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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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plus $100,000 for ten years as an additional advantage. Now, we'd had no bid for more than half a million from any other company. And with the foreign gifts and this amount of money, it made it possible for us to have over $16,300,000 with which to match.

I can't stress too much the fact that Lem Billings and then Becker were key in this, Lem Billings in keeping the President interested and keeping the Kennedy family thinking about the thing because they finally did give the $500,000 in spite of the unbelievable blank spaces that they seemed to have in their minds about it. They finally pulled it together and we finally are going to see this built. But in my whole life I've never known such a series of frustrations. I asked Chagall to give two decorations for either side of the entrance to the opera. Chagall was interested in this, and at the very moment I was about to get him to really decide on this, the Metropolitan Opera had a committee on which I sat which received some money from a foundation; and the foundation--not the committee because the rest of the committee didn't like Chagall--insisted that Chagall should do two decorations for the Met. They were willing to provide $260,000 for this. We were willing to do nothing. The Kennedy Center expected

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