I thought of how Evans and Leslie Ann had appeared, during the cocktail mixer before a small corral of entertainment reporters, and of the contrast they presented. A clear-eyed Wagnerian blond who towers over the dark Evans, Woodward was athletic-looking while Evans, who hides behind a mask of Chanel glasses, took his time ambling down the steps to the ballroom. Even their tanned skin seemed at odds, a collision of parchment and silk. But the people eating their dinner in the ballroom loved him for his corny hubris, just as they loved his calling himself a visionary and the way he suddenly brought up his dead mother even as a shrugging Larry King drew laughs behind his back.
When Rod Stewart ended the evening by performing "Forever Young" and then "Maggie May," an electric nostalgia charged the room, a sentimentality shared by even the youngest present in that way that Hollywood people who are only in their 30s always seem old. For a few minutes everyone swayed and sang along, as though remembering private moments from long-ago nights in Topanga, Malibu or Laurel Canyon, when Robert Evans was king of a New Hollywood that is now past.