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The Clintons Host A Historic Fete
A Repast forThe Future atThe White House

By Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 1, 2000; Page C01

It was a once-in-a lifetime invitation--greeting the new century at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Muhammad Ali, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson, Will Smith, Sid Caesar, Neil Simon all chose to be in Washington for this unique moment in history. So did Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Julie Harris, Bono, Itzhak Perlman, Maya Lin, Arthur Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Kathleen Battle, Edward Villella, Jessye Norman, Carl Lewis, Bill Russell and Sen. John Glenn.

"I think it's a wonderful evening," said Loren, who was clearly moved to be invited to what President Clinton called an "unforgettable celebration." Americans liberated her village during World War II, she recalled, and it meant so much to be here on this night. "I come here this evening--which is a very important evening--with great, great emotion."

"This is America here!" said Nicholson with his wicked grin. "Yeeahh!"

This was a dusk-to-dawn affair: The guests began arriving just after 5:30 p.m. and were scheduled to dance and eat breakfast until sunrise. The festivities began with a black-tie dinner for 360 guests in the White House, who were then bused to the Lincoln Memorial for the nationally televised New Year's Eve extravaganza produced by Quincy Jones and George Stevens Jr. After the midnight fireworks display, approximately 600 more people were invited back to the executive mansion for breakfast and dancing until dawn.

The much-hyped "American Creators" celebration was a private, exclusive evening, however. Reporters were allowed to speak briefly to dinner guests as they arrived, but barred from covering the rest of the events at the White House. No explanation was given, although the decision was made in the first lady's office.

"We're not opening the after-party," said Marsha Berry, press secretary for Hillary Clinton. "It's closed because it's closed."

Perhaps it had something to do with money. What started as a millennium celebration headed by Hillary Rodham Clinton evolved into an off-the-record fund-raiser, with corporate sponsors shelling out millions to mingle with the Clintons' celebrity guests.

"We raised over $16 million," said Democratic fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe, who lead the private sector drive to pay for the millennium production on the Mall and two days of public family activities at the Smithsonian Institution.

But the primary perk was dinner and dancing with the president and first lady in what could arguably be considered the most historic venue in the country. Will Smith strode in looking dapper and adorable, all at the same time. Elizabeth Taylor arrived last--almost two hours after the other guests--wearing velvet and (what else?) diamonds. Loren was her usual spectacular vision. Mary Tyler Moore flacked her new TV movie. John Williams gave Jessye Norman an enormous bear hug. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee made the cutest couple. Even World Bank President James Wolfensohn, who originally planned to spend the night at his home in Jackson Hole, Wyo., couldn't stay away. "There was this feeling you were going to miss something," said his wife, Elaine.

Everybody got into the act, with many guests bringing their children. In order to keep families together on this night, the White House invited 100 children of dinner guests to dine in a tent in the Rose Garden before joining their parents for the show at the Lincoln Memorial.

But the real show was the East Room and State Dining Room, which were transformed into a fantasy of white and silver, with white orchids and roses set atop silver velvet tablecloths. The president went into each room to toast his guests: "I cannot help but think how different America is, how different history is, and how much better because of those of you in this room and those you represent were able to imagine, to invent, to aspire."

Then an extravagant New Year's Eve dinner was served: Beluga caviar, lobster, foie gras, rack of lamb and polenta, and a special dessert of chocolate and champagne.

After dinner, it was time to bundle up and head outside for the Lincoln Memorial show. Guests were advised to bring their warmest coats, hats, sweaters and other cold-weather outerwear, and the White House designated the party black tie instead of white tie, which allowed female guests to wear evening pants with long underwear.

But girls will be girls: The women were adorned in the most elaborate gowns, many strapless and bare. There were many minks flung over jewel-clad wrists, although the unseasonably warm temperatures averted what could have been millennium freezing toes.

The guests were transported by bus and trolley to the Mall, where they were seated in open-air chairs in front of the memorial. Every guest received a goody bag with mufflers, hand-warmers and seat cushions bearing the official Millennium logo.

The real party--the dance fest after the gala--featured former Supreme Mary Wilson, who was expected to sing all the old songs to ring in the new century. "I'm very excited," she said, giggling. Given Clinton's love of music, it was undoubtedly a grand night of boogieing in presidential history.

Speaking of history . . . who better to sum up the Millennium than historian Arthur Schlesinger?

"I'm glad it's over," he said, stepping once again on the marble floors of the White House. No word on how he greeted the new year, but one suspects he was not dancing on the East Room tables.

But then, we may never know.

The guest list for last night's dinner:

President Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

Daniel Abraham, SlimFast Foods Co., and Ewa Abraham

David Al-Ameel, Atlan Group, and Martha Al-Ameel, Jefferson Dental Clinic

Edward Albee, playwright, and Jonathan Thomas, sculptor

Madeleine Albright, secretary of state, and Ricardo Dell'Orto, Barter Technologies Corp.

Muhammad Ali, boxer, and Yolanda Ali

Robert Altman, Zenimax Media Inc., and Lynda Carter, actress

Bruce Babbitt, secretary of the interior, and Harriet Babbitt, United States Agency for International Development

Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, senior adviser to the secretary of state, and Smith Bagley, Arca Foundation

Robert Barnett, Williams and Connolly, and Rita Braver, CBS News

Leonard and Lynne Barrack

Kathleen Battle, opera singer, and Dean Mitchell

Samuel Berger, assistant to the president for national security affairs, and Susan Berger

Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) and Lois Breaux

John Brophy, Lockheed Martin IMS, and Louise Brophy

Dave Brubeck, musician and composer, and Iola Brubeck

Sid Caesar, entertainer, and Florence Caesar

Benny Carter, composer and musician, and Hilma Carter, retired language educator

Vinton Cerf, MCI WorldCom, and Sigrid Cerf

Rashid Chaudary, Raani Corp., and Samia Chaudary

Vance Coffman, Lockheed Martin, and Arlene Coffman

Lodwrick Cook, Global Crossing, and Carole Cook

Andrew Cuomo, secretary of housing and urban development, and Kerry Kennedy Cuomo

William Daley, secretary of commerce

Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Linda Daschle, Baker, Donelson, Bearman and Caldwell

Robert De Niro, actor

Ruby Dee, actor and author, and Ossie Davis, actor and author

Thomas Demetrio, Corboy & Demetrio, and Eve Marie Reilly, Cook County state's attorney

Murli S. Deora, president, Bombay Congress, and Hema Deora, artist

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Deborah Dingell, General Motors Foundation

E. J. Dionne, The Washington Post, and Mary Boyle

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Jackie Clegg, Export-Import Bank

Rita Dove, University of Virginia, and Fred Viebahn

Ronald Dozoretz, ValueOptions, and Beth Dozoretz

Todd Eberle, Todd Eberle Photography, and Richard Pandiscio

Maria Echaveste, assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff, and Christopher Edley, Harvard Law School

Mark Ein, Venturehouse Group, and Marion Ein-Lewin, Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science

Sahir Erozan, Overseas Partners

A. Huda Farouki, Financial Instrument and Investment Corp., and Samia Farouki

Renee Fleming, opera singer, and Rachelle Fleming

John Fogerty, musician, and Julie Fogerty

John Hope Franklin, Duke University

Mary Mel French, chief of protocol

Rep. Martin Frost (D-Tex.) and Kathryn Frost

John Gardner, AT&T, and Nancy J. Rawlings, International Monetary Fund

Murray Gell-Mann, physicist, and Talia Shire

Neil Gershenfeld, MIT Media Lab, and Laura Brewer

John Glenn, former senator (D-Ohio), and Annie Glenn

Daniel Glickman, secretary of agriculture, and Rhoda Glickman, deputy chief of staff of housing and urban development

Michael Graves, architect, and Lynn Min, Shibao International

Alan Greenspan, chairman, Federal Reserve Board, and Andrea Mitchell, NBC

Brian Greenspun, theGreenspun Co., and Myra Greenspun, travel consultant

Janice Griffin, Griffin and Associates .

Vinod Gupta, infoUSA Inc., and Laurel Gottesman, infoUSA Inc.

Carl T.C. Gutierrez, governor of Guam, and Geraldine Gutierrez

Julie Harris, actress, and Jennifer Crier Johnston, actress

Laurence Harris, Teligent Inc., and Susan B. Harris

John S. Hendricks, Discovery Communications, and Maureen Hendricks

Alexis Herman, secretary of labor, and Charles Franklin

Bono, singer, and Ali Hewson

Robert Isabell, Robert Isabell Inc., and James Reginato, W magazine

Jesse Jackson Sr., Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and Jacqueline Lavinia

Quincy Jones, Quincy Jones Media Group, and Lisette Derouaux

Vernon Jordan, Lazard Freres, and Ann Jordan

Robert Kahn, Corporation for National Research Initiatives, and Patrice Lyons

Said Karmi, George Washington University, and Mary Jane Karmi, actress

Walter Kaye, former civilian aide to the secretary of the army, and Selma Kaye

Ellsworth Kelly, artist, and Jack Shear, artist

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Victoria Reggie Kennedy

Kamran Khan, Raani Corp., and Hamida Khan, physician

Peter Kovler, Marjorie Kovler Fund, and Judy Kovler, psychotherapist

Raymond Kurzweil, Kurzweil Technologies, and Sonya Kurzweil, Playspace for Young Children and Parents

Robert Langlois, Motorola, and Julia Langlois, librarian

Patricia Lazak, financial assistant to Agnes Gund, and James Lazak, Pilgrim Psychiatric Center

Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Alicia Leahy

Jonathan Ledecky, Washington Capitals, and Marina McClelland, Marriott International

James Levin, JHL Enterprises, and Kristy Swanson

Carl Lewis, Olympian and actor, and Carol Lewis, television broadcaster

Ann Lewis, counselor to the president

Mike Sponder, special assistant to the director, Office ofNaval Research

Maya Lin, artist and architect, and Daniel Wolf, Warm Spirit Inc.

Mark Lindsay, director of WhiteHouse Management and Administration, and Carla Lindsay

Bruce Lindsey, deputy counsel to thepresident, and Cheryl Mills

Joseph Lockhart, White House presssecretary, and Mary Lockhart

Sophia Loren, actress, and Carlo Ponti, film producer

William Maloni, Fannie Mae,and Heidi Maloni

Robert and Barbara Maurer

Terence McAuliffe, American Heritage Homes, and Dorothy McAuliffe

Paul McCarthy, "America's Millennium," and Marsha Berry, deputy assistant to the president and director of communications for the first lady

Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, deputy assistant to the president and adviser to the first lady, and Christopher Lovell

Bobby and Debra McFerrin

Judith A. McHale, Discovery Communications, andMichael P. O'Halloran

Don and Patricia McLean

Arthur Mitchell, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Virginia Johnson, Dance Theatre of Harlem

Leslie Moonves, CBS Television, and Nancy Moonves

Mary Tyler Moore, international chairman, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation,and S. Robert Levine, ProgressivePolicy Institute

Jack Nicholson, actor, and Lara Flynn Boyle, actress

Beth Nolan, counselor to the president, and Dimitri Nionakis

Jessye Norman, soprano, and George Norman, Bell South

Dennis O'Connor, Smithsonian Institution, and Anne O'Connor

Edward James Olmos, actor, and Bodie James Olmos, filmmaker

Michael Oreskes, New York Times, and Jill Abramson, New York Times

Dean Ornish, Preventive Medicine Research Institute, and Molly Ornish

Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), and Denise Banks, deputy director for civil rights, Department of Agriculture

Itzhak Perlman, violinist, Toby Perlman, Perlman Music Program,and Ariella Perlman

Robert Pinsky, United States poet laureate, and Ellen Pinsky

John Podesta, chief of staff to the president, and Mary Podesta

Sunil Puri, First Rockford Group, and Jenine Cannell-Puri

Robert M. Rauschenberg, artist, Darryl Pottorf, artist

Bruce Reed, assistant to the president for domestic policy, and Bonnie Lepard

Janet Reno, attorney general of the United States

Steven Ricchetti, assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff, andAmy Blanchard

William Richardson, secretary of energy, and Barbara Richardson

Richard Riley, secretary of education, and Anne Riley

Dennis Rivera, 1199/SEIU Health and Human Service Employees Union, andMaria Alvarez, consultant

Maxwell Roach, percussionist and composer, and Connie Crothers, pianist

Sen. Charles Robb (D-Va.), and Lynda Robb, Reading Is Fundamental

Liz Robbins, Liz Robbins Associates

Wayne Rogers, Synergics Energy Development, and Valerie Rogers

Allen and Nicole Salmasi, NextWave TelecomMichael Saylor, MicroStrategy, and Phyllis Saylor

Arthur Schlesinger, historian, and Alexandra Schlesinger

Bernard Schwartz, Loral Space and Communications, and Irene Schwartz

Martin Scorsese, film director, and Helen Scorsese

Niranjan and Pratima Shah, Globetrotters Engineering

Walter Shorenstein, Shorenstein Cos., and Clotilde Alvarez

Robert Shrum, Shrum, Devine, Donilon, and Marylouise Oates, writer

Arnold Simon, Aris Industries, and Debra Simon

Neil Simon, playwright, and Elaine Simon

Rodney Slater, secretary of transportation, and Cassandra Slater

Will Smith, actor, and Jada Smith, actress

Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) and Sharon Smith

Jean Kennedy Smith, former ambassador to Ireland

Harold Snyder and Tamar Hirschl

Gene Sperling, assistant to the president for economic policy, and Susanne Weinrauch

Robert Stanton, National Park Service director, and Janet Stanton

David Steiner, Steiner Equities Group, and Sylvia Steiner

George Stevens Jr., "America's Millennium" producer, and Elizabeth Stevens

Michael Stevens, "America's Millennium" producer

Maria Tallchief, dancer

Elizabeth Taylor, actress, and Firooz Zahedi, photographer

Julie Taymor, theater and film director, and Elliot Goldenthal, composer

Howard Tullman, Tunes.com, and Judith Tullman

Melanne Verveer, assistant to the president and chief of staff to thefirst lady, and Philip Verveer, Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Edward and Linda Villella, Miami City Ballet

James Watson, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Elizabeth Watson

Mark Weiner, Financial Innovations, and Susan Weiner

Togo D. West Jr., secretary of veterans affairs, and Gail West, Armstrong Worldwide

John Williams, composer and conductor, and Michael Gorfaine

Mayor Anthony Williams and Diane Simmons Williams

August Wilson, playwright, and Constanza Romero

Mary Wilson, author and singer, and Linda Green, event planner

Joseph T. Wilson, National Council for theTraditional Arts, and Kathryn James, Oasis Program

James Wolfensohn, World Bank, and Elaine Wolfensohn

Avis Young, TommyHilfiger USA, and Leroy Young Jr., Garden State Lumber Products

Pinchas Zukerman, violinist and conductor, and Amanda Forsyth, cellist


Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company

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