N.Y. to Say Hello, Dolly at Benefit

The country-Western queen, tousle-haired Dolly Parton, will dazzle New York society March 5 when she performs in concert to benefit the New York Hospital- Cornell Medical Center in the Waldorf-Astoria's Grand Ballroom. To make our Dolly feel right at home, the glossy New York crowd (they'll be paying from $500 to $1,500 for the privilege) is being asked to wear something country-Western. If for some reason some of them don't cotton to the idea, black tie will be OK.

This will be the third annual cabaret (this year it's, of course, Cabaret '85) for the benefit of the "clinical and educational heart" of what is called by some experts the greatest biomedical complex in the world. Cabaret '85 is being co-chaired by two New York powerhouses, Mrs. Milton Petrie and Walter B. Wriston, the former chairman of Citibank.

Dolly's turn comes right after a cocktail reception where Cornell Medical School students will serenade guests and a country-Western dinner coordinated by food consultant Marilyn Evins, wife of the shoe man, will be served in the Grand Ballroom.

Saturday night's celebrity dinner-dance at the La Quinta Hotel and Tennis Club came mid-way in the Barbara Sinatra World Corporate Tennis Championships sponsored by Smith Barney. Barbara Sinatra is honorary chairman of the tournament, which began Friday, and she also is competing seriously in the games. Besides being Frank Sinatra's wife, a great traveling companion and a fine hostess, she's also a terror on the courts.

Mimi Albert, who chaired the dinner (Barbara Kaplan was co-chair and Beverley Lewis handled the decorations), said the $150-per-person party raised money for the Family Service of Coachella Valley to help support the service's treatment program for sexually abused children.

Pale blue forget-me-nots are the symbol for the relatively new (it was founded in 1983) John Douglas French Foundation for Alzheimer's Disease. And they'll be everywhere on March 3 when the foundation's Founding Associates put on their first fund-raising dinner-dance in the Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom.

It's going to be a night for "Very Special Moments With Very Special Friends." Those friends include Dorothy Kirsten French, who sang with New York's Metropolitan Opera for about 30 years and gave up her career three years ago when her husband, Dr. French, co-founder and former director of the UCLA Brain Research Institute, was diagnosed as a victim of Alzheimer's disease. On March 3, Dorothy will be on stage singing an aria from "Madame Butterfly," one of the roles that helped make her famous. Also on the roster of performers that night are Jack Lemmon, who will play the piano, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, Helen Hayes and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.

According to Associates president Sally Stewart and event chairman Lillian Prusan, the $200-per-plate dinner will raise money to help fund research grants for scientists working to find the cause, cure and key to the prevention of the brain disease and for the development of model hospitals for Alzheimer's disease patients.

Vitally involved with the foundation and its fund-raising activities are executive committee members Eleanor Wasson (her husband, George Wasson, the entertainment attorney, died last week after a long bout with Alzheimer's), Warren Crowell, Richard K. Eamer and Frank McCarthy; and board members John J. Erteszek, Charles Luckman, William Pagen, Barbara McHenry Pauley, Jennifer Jones Simon, George Fenimore and Fredrick Waingrow.

It started in France. Naturally. Founded in 1958 by the Marquise d'Amodio, by now the Friends of Vielles Maisons Francaises list 20,000 members, all of them concerned with the restoration of great houses, buildings and churches in France and with the training of young carpenters and masons in the special skills needed for these restorations. The Friends branched off to the New World where headquarters are in New York. Next stop, Los Angeles, where the local chapter was founded in 1983 by Edie Dunn Frere, who grew up in Hancock Park and later found herself serving as Ambassador Angie Biddle Duke's assistant in Denmark and social secretary to U.S. Ambassador Arthur Watson in Paris.

Edie is very much back home now and ready to help host the local Friends' first mini fund-raiser, a French wine tasting in the Pacific Palisades. For the $40 price of a ticket guests will sample as many as they can of a line-up of French champagnes, Pouilly-Fuisses, Macon Rouges, Chenin Blancs and more spirits totaling 23 and donated by the Schallert Wine Co. and Heublein.

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