Jewish World Review July 14, 2004 / 25 Tamuz, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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Consumer Reports

Sophie's fall; Bush's covert ops; celeb stew | NEW YORK — Is model Sophie Dahl doing OK these days?

That was the question on some folks' minds Saturday night when the 26-year-old granddaughter of famed English writer Roald Dahl, looking thin and very much the worse for wear, fell down several times in the gravel driveway while exiting Denise Rich's G&P Foundation fund-raising dinner at Rich's Southampton estate.

"She fell down three times and cut up her knees," said an eyewitness who saw Dahl's repeated tumbles at the Rich estate — which is being rented for a reported $550,000 by 19-year-old Russian-born heiress Anna Anisimova. "There was blood on her leg, and they had to call an ambulance."

But Dahl's boyfriend of two years, 25-year-old business student Daniel Baker Jr., told me he managed to get Sophie into a car, drive her home and put her to bed before any ambulance arrived.

"Sophie wasn't feeling well and she fainted," said Baker, son of socialite Nina Griscom and plastic surgeon Dan Baker. "She told me during dinner she was feeling really tired. She's been working on a book, and she just got back from a modeling job in Texas. I think it might have been something she ate. She was in a bit of a panic."

Baker said the two were waiting in a long line for the valet parkers to bring their car when he heard his girlfriend, standing right behind him, take a header.

"I looked around and she was on the ground," Baker told me. "She wasn't drunk. Sophie barely drinks at all."

He said Dahl was feeling fine the next day.

Playing the supportive boyfriend, Baker added: "I love her more than anything."

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Not since President Bush's secret visit to Baghdad last Thanksgiving has he undertaken such a bold and daring mission.

Bush ventured behind enemy lines Saturday afternoon into the liberal Washington enclave of Georgetown, home to his Democratic adversaries, John Kerry and John Edwards.

Later that night, another Bush — presidential daughter Jenna — seemed much more in her element at a Georgetown nightclub.

But first, the president's covert operation.

Bush and wife Laura, along with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, slipped under the radar to attend a wedding of two White House staffers.

As the presidential party alit from a Chevy Suburban and hurried into Christ Episcopal Church — where Bush's personal secretary, Ashley Estes, was about to marry presidential assistant Brett Kavanaugh — a dozen Georgetown citizens watched from across the street.

"I came home this evening to find MAJOR SECURITY all round my intersection," one resident e-mailed Monday. "I asked, 'What's going on?' and the people said, 'We don't know. No one will tell us.'"

After around 45 minutes, the president and first lady returned to their SUV and were whisked back to the White House.

But instead of all this sneaking about, my correspondent wonders, "Why didn't the prez just come out and wave to all the waiting citizens? Wouldn't that have been a clever photo op? Maybe something for the bride and groom to cherish?"

After midnight, 22-year-old Jenna, who's in Washington to work on her dad's re-election campaign, was much more accessible at Smith Point, Georgetown's "it" bar for the twentysomething prep set.

The doorman didn't recognize her when she arrived with her posse — "You're not on the guest list," he said — so Jenna cheerfully paid the $5 cover, and spent the next two hours dancing and, according to the, "swapping a little spit with a shaggy college looking student. . . . slurping down the drinks, smoking cigarettes and stood in the corner with Shaggy for a good 10 minutes — little groping action — before sitting down at a table with her friends."


That was quite a menagerie of bold-face names last week at the Canyon Ranch in Lennox, Mass. Meg Ryan, Al Franken, Mike Myers' mother-in-law Linda Richman and former Secretary of State George Shultz were all getting healthy together. Franken played racquetball with the commoners and palled around with Ryan; he co-wrote the screenplay for her 1994 movie "When a Man Loves a Woman." Shultz pretty much kept to himself, and Richman is staying at the spa all summer. A star-struck civilian told this column's Rachel Jonas about her hike with Ryan: "She's really not a conversational person at all. Maybe that's because she didn't want to be bothered. I was right behind her, so I said, 'Meg, I've just been dying to say something to you — You've got mail!' She then looked at me and said, 'Well, I guess you got it out of your system.'" Which is just what Canyon Ranch is all about.

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© 2003, Creators Syndicate