Socialite was in-demand guest for parties

Sullivan writes for the Washington Post.

In the 1950s and '60s, if Virginia Warren Daly came to your party, you had it made. Effervescent, beautiful and popular with the opposite sex, the daughter of Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren was a staple of the society columns in Washington and New York.

Daly died of cancer Feb. 19 at her Washington home. She was 80.

Daly was at all the best parties of the era.

She and her husband -- news broadcaster John Charles Daly, moderator of the long-running television quiz show "What's My Line?" -- attended Truman Capote's lavish 1966 Black and White Ball in New York.

Among the 510 artists, scientists, diplomats, entertainers and tycoons, "there was no main table, but one was exceedingly popular," society reporter Charlotte Curtis wrote in the New York Times. "It was where Mr. (Frank) Sinatra, (actress) Claudette Colbert, John Daly and his wife, the former Virginia Warren, and Mrs. Leland Hayward, wife of the producer, sat."

Renowned Washington hostess Perle Mesta described Daly in 1956 as "a charming and lovely American girl" in an effort to arrange a romance for her with Prince Napoleon Murat, a descendant of the French emperor.

Her attendance and attire were meticulously recorded at all the gala events of the day, along with that of Austine "Bootsie" Hearst, wife of media owner William Randolph Hearst Jr.; Rep. Lindy Boggs (D-La.); and the ambassadorial couple of Robin and Angier Biddle Duke.

Daly, who was rarely quoted in the news media, enjoyed traveling the world with hotel magnate Conrad "Connie" Hilton, her daughter said.

Virginia Warren was born in Oakland in September 1928 and grew up in a political household.

She was a youngster when her father was elected attorney general of California and then governor three times.

At 20, she campaigned for her father in 1948, when he was the Republican vice presidential nominee on the losing ticket with Thomas Dewey. An Associated Press report that year said she stole the show from her father at the University of Wisconsin campus, where students hooted and whistled at the photogenic young woman and demanded her autograph.

She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1950.

She married Daly in 1960 in San Francisco, and the couple lived in New York before moving to suburban Chevy Chase, Md., and later Washington.

Daly never worked outside the home, her daughter said, but she had been secretary of the Supreme Court Historical Society and volunteered at Georgetown University Hospital's cancer ward.

Her husband died in 1991.

Survivors include three children, John Warren Daly of Los Angeles, John Earl Jameson Daly of St. Helena, Calif., and Nina Elisabeth Daly of Los Angeles; a sister; and two brothers.

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