Connie Wald, the widow of producer Jerry Wald whose unpretentious dinners at her Beverly Hills home were relished by stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age and beyond, has died. She was 96 and died November 10th at home. Her son Andrew Wald confirmed her death this week. Frequent guests included Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn who became a dear friend. Others included Jimmy and Gloria Stewart, Gregory Peck, Harrison Ford, Angelica Huston, Joan Didion, Dominick Dunne, Diane Keaton, Woody Allen, Gore Vidal and Mae West. The dinners began when the Walds were young but continued after the 1962 death at age 50 of her husband, producer of movies such as Key Largo, Young Man With A Horn, An Affair to Remember and Peyton Place to name just a few. Evenings at the Walds’ were “just cozy,” said Betsy Bloomingdale, “and they don’t do cozy anymore.” Nancy Reagain said Thursday that Mrs. Wald was the first person she met after moving to California. “It was very easy to be drawn to Connie,” she said. “She drew people to her, and then she figured out how to get you to talk about the thing that would be interesting to everybody”, said producer John Goldwyn, grandson of Sam Goldwyn. “She was a very interesting woman without making herself the center — except she was absolutely the center.” Her son Andrew, who later in life helped his mom in the kitchen, said dinners at the Walds would continue for the time being. Nancy Reagan said she planned to be there for Thanksgiving. “Some of my mother’s final words,” Andrew Wald said, “were, ‘No flowers, no services — and don’t cancel Thanksgiving’.
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