Main Events

Susan Lucci and husband
Helmut Huber.

Beauty Industry Honors
John Demsey, Hal Kahn

Story by Tim Boxer
Photos by Al Periera

USAN LUCCI of All My Children looked around the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria and sighed, “I have warm feelings for this room – I lost a couple of Emmies in this room.”

Lucci joined a host of guests for the March of Dimes 26th Annual Million Dollar Beauty Ball in April 2001.

True to its name, the gala raised $1,213,500. “When I took over, we were raising $375,000 for the event,” said Lawrence Aiken of Vogue who serves as honorary chairman of the Beauty Ball and board chairman of the Greater New York Chapter of the March of Dimes.

John Demsey (left) and fellow
honoree Hal Kahn.

Founded by John Ledes, publisher of Beauty Fashion, the Beauty Ball has raised $15 million to help March of Dimes prevent birth defects and infant mortality.

Lucci recalled when her son was born. The next day the nurse told her, “Don’t be alarmed, Mrs. Huber. We won’t be bringing your baby to you tonight.” Where is her? “He’s in a nursery.”

“A nursery was the euphemism for intensive care,” Lucci said. “There was my baby, in an oxygen tank. The nurse had noticed my baby was blue around the mouth and rushed him to the neonatal intensive care. Thank God she was alert. It was a month before I was able to bring him home.”

Today her son is a senior in college. He’s 6-foot-3 and able to pick up his mother with one hand.

Estee Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder presented the Beautiful Apple Award to MAC Cosmetics president John Demsey.

John Demsey and the Hilton girls:
Nikki, Paris and Kathy.

Philip Shearer, president of the luxury products division of L’Oreal USA, presented the Retailer of the Year Award to Macy’s East chairman Hal Kahn.

“I grew up when polio was widely feared,” Kahn related. “My Jewish mother wouldn’t let me go to the movies for fear someone would cough on me. I remember my mother marching for March of Dimes. March of Dimes finally helped find a cure for polio.”

“Polio may have been cured,” Demsey noted, “but my parents still don’t let me go out.”

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