editor Kim France and publisher Gina Sanders welcomed Leighton Meester, Jessica Szohr, Georgina Chapman, Katrina Bowden, Alexandra Richards, Charlotte Ronson, Thalia, Beverly Johnson, Ginny Barber, and Michaela McManus, who all did a little shopping to benefit the Robin Hood Foundation. [The Daily, PMc, Wireimage]
Is the financial crisis affecting the very rich? Yes and no. Plenty of people turned up at Denise Rich's triplex penthouse on Wednesday night for a benefit, a pre-cursor to Rich's big annual charity event held every October. (Among those nibbling on tiny fried-oyster sandwiches: Clive Davis, Star Jones, Marty Richards, Howard Lutnick, and Joan Collins.) But Rich now has to count on money from abroad: "She spends all summer traveling around Europe and she brings in a lot of money from Russians and from Dubai," explained Rich's fundraising "specialist." [NYT]
- It's no fun living near Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Neighbors in the West Village say the two are "spoiled brats" since they have bodyguards posted outside their apartment on West 13th Street who make neighbors get off the stoop whenever the twins are arriving home, and the twins keep SUVs idling in front of the building for hours at a time. [P6]
- Ashley Dupre's reps, who have been negotiating deals on her behalf, say she's interested in "journalism and lounge singing," and that she "sees herself as a kind of Dr. Phil." Appropriately, the $2 million TV offer she's considering would team her up with the producer to reunited Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher. [NYP]
Page Six today brings news of a faaabulous bash in St. Tropez on the yacht of Denise Rich, the Clinton pal and wife of disgraced financier Marc Rich. And to help her bring out the real stars to her party, Denise has teamed up with Erik Wachtmeister, who runs A Small World, the much-hyped "Myspace for Millionaires" social networking site for the rich. How symbolic! Two years ago, fading mogul Harvey Weinstein invested in ASW, which got a bunch of press casting both of them as the vanguard of the Next Big Thing. Now, they're more like a coalition of the washed-up.
- Caribbean fisherman fracas blocks harbors, possibly endangers movie semi-mogul Harvey Weinstein's honeymoon; the big man and his wifey have rented Denise Rich's yacht for half a million bucks for two weeks, regarding which we wonder: Why is benefit-addict Denise Rich always renting everything out? Her Southampton house, her boat... doesn't she just ever loan anyone anything? [Page Six]
Once upon a time, famous benefit-thrower Denise Rich held court at Swan's Way in Southampton. She bought the 11-bedroom two-building compound in 1999, and in 2004, rented it out for a short season to Anna Anisimova for $550K. (The poor "Russian socialite" later planned to flee New York for California, and we haven't hardly heard from her since—except this spring, when she accidentally flashed her business on a red carpet.) Swan's Way was to go on the market that year for $23 million—it went for a bit north of $20 million, to real estate baron and Woolworth building owner Steven Witkoff. (He keeps a very low profile and never flashes his ladyparts on the carpet.) And now the circle is completed. Denise Rich, says Page Six today, has returned to Southampton—as a renter. At a cost of $350,000 for a month.
• More on rapper 50 Cent's forthcoming imprint: the books won't top 150 pages, making them G-Unit friendly. We also learn that 50's quite the bookworm, leaving his gangsta cred in peril. [Page Six]
• A pillow fight leads to table-throwing at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas, causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage to Paris Hilton and Stavros Niarchos's room. Good thing her family owns the place — but how long until her parents call for her public execution? [Scoop]
• Kabbalah-giddy Madonna feels a kinship with Scientologist Tom Cruise, as they're both "persecuted" for the bizarre faiths. That's not true: we've no problem with their religious beliefs. We persecute solely in response to retarded behavior. [R&M]
• Actress Sharon Stone stands up uber-wealthy Denise Rich at a fundraiser; Rich pens an angry song in response. [Page Six]
• Apprentice contender Bethenny Frankel refuses to remove her feet from a VIP bench so another guest can sit down. In her defense, the other guest wasn't even attractive. [Lowdown (2nd item)]