Society / Profiles

With Lynn Wyatt Turning 87, the Texas Grande Dame Shares Some Surprising, Heartfelt and Inspirational Life Lessons

Wyatt and Shelby Hodge Meet Over Champagne and Popcorn

BY // 07.15.22

Today, we wish the fabulous Lynn Wyatt a very happy birthday as it was July 16, 1935, that this glorious soul entered the world, a debut that promised a splendiferous life of celebrations. Indeed, her birthday for many decades was fêted at her villa in the South of France, a soirée attended by Hollywood elite, international notables and European royalty.

La Wyatt celebrates her birthday (which is this Saturday, July 16) this year with family at the South Texas ranch and in a tradition that was established some years ago by Sanford Criner, with a birthday lunch with her “boyfriends.” Museum of Fine Arts, Houston director Gary Tinterow is heading the gathering applauding Wyatt’s 87th.

On a recent afternoon in Lynn Wyatt’s River Oaks home, we discussed over champagne (with ice, please) and popcorn (her favorite combo) the wisdom that she has gained through the decades in the international spotlight. Wyatt provided reams of notes that she had shared with writers and audiences over the years.

When you are best friends with Elton John, Andy Warhol and Princess Grace of Monaco; have hosted Britain’s Princess Margaret, Mick Jagger, Sarah Ferguson and more in your River Oaks Boulevard home; have attained Hall of Fame status on the International Best Dressed List; and have devoted hours and funds for numerous arts organizations and charities, you clearly have something meaningful to say.

BFFs Elton John, Lynn Wyatt and David Furnish at brunch chez Wyatt during Houston Super Bowl festivities in 2017 (Photo by Jenny Antill Clifton)

On acknowledging her birthday, Wyatt frequently is known to frequently tell her celebrants, “I don’t like to count my birthdays but I sure as hell like to celebrate them . . . I feel completely alive, living in this moment, fully engaged and I’ll remember everything. So watch out!”

Living in the Moment

Wyatt often says, “The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was ‘Live in the moment. Laugh a lot and love a lot.’ ”

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“Close your eyes right now,” she challenged her audience at a charity luncheon, “and try to recall just one of those experiences in which suddenly you felt truly in the moment, as if you were awakened if only for an instant, felt so alive by being fully engaged and how alive you felt, could you do that?

“Learning how to live in the moment seems to me to enable us to appreciate more the things that we often take for granted.”

Manners

“I taught my boys (she has four sons) manners matter most,” Wyatt tells PaperCity while recalling explaining her view on the subject to W magazine.”Good manners are simply being considerate of others. It teaches us to get along with other people. It becomes so much a part of our daily lives, we don’t realize how getting along with others is really having respect and being courteous to other human beings.

“We cannot interact with others without treating people with courtesy and kindness unless we have manners.”

Andy Warhol, Lynn & Oscar Wyatt, and Diane Von Furstenberg get down at Gilley’s to celebrate the release of “Urban Cowboy,” 1980. (Photo John Van Beekum)

A Soulful Observation

“The light inside is an ever-lasting light,” Wyatt says. “It is a different light than the spotlight. Some people are hungry for the spotlight but that light isn’t nourishing to the soul. Inside light is so brilliantly bright that it would burn your eyes if it were on the outside.

“Yet, it warms us when it is the light inside. It guides us when we live in it. It is our protector. It continues to shine in the darkness of all nights.”

Change Of Course

“Life sometimes forces us to abandon our best-made plans and forces us down another path,” Wyatt notes. “We must allow ourselves to be vulnerable, be willing to be open and pay complete attention, listening, seeing and feeling with our entire being, respond to change with as much fearlessness we can muster up. And, above all, have an open heart.”

As with anyone, there have been lesser charming moments in her life including husband Oscar Wyatt’s incarceration in a minimum security federal prison in Beaumont.

“The road to life is occasionally filled with potholes. Some deep and some shallow,” Wyatt tells PaperCity. “No matter. I think one must live life as an adventure and dance around those potholes, always looking forward towards the road ahead.

“Your friends are your friends no matter what and their love and support has propelled me to jump higher over those potholes.”

Houston Ballet Academy students dressed from the ballet’s ‘Swan Lake’ production flank Lynn Wyatt and ballet artistic director Stanton Welch at the 2018 Ballet Ball.

The Arts

“The arts are so important to Texas and beyond because I feel the culture of a city reflects its soul and the more choices of greatness we can offer, the brighter our flame will grow,” Wyatt says.

She notes the philanthropies that are most important to her: The Star of Hope Mission for the Homeless of which she is a life trustee; the Princess Grace Foundation, USA of which she is a founding trustee and Princess Grace Awards inaugural chair; and Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Alley Theatre, for all of which she has held various board positions.

133_MADRothkoDOrtizPhoto_082919 (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Lynn Wyatt at MAD, Rothko chapel benefit (Daniel Ortiz photo)

On Being Happy

“My idea of happiness is drinking Moet & Chandon or Cristal champagne, with ice, while munching lightly buttered popcorn — my favorite combination,” Wyatt says. “I’m a Texas girl that loves adventure.

“I like the juxtaposition of stalking game one day then dressing up for a glamorous black-tie evening the next night.”

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