Exactly fifty years ago, Truman Capote was at the peak of his career following the launch of his most-famous novel, In Cold Blood. And what better way to celebrate his newfound pinnacle of popularity than by hosting a star-studded vent that would go down in history as, “the best party ever.”
Capote invited only 540 people to his Black and White Ball held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on November 29, 1966. The invitations printed by Tiffany & Co. asked for men to wear black masks and black ties, while the ladies were asked to wear white masks, white dresses and white fans.
Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow and Oscar de la Renta showed up in masks designed by the likes of Halston. Andy Warhol was the only guest who showed up without wearing a mask. Other invitees included the political socialites like the Kennedy clan, Hollywood’s favorite authors like Tennessee Williams and Gloria Steinem, and legendary stars like Henry Ford in a handmade mask, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich. The drink of the evening was Taittinger champagne… 450 bottles of it. Although Sinatra sipped on Wild Turkey bourbon all night.The Black and White Ball is just as infamous for the notable names who were left out, including Winston Churchill and former President Henry Truman. Although his daughter did manage to score an invitation, along with two other daughters of former presidents.
Capote, himself, ended up leaking the guest list so that no one could falsely claim they were invited. The morning after, The New York Times published all the names. You can read the entire guest list after the photos. The ball received live coverage on the evening news.
Truman Capote’s guest list to the Black and White Ball, 1966. Mr and Mrs Gianni Agnelli, Count Umberto Agnelli, Edward Albee, Mrs W Vincent Astor, Mr and Mrs Richard Avedon, James Baldwin, Miss Tallulah Bankhead, Cecil Beaton, Mr and Mrs Harry Belafonte, Marisa Berenson, Candice Bergen, Mr and Mrs Irving Berlin, Sir Isaiah and Lady Berlin, Mr and Mrs Leonard Bernstein, Mr and Mrs Benjamin Bradlee, Mr and Mrs William Buckley, Mr and Mrs Richard Burton, Prince Carlo Caracciolo, Lord Chalfont, Dr and Mrs John Converse, Noël Coward, Mr and Mrs Walter Cronkite, Mr and Mrs Sammy Davis Jr, Oscar de la Renta, Marlene Dietrich, Elliott Erwitt, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Mrs Marshall Field, Mr and Mrs Henry Fonda, Joan Fontaine, Mr and Mrs Henry Ford 2nd, Mr and Mrs John Kenneth Galbraith, Greta Garbo, Ambassador and Mrs Arthur J Goldberg, Mr and Mrs Samuel Goldwyn, Henry Golightly, Hamish Hamilton, Ambassador and Mrs W Averell Harriman, Mr and Mrs William Randolph Hearst Jr, Mr and Mrs Henry J Heinz 2nd, Miss Lillian Hellman, Elizabeth Hilton, Horst P Horst, Christopher Isherwood, Maharajah and Maharani of Jaipur, Senator and Mrs Jacob K Javits, Lynda Bird Johnson, Philip Johnson, Senator and Mrs Edward M Kennedy, Mrs John F Kennedy, Mrs Joseph P Kennedy, Senator and Mrs Robert F Kennedy, Alfred Knopf, Mr and Mrs Joseph Kraft, Mrs Patricia Lawford, Mr and Mrs Irving Lazar, Harper Lee, Vivien Leigh, Mr and Mrs Jack Lemmon, Mr and Mrs Alan Jay Lerner, Mr and Mrs Alexander Lieberman, Mr and Mrs Robert Lowell, Mr and Mrs Henry Luce, Shirley MacLaine, Mr and Mrs Norman Mailer, Mr and Mrs Joseph Mankiewicz, Mr and Mrs Walter Matthau, Mr and Mrs Robert McNamara, Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon, Mr and Mrs James Michener, Mr and Mrs Arthur Miller, Mr and Mrs Vincent Minnelli, Mr and Mrs Samuel I Newhouse Sr, Mrs Stavros Niarchos, Mike Nichols, Lord and Lady David Ogilvy, Mr and Mrs Gregory Peck, George Plimpton, Prince and Princess Stanislas Radziwill, Mr and Mrs Jason Robards Jr, Governor and Mrs Nelson A Rockefeller, Philip Roth, Baroness Cecile de Rothschild, Baron and Baroness Guy de Rothschild, Theodore Rousseau, Mr and Mrs Arthur Schlesinger Jr, Mrs David O Selznick, Mr and Mrs Irwin Shaw, Mr and Mrs Frank Sinatra, Steve Sondheim, Sam Spiegel, Mr and Mrs John Steinbeck, Gloria Steinem, Mr and Mrs William Styron, Mr and Mrs Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Ambassador and Mrs Llewellyn E Thompson, Penelope Tree, Mr and Mrs Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, Mrs T Reed Vreeland, William Walton, Mr and Mrs Edward Warburg, Andy Warhol, Mr and Mrs Robert Penn Warren, Mr and Mrs John Hay Whitney, Mr and Mrs Billy Wilder, Tenessee Williams, Mr and Mrs Edmund Wilson, Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Darryl Zanuck.