What It Was Like at Swifty’s

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Before all the others, the Oscar party thrown by legendary literary agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar was the ultimate A-list destination.

In this town, if you want to have power, you create something that everyone wants. And everyone wanted to go to Swifty’s Oscar party. Actually, his name was Irving. He didn’t like to be called Swifty, but I think he liked having a nickname. The way the evening went, there was the dinner/viewing party, where he wanted you to sit down and stay seated. He didn’t want you to table-hop. He table-hopped, and he wanted to be the only one doing it. After the telecast, the tables were cleared and everyone came who’d been at the ceremony or at home. What made it great was you never knew who was going to be there. He always had the Old Guard people, like Gregory Peck, but it was also a mixed bag of Hollywood; today it would be everyone from Justin Bieber to Lady Gaga to Ernest Borgnine. The night Madonna came in with Michael Jackson — that was a fabulous night. Everyone was buzzing about it. You just never knew who’d come. It was great for me because I’m an observer, an anthropologist working the jungles of Hollywood, and there it was, laid out for all to see. When it was at Spago, my husband would come back and say they’re doing coke in the restroom again. But that was the ’80s. Anyway, Swifty loved his party. Without it, he was just another agent. And we all know what that means in this town.