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Power couples from left: Evelyn and Leonard Lauder, Merryl and James Tisch,
and Daryl and Steve Roth at the 92nd Street Y

Boldfacers Reveal How
Power Couples ‘R’ Us

Story and Photo by Tim Boxer

PANEL discussion on "Power Couples: How They Live and Work" at the 92nd Street Y in New York proved that pillars of society are not all that different from you and me.

Evelyn Lauder, senior corporate vice president of the Estee Lauder Companies, held her husband up as a prime example of a hands-on father of two sons. "When I was teaching first grade at PS 157 in Harlem, Leonard was an amazing dad – he did change diapers."

That was Leonard Lauder’s cue to demonstrate an ancient technique. The 73-year-old chairman of Estee Lauder took out his handkerchief and show how he used to fold a diaper – in the pre-Pampers era.

Jim Tisch, the 53-year-old co-president and chief executive of Loews, is a role model for the rest of us. His wife Merryl Tisch, vice chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, said that her husband was always there for their two sons and daughter – but he kept his hands busy only at work.

"I can shake Jimmy’s hands easily and confidently," Merryl said, "knowing that he never changed a diaper."

Leonard was so devoted to the task of raising his children, William and Gary, that he turned down an invitation from his mother, Estee Lauder, who can be "difficult," to a dinner party at her home for the Duchess of Windsor.

He told mother that he’d promised to play baseball with his little ones in the park. A commitment to the kids takes precedence over royalty.

Daryl and Steve Roth took their kids everywhere. "We still do," Daryl said.

"And you always get the bill," Leonard chimed in. "You pay, you go."

Merryl and Jim took their kids all over the world – Asia, Europe, Africa. "At a PTA meeting," she said, "the teacher asked the kids for their favorite vacation, and my kid gets up and says Grossinger’s."

On being a great husband, Steve Roth has it down to a science. The 65-year-old chief of Vornado, one of the most profitable real estate firms in the country, said he was on the golf course this very day practicing his lines: "Yes, dear. Yes, dear."

That brought a knowing smile to his wife, Daryl Roth, the producer of such Broadway shows as Wit and Proof.

As for pointers for happy couples, Merryl advised, "When the conversation is over, make sure there are no regrets."

Evelyn added, "Never go to bed angry."

Steve murmured, "I flunked that too."


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