I have many stories about Jackie Onassis, who has always fascinated me and who enthralled me even more after meeting her.
My first encounter with her was during the early 90s when she came to dine at Fiorello’s Roman Cafe after attending a performance at Lincoln Center. I had started working there as a server and later as a manager. Her long-time companion, Maurice Tempelsman—a Belgian-American diamond merchant—accompanied her. I guess she was attracted to older, shorter, and powerful men having been married to Aristotle Onassis. She also went out frequently with investment banking genius André Meyer. But I don’t think they had an amorous relationship.
When she arrived, the restaurant was pretty empty as we were all waiting for a mad rush of post-theater diners. Several of us were congregating at the maître d’ stand when suddenly she walked in. We turned to her with our mouths agape and stared at her in awe for what felt like an eternity. Sensing this, she jolted us from our frozen stares and said, “Well, aren’t you going to seat us?” So, I quickly grabbed two menus and seated her toward the restaurant’s back at one of our cozy banquets. As I started her drink order, my hands trembled as I tried to take down what she wanted. She then placed her hand on mine and said, “It’s okay, I don’t bite. Be calm.”
When I moved to Trattoria Dell’Arte—Fiorello’s sister restaurant—a couple of years later, I saw more of her. This time she was either dining with director Mike Nichols, who had an office upstairs from the restaurant, or her son, John.
At this time, John Kennedy Jr. was dating the actress Daryl Hannah, who Jackie abhorred. How do I know this? Because she told him so over dinner one night while I was tending them. She was relentless and said so many shocking things I won’t even repeat them here. But she essentially read John the riot act and told him never to see her again. Well, days later, in walks John Jr., but this time with Daryl Hannah. So much for motherly advice.
Former restauranteur, musician, concert promoter, producer, publisher, manager, and impresario, Charles Carlini has synthesized these roles to become a dynamic force in the music industry–noted for his ability to bring diverse talent together to create innovative concerts and recordings that reach and move music-lovers everywhere.