Weintraubs in Spotlight for Art Assn. Orchid Ball

Former songbird Jane Morgan Weintraub and her husband, Jerry, the producer, are the couple being honored at the National Art Assn.'s 15th Orchid Ball. Always a spectacularly beautiful event, we're told this 15th annual event will be absolutely breathtaking. And we believe it.

Massed around the Grand Ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire on the night of April 19 will be sprays of orchids from Australia, Japan, Hawaii, South America and here and there in the United States. They'll blend in awesome splendor with cymbidiums from the Bel-Air garden of Mrs. Bert Burgess Malouf, co-founder of the National Art Assn. with her sister, Mrs. Thomas Malouf, and Mrs. Glen McDaniel. Up to now it's been Marion Malouf who has furnished all the flowers for the ball's decor. This year she'll have plenty of help. Robb Friedline of Petersen's is doing the arranging and adding his signature, live birds, to the decor.

At a recent ball committee luncheon meeting at the Regency Club, ball chairman and NAA first vice president Mrs. Robert A. Heebner revealed a few interesting facts. The Weintraubs, she said, are being honored for their "contributions to the arts and for their philanthropic work in the community." Jane and Jerry are actively involved in the L.A. County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Music Center, the Children's Museum and the NAA, which raises money for scholarships for art students, fine arts programs at various colleges and universities and special projects at museums and the State Department's Americana Rooms.

While Florence Malouf, Maude Chasen, Merle Kingsley, Victoria Bolker, Mrs. Robert Westmyer, Mrs. Donald Hicks, NAA President Mrs. Edward Warde, Mrs. William Hollingsworth, Shirley Huntington, Mrs. William Feathers, Noreen Siegel and Mrs. Earle Crandall enjoyed their Regency lunch Jacque Heebner also revealed that Neiman-Marcus will provide the table favors and Shony Alex Braun's Romantique Strings, who recently played at the White House, will come up with the music. Mrs. Heebner's friend, Mrs. Robert Jeffords of West Palm Beach, who is recognized as one of the world's largest orchid growers, is donating some of her prize specimens for the Orchid Ball and plans to be there with her husband to see for herself how well her contributions blend in with other species.

Previous NAA honorees have been First Lady Nancy Reagan (1969), Vice President George Bush's wife Barbara (1981), Irene Dunne (1983), Ann and Gordon Getty (1984), the Armand Hammers (1978) and former First Lady Betty Ford (1975).

Red Letter Days: Monday is the dedication of the Estelle Doheny Hospital with ceremony, buffet luncheon and tours hosted by the board of directors of the Estelle Doheny Eye Foundation; March 31 for the Richstone Family Center's "Cats" theater party (the center's executive director, Dorothy Courtney, has more details); March 25 for the Olivier Bernier lecture on "Louis XIV, His Friends, His Foes," sponsored by the County Museum of Art's Costume Council and the William and Mary Greve Foundation at the Museum; March 20 for the Beverly Hills Educational Foundation's tribute to former Ambassador Walter Annenberg with Toni Tenille singing in front of Ray Moshay's 23-piece show orchestra.

The Social Scramble: James Sherwood, who owns the Orient Express, the train with such grand memories, has just paid 1.4 million pounds for the Illustrated London News, which began publishing 143 years ago and spawned such saucy publications as the Tattler and the Sketch. Sherwood's partners in this venture are the U.K. subsidiary of Sea Containers Ltd. and Munroe Pofcher, a New York publishing properties broker. And you must already know that San Francisco socialite Mrs. Gordon Getty (now making a big splash among New York's finest) and Britain's Lord Weidenfeld pooled their dollars and cents to buy New York's Grove Press.

Peter Nicklin, tennis pro and teacher to some of the most limber of Hollywood stars, is back from a most successful and unusual tennis tournament. Home base was the luxe Sea Goddess and the tennis courts where Lloyd Bridges, Bernie Kopell, Robert Stack and their wives, Mike Douglas and Linda Evans played in such ports of call as Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic, Palmas del Mar in St. Thomas and Mullet Bay in St. Maarten.

Michael Croft, director-founder of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, and Jack Nakano, project director of the California Youth Theatre, were in the limelight the other night at a reception hosted by British Consul General and Mrs. Donald Ballentyne at their residence. The nonprofit theater groups for 18- and 19-year-old actors will combine forces for their first joint three-production program at the Wadsworth Theatre in West Los Angeles June 28-Aug. 4.

Sotheby's, always a classy training station for Europe and New York's jeunesse doree (Caroline Kennedy was a recent trainee before she moved on to the Metropolitan Museum of Art), has added a new title to its board. The auction house now headed by the daring Alfred Taubman has appointed the Infanta Pilar of Spain to its board which already numbers in its ranks San Francisco's Ann Getty, major art collector Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza of Switzerland, former Palm Beach Mayor and former Ambassador Earl E.T. Smith and England's the Earl of Westmorland. The Infanta, also known as the Duchess of Badajoz, is the elder sister of Spain's King Juan Carlos and the granddaughter of the late King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Queen Victoria Eugenia of Battenberg, one of Queen Victoria's granddaughters.

A good group gathered in the Beverly Hills Hotel's Sunset Room for Muriel Slatkin's cocktail reception celebrating Joanna Barnes' new novel "Silverwood" (it will be a CBS-TV mini series). Among those invited were Gladyce and David Begelman, Victoria Principal, the John Irelands, Ruth and Howard Koch, Pamela Mason and daughter Portland, Edana Romney, the Irving Wallaces.

Past Tense: Down in the desert, J. Curtis Kent hosted a brunch at the Racquet Club for such chums as San Francisco's Mrs. Richard Miller, Giney Milner, Patrick and Gerry Frawley, and Joseph and Patricia (Medina) Cotten.

Dona Powell celebrated her birthday at a dinner party at the Bistro hosted by Matilda and Gabriel Barnett. Surrounding the birthday girl were Prince Nicky Toumanoff, Arthur Spitzer, New Yorker Kathleen Land, actor Charles Fawcett, and Dona's best chum, Peter Summers.

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