Tony Cointreau Hosts Book Party Celebrating Second Publication

by Kristopher Fraser Photographed by Patrick McMullan
Friday, September 23, 2016

On September 20, Tony Cointreau celebrated the publication of his second book, A Gift of Love – Lessons Learned from My Work and Friendship with Mother Teresa, with a party at Michaels.

In his second book, the author, humanitarian, singer and scion to the French liquer family reveals what he gained from working so closely with Mother Teresa during their 12 years together at the NYC AIDS charity, A Gift of Love. Cointreau’s partner of 50 years, Jim Russo, was there to help greet the glamorous list of guests which included Mary Higgins Clark, Cece Ford, Francine LeFrak and Rick Friedberg, Julie Hayek, Nancy Pearson, Henrie Kessler, JD Thompson, Maria Cooper Janis, Joan Benny, and Eric Bottcher.

Cointreau had a very comfortable life as the heir to Cointreau family liquor fortune, he also had a successful show business career, but he always felt like he needed to be doing something more to help people. Eventually, he discovered his passion for volunteering in Mother Teresa’s hospices in New York City and Calcutta, where he helped more than one hundred people while they were dying.

Midway through the event, Cointreau made a short speech thanking his partner Russo for his support over the years. He then spoke about “Mother,” his friendship with her, and her commitment to the “dying, destitute and diseased.” He said it was also “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.”

Cointreau’s inspiration to write his second book came at the request of his friends, who kept asking him to write about his experience so they could have an understanding of what to do to make their loved ones feel better when they were at the end of their days.

His first book, Ethel Merman, Mother Theresa…and Me: My Improbable Journey from Chateaux in France to the Slums of Calcutta, was published in 2014. It told the story of how after his after a successful international singing career and several years on the Cointreau board of directors, he felt he needed to something more meaningful with his life and made his way to Calcutta.

All photos courtesy of Patrick McMullan.


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