By Pamela Price
It was a nonstop desert birthday for one of America’ s classic fitness personalities and “cover girls” from the 1980s, Shari Belafonte. This multi talented woman modeled for magazines from Vogue to Vanity Fair during her career, portrayed Julie Gillette on ABC’s series “Hotel” and hasn’t taken a break, it seems until she decided to turn 60 years old. It all happened in Palm Springs, starting Sept 19th at Gallery 446 in Palm Springs, with a string of high-energy art gallery openings, lunches and brunches; Laurie Weitz, Shari’s gal pal called it a “nonstop birthday.” Celebrating with family and friends, literally from morning to night highlighted by her famous father Harry Belafonte, calypso legend, actor, activist and winner of Emmys, Grammy and more brought the spotlight on this marvelous father daughter success story.
At Gallery 446 Dimitri Halkidis, the gallery’s gregarious owner was dashing around-the-clock meeting and greeting a galaxy of guests who stopped chatting only briefly to grab an egg roll or two from platters filled delicacies catered by Wangs. Shari’s photographs filled the gallery, off beat, hilarious, and unpredictable, they reflected her unpredictable sense of humor and nonstop energy.
That was confirmed by guests Chris Bennet of Renegade Entertainment Co., Tony Turk of Turk Entertainment in West Hollywood and beauty experts Andrew P. Young and David E. Yerks of the David Andrew Salon in Palm Springs ( one in a daunting kilt).
Shari’s paintings, several from her Havana period are also on exhibit at Cello’s An American Bistro in Cathedral City.
The next morning, Sept. 20th this moveable feast resumed at the nostalgic Purple Room in Palm Springs. Among the 100 or so guests were Greg Purdy, now in command of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway’s public relations after years of putting the Palm Springs Follies on the world map of entertainment, Alan and JoAnn Horwitz, ardent supporters of the desert’s art scene and Larry and Laurie Weitz, who brought their love of art, modernism, and creativity to the desert from Malibu. Laurie, the desert’s delightful social butterfly and art curator said Shari’s most recent exhibit “ was a blend of celebrity, charity and art that put a smile on Palm Springs. Her newest exhibit “Give Me Your Goofiest” a collection of photographs from celebrities, such as Suzanne Sommers to artfully posed dogs was installed especially for the birthday crowd at Gallery 446. You can still catch Shari’s spirit by stopping by Gallery 446 in Palm Springs. Grace Robbins, authors hit the nail on the head when she commented, “You might say
Shari’s birthday parties were a work of art from to start to finish!”
Pam Price also contributes to www.forbes.com/sites/pamprice/