This week the wonderful Tony Cointreau celebrated the publication of his new book, A Gift of Love – Lessons Learned from My Work and Friendship with Mother Teresa.
Guests gathered at Michaels to applaud the second book by the author, singer, and humanitarian that discusses what he gained from working so closely with Mother Teresa during their 12 years together at the NYC AIDS charity, A Gift of Love.
Tony’s partner of 50 years, Jim Russo helped greet guests including Mary Higgins Clark, Cece Cord, Francine LeFrak and Rick Friedberg, Julie Hayek, Nancy Pearson, Henri Kessler, JD Thompson, Maria Cooper Janis, Joan Benny, and Eric Bottcher. Additional guests included Leesa Rowland, Larry Wohl, Cassandra Seidenfeld, Jane Scher, Dr. Calapai, Dr. Kenneth Mark, Arthur Aidala, Michael Cerbelli and Cindy Guyer.
Midway through the event, Tony thanked his partner Jim for his support over years. He then spoke about “Mother” and how much of a friend she was to the “dying, destitute and diseased.” He went on to say, how it was “scary to be with her in public, as people did not treat her like a human.” He then toasted the late Sister Jean Marshall, who was the Founder of St. Ritas Refugee Center in the Bronx, and “one of the unsung saints of the world because of her work with Vietnamese children displaced by war.”
After experiencing a comfortable childhood as an heir to the Cointreau liquor fortune, and a successful career in show business, Tony felt that he needed something more meaningful in his life. This led him to spend twelve years as a dedicated volunteer in Mother Teresa’s hospices in New York and Calcutta, helping more than one hundred people while they went through the process of dying.
Tony Cointreau’s first book, Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa … and Me: My Improbable Journey from Chateaux in France to the Slums of Calcutta, was published in 2014 and told the story of how Tony after a successful international singing career and several years on the Cointreau board of directors, he felt a need for something more meaningful in his life and found his way to Calcutta.
The latest work is sure to be an inspiration for many for years to come.
Photos by Patrick McMullan