The Night We Saw Jeffrey Epstein in Real LifeWith free-flowing top-shelf liquor, truffle-oily foods, megaluxe venues, and scores of A-to-D-listers poised to shun our goofy questions, most Peggy Siegal parties fill us with a heady mix of wonder and self-loathing. Last night’s private screening of the HBO film Bernard and Doris at the Time Warner Center was no exception. At an event that seemed especially saturated with befuddling celebrity sightings: Why is Mo Rocca following Bebe Neuwirth like a puppy dog? Why is Cindy Adams photo-opping with Rush Limbaugh? Catherine Crier is still around? We were rendered speechless by one boldfacer we saw shuffling into the screening room with a beautiful woman: Jeffrey Epstein!
That’s right, Jeffrey Epstein.
Jeffrey. Ep. Stein. Unshaven, smiling that feline-monkey grin, wearing a slightly tattered sweater and jeans, he reeked of money and massage oil. Well, we didn’t get close enough to say for sure, but we could imagine. We knew he and Peggy are friends, and “I’ve only ever seen him in jeans,” she told New York in December. But really? The week after another lawsuit was filed against him by a teenage girl, he showed up to a movie premiere? With a young woman? (She looked to be in her twenties, at least, by the way.) Words failed us. Hell, even our fingers failed us as we fumbled to text a colleague about this turn of events.
The film began, and it seemed to dovetail thematically with Epstein’s saga: all about eccentric billionaires Doris Duke and her bizarre relationship with the hired help. When the lights went back up, Epstein and his comely companion were gone. No photographs of them on any of the wire services. Was it all a dream? —Justin Ravitz
Related: The Fantasist [NYM]
When Peggy Met LizaPublicist Peggy Siegal was on Barbara Walter’s Sirius Radio show today — we know, right? Everyone has one of those things now — talking about how the best thing she ever did for her first client, Liza Minnelli, was, er introduce her to controlled substances.
I walk my way up and I get to the rope [saying] “Liza’s in the car, Liza’s in the car” and there was Steve Rubell who owned it who I went to Syracuse with he said go get her I take her to the velvet rope — opens up — he grabs her, he kisses her, he gives her God knows what in her pocket, they go off into the sunset and they forget to open the rope for me and that’s how Liza met Steve Rubell, that’s how all that trouble began with Studio 54 and that was probably the only good thing I did for her.
But one imagines that night at Studio 54 wasn’t just a turning point for Liza, but for Peggy Siegal. Picture her there, standing in front of the closed velvet rope, abandoned by her famous friends, left literally and metaphorically out in the cold as the beautiful people float by her. What was young Peggy saying to herself, do you think? That moment, ladies and gentlemen, is the kind of moment that makes a publicist.
Trendy Moms Leave the Kids at Home to Watch ‘Nanny Diaries’
Several of Manhattan’s chicest moms, including Nina Garcia and Cynthia Rowley, ditched their kids to catch a private screening of The Nanny Diaries. Peggy Siegel, the iron-thumbed PR doyenne who hosted the event, was on vacation in Italy. But even though it was after midnight over there, she still insisted upon babysitting her own kiddies, aides John and Andres. Their BlackBerrys lit up all night (“Is everything all right?” “How is the dinner?” “WHAT IS GOING ON?!”) as they tried to keep tabs on stars like Laura Linney and Alicia Keys. Meanwhile, Rowley was feeling pangs of guilt after the movie. “How can you feel good about watching it?” she asked Daily Intel. “I definitely felt like I should be at home eating peanut butter out of a jar and singing songs in French to my kids!” —Jocelyn Guest
Bonus Party Lines: What made Nina Garcia nearly “drop dead,” and other quotes from the Nanny Diaries screening.