LOS ANGELES (Jun. 14)
Sure, ladies, you want to meet the right man, but would you shell out $125,000 for an introduction? Anne Majerik, a 60-year-old widow and grandmother, paid that amount to Orly Hadida, who bills herself as a former Miss Israel and now as the Beverly Hills-based “Rolls-Royce of matchmakers.”
The fee wasn’t even a record for Orly, who goes by her first name. She charges $200,000 for her “money-back guaranteed billionaire search with international men having estates worth up to $50 million.”
But in her lawsuit against Orly, Majerik told a Los Angeles civil jury that her promised dream date with a supposed international banker ended up in a meeting with a lowly interpreter who worked in a bank.
Orly filed a counterclaim for $700,000, arguing that Majerik was a serial suer of matchmakers who turned off dates by rude questions about their income and wealth.
In its verdict last month, the jury hit Orly with a $2.1 million judgment, but wasn’t exactly taken by Majerik either.
Several jurors said they had voted for an award of $20 million, on condition that all the money go to charity. The judge turned down the idea.
Even in a city famed for its self-promoters, Orly holds more than her own.
In videos, testimonials and press interviews on her Web site — www.orlythematchmaker.com — Orly lays claim to having been an Israeli beauty queen, model, actress and soldier and a listing in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s most expensive matchmaker.
She has also written an advice book on successful relationships, which includes the caveat, “Do not have sex on your first date.”
During 25 years in the business, she has been a ubiquitous guest on radio and television chat shows. In one appearance, she managed the considerable feat of preventing TV host Bill Maher and comedian Martin Short from getting a word in edgewise.
Neither Orly, usually avid to talk to the media, nor her lawyer responded to requests for more specific details about her life.
In past interviews, Orly, who is now 50ish, said she learned her craft from her parents in Israel.
Their most successful match, she said, was to marry off their daughter to Dr. Ron Lapin, a physician and practitioner of bloodless surgery.
The dream marriage dissolved and triggered a colorful trial in 1988, in which Lapin accused Orly of kidnapping their two small children.
According to the mutual recriminations, life in the couple’s mansion, felicitously named “Casa Shalom,” was never dull.
Orly accused her ex-spouse of being a child molester, philanderer, homosexual, and drug and alcohol abuser. He responded by claiming that Orly had threatened to kill their children if he didn’t give her $100,000, and worse, putting sugar in the gas tank of his Mercedes.
Orly was acquitted of the kidnapping charges but her husband retained custody of the children. Both sides denied each other’s accusations.
Whatever the temporary setbacks, Orly’s Web site is up and running, urging viewers to avail themselves of the services of the best matchmaker in the world.