Billionaire David Koch Had a Wizard of Oz–Themed 70th Birthday

By
Photo: Patrick McMullan

Last night at the American Ballet Theater’s 70th anniversary spring gala at the Metropolitan Opera House, philanthropist David Koch revealed that he, too, recently celebrated his 70th birthday. "My wife put on a fantastic party for me in Palm Beach, with the theme being The Wizard of Oz, since I’m from Kansas,” the genial billionaire told us. "The invitation said 'Come to the Emerald City,' so the whole theme was Wizard of Oz, from Dorothy, yellow-brick road, Toto, and it was magnificent."

There were speeches from family and friends, followed by a giant birthday cake shaped like a Disney castle, and Koch presented his wife, Julia, with a pair of red slippers. ("They were Louboutins," she interjected.) “And then, after that, we had Lionel Richie perform," he said. "It was absolutely over-the-top." The bash was in the ballroom at the exclusive Everglades Club. “The weather was good, so we opened up the ceiling so we had nice fresh air coming in. It was a really special moment in my life.”

“It was probably the most joyful, fun event I’ve ever been to in my life. I was in tears most of the evening, I was so pleased with what she had done; there was so much emotion, so much love in the room. So that’s what I did for my 70th birthday,” he said. “If you’ve got to grow older, that’s the way to do it.”

Related: #19 David Koch [Forbes]