Wendy Russell Reves
(2 May 1916
- 13 March 2007
) was an American philanthropist
, and former fashion model
Early life and career
She was born Wyn-Nelle Russell in Marshall, Texas, and adopted the name Wendy as an adult.
Her modeling career began in 1939, and she appeared in Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. Virginia Pope, the fashion critic of The New York Times, described her as "one of New York's most-seen manikins [sic]."
Wendy's first husband, Al Schroeder, was a West Point
graduate she met when he was stationed in Randolph Field
in San Antonio, Texas
. Wendy was barely sixteen when they discussed marriage, but was persuaded by her mother to wait until her seventeenth birthday to marry. One year later they had a son, Arnold Leon Schroeder.
In 1940, she married Paul Baron (b. 1911), a pianist and conductor who was the leader of the Paul Baron Orchestra, a well-known studio band of the 1930s and 1940s. He was a vocal arranger for Fifi D'Orsay
, Nanette Fabray
, Jane Froman
, Elvira Rios
, Mildred Bailey
, and Lupe Velez
and was co-writer of the popular song Rum and Cola Cola
, which was performed by, among others, The Andrews Sisters
From 1948, she was the mistress of Emery Reves
(né Emery Revesz, 1904 - 1981), a Hungarian-born writer, publisher, financier, art collector, founder of the anti-fascist Cooperation Press Service
, and advocate of world federalism
. The couple married in 1964 in Thonex, Switzerland
A first cousin of the conductor Sir Georg Solti and a literary agent for and close friend of Winston S. Churchill, Emery Reves described his wife as "a woman with a brilliant mind and imagination, tempered by much common sense. She is a woman who never bored me". In 1953, the couple bought La Pausa, a villa in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, which had been built for Coco Chanel by the Duke of Westminster.
Following her husband's 1981 death, Reves chose to devote her energies to charitable endeavors. Among her philanthropies is the establishment of the Wendy and Emery Reves wing of the Dallas Museum of Art
in 1985 (a 15,000-square-foot recreation of six rooms of the Reveses' villa), which displays the Reves' extensive art collection as it was originally displayed at their villa, and the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William & Mary
(established with a $3 million grant). She also donated $25,000 to begin the Wonderland of Lights
which has become one of the largest light festivals in the United States
. She was instrumental in convincing Janine Michelson
, the widow of Leo Michelson
, to found the Michelson Museum of Art
in Marshall to house the Russian American's art collection.
Other philanthropic gifts included a $2 million endowment to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Center establishing an international breast cancer symposium and a diagnostic and treatment center.
An additional $2 million went to the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, which features an entry arch named for Emery Reves.
Reves died on March 13 2007
, aged 90, at a hospital near her villa in France.