F. Scott Fitzgerald was right: The rich are different from us.
And from 1977 on, what set them apart even further was the likelihood of seeing their boldfaced names on Page Six.
You don’t have to be a celebrity to make The Page: Money will do. The more you have, and the more reckless you are about spending it, the better. Few columns have been as gleeful in chronicling the rise — and, as often as not, the fall — of the would-be Gatsbys of our world.
Here are some of the more memorable members of Page Six’s rich and shameless.
GLITTER AND BE GAY(FRYD)
What do you do when your husband turns 50? In August 1989, Gayfryd Steinberg — wife of Saul, billionaire chairman of the Reliance Group conglomerate — threw a $1 million party, hiring models, both clothed and nude, to enact living tableaux from his personal collection of Renaissance paintings.
No stranger to excess, Gayfryd made The Page frequently. As Page Six reported back in Feb. 18, 1987, she devoted her newlywed days to lavishly redecorating the couple’s 34-room Park Avenue triplex, replacing everything that had been installed by the previous Mrs. Steinberg.
By the mid-’90s, though, the couple had fallen on hard times, selling the triplex and auctioning off 61 masterworks. Saul died in 2012.
POOLS OF THE POSH AND INFAMOUS
Before Leona Helmsley died, leaving her Maltese poodle a $12 million trust fund — an event succinctly captured in The Post’s 2007 headline “Rich bitch” — she enjoyed the run of her husband Harry’s 27 hotels.
When she wasn’t “standing guard,” Page Six recounted, the Queen of Mean used to swim laps at the pool at the Park Lane on Central Park South.
There, servants stationed at either end awaited her with a tray of shrimp: For every length she swam, presumably, she rewarded herself with shellfish.
Indoor pools seem to define the rich as readily as their Rolexes.
As Page Six noted in that same June 29, 2003 item, art dealer Larry Gagosian had one in his East 69th Street carriage house, and adman Jerry Della Femina could swim in his East 62nd Street crib.
Not only that, The Page noted, but you could have one, too: A townhouse at 3 E. 93rd St., complete with ground-floor swimming pool, was on the market for $11.5 million (about $15 million in today’s money).
POSTER BOY FOR THE AGE OF GREED
The $6,000 shower curtain, $15,000 umbrella stand and $2 million birthday party for his wife, replete with toga-clad models and a vodka-whizzing ice sculpture: Few spent as lavishly as Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski before his 2005 conviction for ripping off his shareholders.
During his November 2003 trial, Page Six spotted him dining with his wife, Karen, at Nello’s, enjoying a white truffle risotto and a $2,000 bottle of Petrus ’99: classy til the end.
STRONGMAN WITH A WEAKNESS
Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega occasionally came to New York to warn the UN of the dangers of American capitalism — while shoehorning in a little personal shopping.
As Page Six reported on Oct. 24, 1985, Ortega and his entourage stopped in at Cohen’s Fashion Opticals at 60th and Lexington.
As Secret Service agents cordoned off the street, the Marxist leader selected six pairs of $200 glasses with “indestructible” lenses for himself, and a few pairs more for his wife and their daughter.
The bill came to $3,385, a figure subsequently rounded off when other publications picked up the story.
JUST CALL HER ‘CATWOMAN’
In a town of billionaire socialites, Jocelyn Wildenstein — aka “Catwoman” — is a breed apart:
The former Swiss miss, now 77, underwent $4 million in plastic surgery to look like the big cats beloved by her ex, art dealer Alec Wildenstein.
The cat fights between her and on-again, off-again designer boyfriend Lloyd Klein have kept Page Six scribes — and the courts — busy for years.
One spat involved his being clawed and slashed with scissors, leading to the Catwoman’s December 2016 arrest for assault.
A couple of years before that, she rented a Beverly Hills bungalow for $15,000 a month, only to be sued for $178,000 in back rent and damages.
Her own “cat condo” on the 51st floor of Trump World Tower went on the market in January for $12,950,000.
Back when he headed Saloman Brothers in the ’80s, John Gutfreund and his wife, Susan, battled often with their neighbors at the ritzy River House.
One of the most colorful rows, as Page Six reported it in December 1982, involved the 22-foot, 500-pound Douglas fir that was the centerpiece of the couple’s holiday party.
The tree, too big for the service elevator, was hoisted up the side of the building, a procedure that involved hauling it across the rooftop terrace of Joan and Robert Postel who, Page Six noted, weren’t on the Gutfreunds’ guest list.
So began a series of suits and countersuits.
The Page reported that after a process server left papers with the Gutfreunds’ maid, someone yelled, “I told you not to answer the door!”
Peace returned two Christmases later, Page Six acknowledged, when the Gutfreunds decamped from Sutton Place to Park Avenue.
The couple also had a place in Paris. En route one day in January 1988, Susan was spotted about to board the Concorde with her entourage: baby son, his nanny, a private secretary and a personal travel agent, who held their tickets. Air France gave her a private waiting room, Page Six reported, “so she wouldn’t have to mix with the hoi polloi that usually rides the Concorde.”
By 1991, Gutfreund was swept up in a major financial scandal and forced to resign. He passed away in 2016.
May 1988 saw the battle of the international playboys — and Steve Dunleavy, Page Six’s editor at the time, was sitting ringside, chronicling every blow.
The opponents were Italy’s Count Roffredo Gaetani Lovatelli and Greece’s Taki Theodoracopoulus, transatlantic gossip columnist.
For charity’s sake, the two friends laced up their Everlast gloves for a bout at the East Side’s St. Agnes High School.
Among those cheering them on were Claus von Bulow and his “beautiful mistress,” Andrea Reynolds, Frank Shields (father of Brooke) and what Dunleavy described as several socialites who, having never attended a boxing match before, “clapped their hands to the jangle and jingle of Tiffany bracelets.”
After three rounds — and a solid right shot to his opponent’s ear — Lovatelli was announced the winner.
Gracefully, Ivana Trump’s future boyfriend declared the match a draw.
Afterward, the pugilists and their posses headed for Mortimer’s to toast themselves with Champagne, Dunleavy wrote, “like the gentlemen they are.”
WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS
“In the old days, if you came from a wealthy family, you were written about when you were born, when you married and when you died,” Richard Johnson says. “Paris went off in a different direction.”
Chris Wilson first met her on the roof at a Playboy party in 2000, the same year he began reporting for Page Six. In Hilton’s blond, moneyed 19-year-old self, he saw a wild young emblem of the new downtown scene: “a 21st century Edie Sedgwick.” The early aughts were a time of low-rise jeans, Razr phones and $500-a-bottle table service — and Paris was there, dancing on the table and, often as not, flashing her wares.
“She was the first not to wear underwear,” says Paula Froelich, who, while at Page Six from 1999 to 2009, saw a lot of her. “She was the first to exploit the new internet/media ecosystem — creating massive fame from no talent.” Along the way, Hilton helped usher in some new words and phrases, including “heir head,” “celebutante” and “celebutard” — the last, Wiktionary says, surfaced first in The Post’s Jan. 21, 2006 story, headlined “Paris with a P.”
Wilson believes he came up with “High Stepping Hilti” to describe the woman who seemingly could never get enough, be it boys, booze or bling. When Paris Latsis, the Greek shipping heir, gave the 24-year-old what Froelich remembers as “a perfectly nice ring from Cartier,” Hilton replaced it with a fake stone that took up most of one knuckle. “We wrote it was fake, and she said, ‘I’m gonna sue you!’” Froelich says. “I said, ‘I’ll take out a full-page apology if you can send me the GMA certificate on that fake ring.’ ” And there it ended. As did, after five months, that engagement.
A copy of that infamous sex tape — which surfaced, conveniently enough, three weeks before the Dec. 2, 2003 launch of Hilton’s reality show, “The Simple Life” — was hand-delivered to Page Six. Though Paris claimed boyfriend Rick Salomon taped her without her knowledge, Froelich says, “it was obvious” she knew the camera was there.
Now 36, just four years younger than Page Six itself, “heir head” Hilton is a multi-billion-dollar brand; her self-titled celebrity fragrance trails only Elizabeth Taylor’s. But as Paris herself pointed out, the Page has its benefits, if only as a way to gauge her pals’ loyalty: “I test out friends sometimes,” she told Jane magazine in January 2005. “I’ll say something that’s totally not even true, ’cause I think that they’re calling Page Six, I’ll say something like, ‘I was in Paris last week.’ And if that story appears, I just freeze ’em out. I’ll never talk to them.”
Whether she talks to us or not, for better or worse, we’ll always have Paris.