Brooke Astor Traumatized Henry Kissinger


Eighty-six-year-old Henry Kissinger once again proved power—even old, Gold Bond-with-a-hint-of war crime-scented power—is an aphrodisiac when he testified at this morning's Astor trial. According to City Room, "everyone from the judge to the court officers seemed enamored" with the former secretary of State, who they themselves refer to as "charmingly short and stout." And self-deprecating, even! While on the stand, Kissinger told his rapt audience a funny story about a faux pas he made while giving Mrs. Astor a toast at her 80th-birthday party.

“I ended it by saying, ‘We would all be proud of the fact that we were all invited to celebrate the 80th birthday with Brooke Astor,’” he said. “She shot up from the chair denying she was 80. Several of the other guests got up and commented that I obviously didn’t know what I was talking about.”

This wasn't because of the dementia, by the way. Astor was pissed because, apparently, she had told everyone she was still 29.

For several days, Dr. Kissinger said, Mrs. Astor did not speak to him or take his telephone calls. Eventually, knowing her love for China, he said, he sent her flowers and a note saying the Chinese take age to be a sign of respect. She eventually forgave him, he said.

“Can we call that a traumatic incident for you?” Kenneth E. Warner, one of Mr. Marshall’s lawyers, asked under cross-examination.

“It made quite an impression, yes,” Dr. Kissinger said.

And remember: This is a man who experienced both the Nazis and Vietnam. We're really starting to respect this broad.

Kissinger Recalls His Friendship With Astor [City Room/NYT]