Claudius Charles Philippe, also known as Philippe of the Waldorf or The Host of the Waldorf, (B. December 10, 1910 – December 24, 1978) was a British-born French-American restaurateur, catering director, hotelier and businessman, who was the Waldorf Astoria banquet manager in the 1940s and 1950s. Philippe is best remembered for founding the April in Paris Ball at the Waldorf Astoria in 1951, which he ran with Elsa Maxwell until his sacking from the hotel in 1959.
Philippe led a colorful life, with many lovers including Grace Kelly and Barbara Walters, and three wives. He was investigated for tax evasion in 1958 and admitted guilt one count, for which he was fined the maximum $10,000.
From 1961 until 1963 he worked as executive vice president of Loews Hotels, and was responsible for the planning and building of six new New York hotels.
• Claude Philippe knows how radically the hotel business has changed since the Waldorf and he were young. The success of a hotel today, says he, depends on a “judicious use of space,” not mere luxury. “While I think waste space is the epitome of luxury, we have to decide what kind of waste space suits today’s living and today’s economics. We don’t need a reading room or writing room any more. No one uses them; correspondence is a dying art. We have no need of a tearoom.”
• He had to leave the Waldorf after a highly public indictment in 1958 for income tax evasion. He had been loudly proclaiming his innocence ever since and still had a great reputation as a rather flamboyant manager and a connoisseur of food and wine.
• Despite the charges against him, Philippe had been snapped up to head the food, drink, and catering business at two other hotels, the summit (Opened in 1961 and now the Doubletree) and the Americana.
• Born in Paris, he knew all about wine, food, restaurants and was the epitome of sophistication. He dated Barbara Walters for years and owned a huge rambling house in Peekskill, NY