Truman Capote’s 1966 Black & White Ball at The Plaza Hotel With Photos!
The infamous Black and White Ball, put on by Truman Capote on November 28, 1966, was recreated for episode 3 of Feud: Capote vs. The Swans. The real ball was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in honor of The Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham (pictured above). Now at the height of his popularity, he wanted to throw a lavish party. Capote had previously attended a black and white ball in 1964 for his friend Dominick Dunne’s tenth wedding anniversary. He said he was also inspired by the Ascot scene in My Fair Lady for the theme.
Socialite Lee Radziwill and Truman Capote
Graham once shared about how Capote chose her as the guest of honor, “Truman called me up that summer and said, ‘I think you need cheering up. And I’m going to give you a ball.’…I was…sort of baffled….I felt a little bit like Truman was going to give the ball anyway and that I was part of the props.” He admittedly didn’t want to throw the party for himself because he thought his society friends would find that vulgar. He chose the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel in New York City because he had long admired the hotel, even using it as scenery in his books.
Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Eunice Kennedy and Sarget Shrive
Capote spent $16,000 on the ball, which would equate to around $150,000 in today’s dollars. He reportedly carried a notebook around for months, adding and deleting names from the guest list. Eventually, the invitations were sent and big stars such as Mia Farrow and Henry Fonda were in attendance. He carefully created the list based on actors, politicians, journalists, socialites, writers, artists, and other groups of famous people. It was truly the thing to attend that year.
Henry Fonda and his fifth wife, Shirlee Mae Adams
Reporters swarm Frank Sinatra and his wife, actress Mia Farrow
Actress Joan Fontaine with Dr Benjamin Kean
Famed publisher Natalia Danese Murray
Capote dances with Wendy Vanderbilt. To the left, Katherine Graham and to the right, actress Lauren Bacall.