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Society: Third of the Year

4 minute read

Seven weeks. Zut! The man at Delmonico’s wrung his hands. “Usually things like this are planned four or five months ahead,” he moaned. But he would try. And right up to two hours before the party started, decorators and caterers struggled to transform the hotel’s sedate, continental Crystal Room into a black-and-white striped tent with a “pop-op” decor. Then suddenly the room was filled with 445 stylish, milling guests and the music of Meyer Davis’ orchestra. And dancing among them, smiling, shy and lovely, was the person it was all about—Anne Ford, 22, who the next day would marry her sweetheart of a year, Italian-born Giancarlo Uzielli, 31.

It was the third Ford marriage in less than a year. Last February, Anne’s father Henry, having been divorced by Anne McDonnell Ford, married Christina Austin, a handsome Italian divorcee. Then three weeks ago, Sister Charlotte, 24, slipped off to Juarez, Mexico, to marry thrice-divorced Greek Shipping King Stavros Niarchos, 56. Some friends wondered if Anne would perhaps delay her own wedding plans. But the date had been fixed, and she and Gianni (pronounced Johnny) wanted to keep it. Though both are Roman Catholics, they had decided in November that they would not wait for Vatican action on Johnny’s application for an annulment of his brief first marriage to Model Anne Marie Deschodt, who is now married to French Movie Director Louis Malle.

Put Him in Charge. Unable to give a party for Charlotte, Henry Ford II wanted to live up to a promise. “When my girls get married,” he had said when they were young, “the whole world will know.” And so he engaged Delmonico’s and invited both old Ford friends and the jet-set society in which his daughters had been circulating since they moved from Grosse Pointe to live with their mother in New York. The crowd ranged from Mrs. Mary Lasker to Baby Jane Holzer, included such luminaries as Ceezee and Winston Guest, the Winston Churchills III, Truman Capote, the Raymond Loewys, and the Douglas Fairbankses.*

The Ford clan turned up in strength, and the whole thing could not have been more urbane. Mother Anne Mc Donnell Ford arrived on the arm of her current escort, Ted Bassett, a kind of all-purpose man about town who posed for photographers between Christina and Henry. Uzielli’s parents, also divorced, were there too. Mama was wearing a Balenciaga, and Papa, who works with Gianni at stockbroking, was squiring his second wife. At evening’s close, as the last of the Piper Heidsieck ’59 bubbled away, Henry pronounced himself well pleased. “Great party, eh?” he inquired of newsmen while he thumped Gianni on the back. “He planned it all,” said Henry. “Maybe I should put him in charge of an assembly line?”

“Hey, Charlotte.” The wedding next day was a simple civil ceremony in the Fifth Avenue apartment of Mother Anne. The bride wore a knee-length white silk gabardine dress and a small matching open pillbox headpiece on her shoulder-length blonde hair. Uzielli was dapper but informal in a cuffless grey worsted suit and silver silk tie. With just 15 members of the families looking on, the vows took precisely ten minutes. Said Judge Frederick Strong, who performed the ceremony: “It was just a little longer, a little more elaborate and, I hope, a little more meaningful than one in the city clerk’s office.”

Afterwards, the couple dutifully went downstairs to pose for waiting photographers. “Hey, Charlotte, give us a smile!” cried a photographer. “It’s Anne,” she said. Gianni looked down his Roman nose. “That was two weeks ago,” he said. Then both headed back upstairs to the 125-guest reception; after that they flew off to honeymoon in a rented house in Acapulco for two weeks. “Well,” said Daddy, “it all worked out.”

*Whose own daughter, Victoria, 23, surprised them on the day of Anne’s wedding by quietly marrying divorced Long Islander Barend van Gerbig, 26, in Las Cruces, N. Mex.

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