Malcolm Forbes's Ultra-Bash Boasted French Fizz and a Prom Queen Named Liz

updated 06/15/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/15/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Anyhow, he gives large parties...and I like large parties. They're so intimate.
Jordan Baker, in The Great Gatsby

This is the biggest party I've ever been to. Yet it felt cozy in a way.
Helen Gurley Brown, at the 70th-anniversary bash for Forbes magazine

Some folks' notions of cozy and intimate are different from others'. Take the wingding hosted by publisher Malcolm Forbes, whose father, Bertie, founded Forbes magazine 70 years ago. Malcolm has a few bucks (guesstimated worth: $600 million) and a nice spread (a 40-acre estate in Far Hills, N.J.), and he parlayed them into a shindig that would have left even Jay Gatsby goggle-eyed.

To toast the 67-year-old publisher and his centerpiece party date, actress Liz Taylor, developer Donald Trump, model Jerry Hall, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and 100 others flew to the Forbes gala aboard 33 helicopters. (Mindful of parking problems, Malcolm had set up landing lights and hired an air-traffic controller.) So many of the 1,000 other guests—who ran the gamut from GM chief Roger Smith to Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione—arrived in limousines that a special tent was set up to feed the 300 chauffeurs.

The celebrants were greeted by a 140-member drum-and-bagpipe band, a Scottish castle courtyard prop (under construction since April), a canopied drawbridge complete with armored knights, artificial mist, a carpeted cocktail tent and a 17,000-square-foot dining tent manned by 270 waiters.

A well-bronzed Liz, who would appear with President Reagan at an AIDS benefit in Washington a few days later, stepped grandly to the podium after dessert and received from Forbes a $1 million contribution to AIDS research. Then, after speeches by New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, Sen. Bill Bradley and White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker, the guests were treated to a laser-beam-and-fireworks finale orchestrated by the famed Grucci family. "The only thing I ask of life is more of it," proclaimed Forbes happily. So would we all.

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