By Ward Morehouse III
Black Tie Magazine Special Correspondent
Palm Beach - February 8, 2013
- The International Red Cross Ball, one of America's most
prestigious and gorgeous charity affairs, struck gold
tonight its first time back at The Breakers Hotel in
"We did very well [financially] -- and we
brought back a lot of the prestige of The Ball by bringing
it back to The Breakers!" Bonnie McElveen-Hunter,
Chairman of the American Red Cross and former U.S.
Ambassador to Finland, told me during the magical dancing in
the Venetian Ballroom of The Breakers.
"Everyone here is engaged in giving and
Jean Shafiroff, who attended the ball with husband
Martin Shafiroff, told me.
At the pre-Ball reception in the
hotel's flower-festooned Mediterranean Ballroom,
Mary M. Ourisman, Ball chairwoman former U.S.
Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, greeted
six visiting ambassadors from Singapore, Iceland, Indonesia,
Morocco, Portugal and the Netherlands along with many of the
Who's Who of American society, business and the arts. Mary
was accompanied by husband Mandell "Mandy" Ourisman,
chairman of Ourisman Automotive with auto dealerships in
metropolitan Washington, D.C.
And former film star Dina Merrill
-- whose mother, Marjorie Merriweather Post,
was the founding chairwoman of the Red Ball back in 1956 --
looked regal and radiant in a black gown and black pearls,
especially when she received a hug and kiss from her jazz
singer grandson Cole Rumbough. She was
accompanied by husband Ted Hartley, CEO of
RKO Pictures and co-producer with Stewart F. Lane
of the Irving Berlin musical Top Hat in
And from start to finish this year's 56th
edition of the International Red Cross Ball had a most
engaging air of freshness. And there's just no getting
around it: The Red Ball at the glittery Breakers was as
opulent and joyous occasion as any event in the
time-honored tradition of one of the greatest and most
beautiful hotels in the world.
Among the more than 400 guests were
Francis Hayward, Jean and Martin
Shafiroff, Jon L. Heinemann and his beautiful wife, artist
Michelle Marie Heinemann Trish Donnelley,
Paula Butler, Amanda Schumacher, Audrey and Marty Gruss,
Kathryn Vecellio and Rhonda Wilkins (co-chairwomen
for the Red Ball), Mary Mochary, and
Beverly White-Yeager, Wilbur and
Hilary Ross, Tom Quick, Chris and
Wally and Betsy Turner, Anita
McBride, former chief of staff for Barbara
Bush; California Congressman Ed Royce
and his wife Maria; former U.S. Senators
Mel Martinez, Norm Coleman
and Fred Thompson.
One of the highlights of the Red Ball was Peter
Duchin and his orchestra serenading Dina Merrill
with If I Could Live Again, a song written for her
half a century ago about the time she was co-starring in the
movie Desk Set with Katharine
Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.
If I Could Live Again was sung by grandson Cole
Special Thanks to Mary and Mandell
Ourisman who were among the biggest supporters of The
Red Cross Ball.