LIFESAVERS DINNER GALA AND AUCTION  May, 2005

Bettina Cirone

 

 The American Foundation for Suicide Preventions hosted its annual lifesaver’s dinner and auction at which Mariel Hemingway Mc’d:  Awards presenters included Mariette Hartley, Senators Gordon Smith and Chris Dodd.  Emmylou Harris was there to support her good friend Gail Griffith whose book was given to each guest about her suicidal teenage son and his chronicle of recovery.  Joan Rivers, whose husband committed suicide, was also sighted there wearing an acqua Zondra Rhodes top and her own design earrings as photographed by our photographer and reporter, Bettina Cirone.

 Stunning and alluring in a figure hugging Lloyd Klein black gown with spaghetti straps, Mariel talked of the several suicides in her own family, two of them we already know of:  her grandfather Ernest Hemingway and her sister, Margaux Hemingway.  She said it took her ten years to be able to admit her sister’s suicide publicly because she was not only ashamed but afraid that even thinking about it could cause her to be “on my way to becoming like her.” 

 Besides raising two teenage daughters in California with her husband, Mariel is working on her next book, and a television and DVD infomercial for Yoga Now by Rodney Yee that can be seen on yoganow.com.  It will also be in retail outlets.  Mariel was animated when she told me about her teenage daughters, 17 year old Dree Crisman and 15 year old Langley Crisman.  Daughter Dree has just been photographed as the Abercorombe & Fitch campaign model.  Mariel likes the idea that Dree is using her father’s name because says proud Mom Mariel “she is making it on her own” without the help of her name.  When Dree told her that she plans to save her first Million Dollars and never touch it, Mariel asked her what she expects to live on in New York City.  “You, Mom” .  “Well”, Mariel told her, “as soon as you are 18, it will be you!”  Dree wants her Mom to come to New York to live with her.  When Mariel replied, “but what will I do if I live in New York with you?”  “Cook and clean!” said Dree.

 Mariel told me that unlike her older daughter Dree who is a beautiful blonde, 15 year old daughter Langley “with black standup hair” is a very talented artist but prefers to be behind the scenes.

 Addressing the diners, Mariel said:  “It is hard to tell the difference between teenage depression and mental illness.  I have been very close to my two daughters who have seen their friends attempt to take their own lives and they see the warning signs and get help.  My family’s experiences have taught me about education and treatment and that is why I think it is so important to be public about it.   It somehow made me think if I admitted it I was on my way to becoming like my sister. There is power in treating people who feel so hopeless that suicide seems to be their only way out.  Research is crucial in that we will be less haunted by tragedy of suicide.  Finding the best research is also a powerful weapon against the stigma of suicide.”

 No one made it more clear that “Suicide prevention is everyone’s business” than Dr. Ivan Gergel, Lifesavers Dinner Chair who revealed statistics proving that suicide kills more people each year than wars, breast cancer, and homicides.  He said that for every two homicides, three people have committed suicide.   It was also noted that women attempt suicide more often than men, but men complete the act four times more than women.  This is attributed to more women seeking help and talking about it.  Suicide is more common among women who are single, recently separated, divorced or widowed.        

 This year’s dinner was sponsored by Forest Labs and Bristol Myers.

 There will be a walk out of darkness for suicide prevention on July 16th in Chicago.  To register, log onto www.theovernight.org or call 888NIGHT05.

 

Mariel Hemingway wears Lloyd Klein at Lifesaver Dinner

Joan Rivers 

Emmylou Harris & Author Gail Griffith

Gretchen Wagner

   

 Photos by Bettina Cirone