Hilton to waltz at Vienna Opera Ball


VIENNA - Celebrity heiress Paris Hilton will be the star guest at Austria's top society event this year -- the Vienna Opera Ball, entrepreneur Richard Lugner said Wednesday.

Lugner, who since 1992 has made it a personal quest to adorn his private box at the ball with renowned showbiz figures, said he was confident his ability as a dancer would offset Hilton's potential lack of experience in dancing the waltz.

"She will dance with me," Lugner, 74, told a news conference. "If a man is a good leader on the dance floor, a woman is capable of everything."

Lugner made his fortune in the construction industry and is a society luminary in Vienna where his nickname is "mortar".

Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, acting legend Sophia Loren, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, have accompanied Lugner over the past years to the highlight of Austria's ball season staged in the neo-romantic splendor of one of the world's most famous opera houses.

Hilton will bring along some friends and her parents but it remains to be seen whether her new friend, pop star Britney Spears, will also join the ball on February 15, since the two women had been at odds lately, said Lugner.