Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Celebrities at the Obama State Dinner. Juicy pool report

| No Comments

Pool report by Christina Wilkie,

Subject: Pool Report, Booksellers Area State Dinner Arrivals

The largest state dinner of the Obama administration had 362 guests on Wednesday night, more than 100 of whom walked through the entrance hall packed with media known as the Booksellers Area.

Highlights below.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and his wife arrived first, early, at 6:29pm, followed by Former New York Mayor Ed Koch.

The first "Downton Abbey" star to arrive was Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham on the show. Bonneville said the special nature of the US UK relationship is "symbolized in the show, where I'm married to an American, a now, with Shirley McLaine joining the cast as my mother-in-law, I think we've got the special relationship pretty much nailed down."

A few minutes later Elizabeth McGovern came through, who plays Bonneville's wife, wearing a stunning black strapless dress by British designer Jacques Azagury. Asked about the special relationship between the UK and the US she said, "in the show I am a character who is a bridge between two countries, which I feel very proud to be."

The dominant color of the evening on women guests was dark blue, ranging from dusty shades to navy.

Golf star Rory McIlroy sailed through the crowd without talking to reporters, as did billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

George Clooney arrived without his girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, but with his good friend John Pendergast and another unidentified couple. He didn't stop to talk to the press, saying only "Get some pictures of these very smart people" as he walked by photogs.

Richard Branson stopped to talk, and said Obama's earlier remark that the special relationship has never been stronger was "very flattering and very true." He joked that his wife, Joan Templeman, "is very jealous."

Debbie Dingell looked beautiful in a floor-length, strapless red dress arriving with her husband, the dean of House Democrats, Michigan Rep. John Dingell.

Chicago-based developer Jim Crown, a longtime supporter of Obama's, said he was "very honored to be here."

Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife Sharon Malone got a little turned around, entering through the exit door and posing for the cameras. By the time the social aide, a Marine, announced his name, Holder was already joking with reporters. "The FBI works for me, I can do these kinds of things!"

Damian Lewis, the UK-born star of the Showtime spy thriller "Homeland," said it was "thrilling" to know that his show was one of Obama's favorites. "When does he have time to watch TV?" Lewis quipped, "that's what I'm going to ask [Obama]!" Lewis's wife, Helen McCrory was also wearing Jacques Azagury

Next up was Hollywoord mogul and Obama backer Harvey Weinstein and his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman. As she entered, Chapman learned from reporters that the first lady was wearing a Marchesa dress. "I'm thrilled," she said. Chapman was also wearing a flowing, blue-gray dress of her own design.

Weinstein said he'd been to "a few" state dinners," adding that he wanted to tell Obama, "I'm so thrilled he's running for reelection, he's done a fantastic job, and he's the most underestimated president I've seen. He's too humble, and his accomplishments far outweigh his esteem, but people will learn that in time."

Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who has emerged as a major Obama bundler this cycle, swept through the room and didn't stop to talk, but when asked by reporters who made her dress she appeared to mouth, "Chanel."

Word also came in that Prime Minister Cameron's wife Samantha Cameron was wearing a blue dress by British designer Alessandra Rich, with shoes from the high-street label Next.

Guests arrivals were finished by 7:45pm.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 14, 2012 8:58 PM.

Illinois presidential primary: Newt at small Rosemont rally was the previous entry in this blog.

Romney adds Illinois Friday stop, deploys Gov.Christie to Elmhurst is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.