Heavyweight Rainmakers Writing Benefit Forecasts

Times Staff Writer

FUN FUND RAISING--Margaret Brock was set to co-host a luncheon to raise $150,000 for the first mortgage payment for the new GOP state headquarters in Glendale, to be dedicated this summer as the Ronald Reagan Building. But when Republican rainmaker Brock got on the phone with the 15 members of her building committee, they anted up the $10,000 apiece, became founders and decided to skip the lunch.

Sen. Ted Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy come west in September for the first dinner here to fund-raise for the Robert F. Kennedy Peace Prize. Ethel Kennedy’s daughter Courtney has been here organizing support. With three heavy-hitters who’ve signed on to co-host the dinner--producer David Wolper, super-agent Stan Kamin and attorney Neal Papiano--there will be little trouble in filling the tables.

FAST CIRCLES--Danny Sullivan, the winner of the Indy 500, got a glitzy welcome to L.A. this week as producer Jerry Weintraub and real-estate magnate Jim Stout hosted a star-laden event upstairs at the Bistro. Ursula Andress, Jon Voight, Victoria Principal and Peter Cetera (the lead singer with Chicago), were evidence that Weintraub is still Mr. Bipartisanship--on hand were former Democratic Sen. John Tunney and former GOP Lt. Gov. Mike Curb. Curb says he’s out of politics and concentrating on business. . . . Weintraub said John Frankenheimer (“He practiced on ‘Grand Prix’ ”) will be making a film with him on racing next year, “Yankee Lady,” that will co-star Sullivan. The racer is a superstar, Weintraub said, without ever being in a movie, since it’s the first time in racing that the public is rooting for a person, not for a car. “Everybody knows A. J. Foyt’s name, but not what he looks like,” Weintraub said. Michael Mann, executive producer of “Miami Vice,” discussed with Sullivan the possibility of appearing in an episode, which he could probably do in November, when he’ll be in Miami for its Grand Prix.

NUCLEAR NEWS--Seems as though the best-laid and announced plans go astray. The “Imagine There’s a Future” weeklong arts festival, set to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, won’t wind up with a heavy-hitter concert at the Rose Bowl as was announced. “The name talent that they expected is no longer available, so they cannot fill that large a place,” said a spokesperson for the weeklong series, sponsored by Hollywood Women’s Coalition and the Interfaith Center to Reverse the Arms Race. Still set are daylong symposiums, an evening symposium, art exhibits and a film festival.


THEOLOGICALLY--At the annual meeting of the American Booksellers Assn., author/sociologist/novelist/priest Father Andrew Greeley concluded a 12-minute talk--"precisely the length of a Sunday homily"--by offering a glowing and laudatory introduction of “Illiterate America” author Jonathan Kozol. “Don’t be envious,” Kozol countered. “I’m Jewish. I can’t go to heaven.” On the contrary, Greeley retorted: “The Catholic doctrine is only certain that there are two people in heaven, and they’re both Jewish. One is even a Jewish mother.” However, Greeley then pointed out, “God, as we all know--God, she is Irish.”

TOE-TAPPING--Arco’s Bill Kieschnick and his wife, Keith, like to dance and are seen at benefits strutting their stuff on the dance floor. But no dance floor at Monday night’s benefit for the L.A. Chamber Orchestra at the Beverly Hilton--especially surprising since Kieschnick was the honorary chair. That was the only bump in a smooth evening. Maestro Gerald Schwartz started it all out right by conducting “popular music . . . and no one is now more popular than Mozart.” Then some slick studio musicians came on stage to join the classical types, and Lou Rawls managed music that would have put anyone on a dance floor. P.S. What a thrill for the guy in charge of the drums and cymbals--not too much work in most classical pieces, but playing background for Rawls was like the “1812 Overture” three times over. What amazed those at stageside was how the studio sax player, who dabbled in the flute, managed to chew gum between passages but never missed a beat.

IN THE WRY--Matt Salinger, the son of publicity-shunning author J. D. Salinger, is making a public statement. First, he’s in Hollywood becoming an actor. And, he’s signed on at Pro Peace, the anti-nuclear group.

MORE DUDLEY--When last noted, Dudley Moore was playing lounge piano at Ma Maison. That little devil then showed up at Trumps for breakfast. No matter that the eatery doesn’t open until noon. He banged on the door, Chef Michael Roberts let him in for coffee and, just before lunchers arrived, Moore ducked out. He’s been back with the regular customers several times in the last week to dine on Roberts’ New American cuisine, as did Tom Selleck, who ate a frugal lunch of swordfish, then spent the meal picking at his dinner mate’s fried chicken.


NEW RECORDS?--The Tuesday night $1,000-a-plate dinner in San Francisco for Gov. George Deukmejian has set a supposed new S.F. record, bringing in $800,000. Tonight’s dinner, at the Century Plaza, will supposedly do another record take. Last year’s dual benefits produced upwards of $1.5 million. And the L.A. dinner also produced some controversy when a comedian zeroed in on the delicate area of wrinkles, gravity and middle-aged women--several of whom stalked out of the ballroom. Gee, what’s the encore?

BEFORE ITS TIME--Media whiz Pacy Markman swears he has discovered the Cure for the Common Cult. He’s planning a 24-hour Cult Clinic, where you get programmed, panic your parents and then get deprogrammed--all in one day--and have something to talk about at subsequent cocktail parties. Don’t call him. He’ll know to call you.

IMPORTED FARE--Of the 12 chefs who helped raise $500,000 at this week’s Citymeals benefit at Rockefeller Center in New York City, five were Californians. That’s Spago’s Wolfgang Puck, Campton Place’s Bradley Ogden, Jeremiah Tower from Stars, Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters, Mark Miller (former owner of the Fourth Street Grill). Also, L.A. expatriate Jonathan Waxman, now owner of N.Y.'s Jams. The benefit raised $225,000 from the $250-a-head tickets--and an anonymous angel doubled it.

UNKNOWN--Still unannounced is what the junior former Gov. Edmund G. Brown is writing his book about. This, however, is known--he hies himself off to Bolinas several days a week. (That’s the Northern California coastal town where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds.”) And when one rings up the phone number of writer Orville Schell, the message machine volunteers to take messages for “Jerry.” Schell won’t discuss the Junior Former’s book topic, and despite reports of editors who have seen Brown’s raw writings in the past, insists that he’s a really good writer. One insider said the book was about politics, on where the Democratic Party should go. But Brown won’t return phone calls--so who knows?


HOMECOMING--Bill Banowsky, the former president of Pepperdine, the University of Oklahoma, and, for six weeks, the head of the L. A. Chamber of Commerce, will be back in town next week. He’s recently been named president of the privately held Gaylord Broadcasting Co. in Dallas, and will be here to discuss TV development projects with the Gaylord Production Co. Ed Gaylord not only produces TV shows, but owns seven television stations and the Opryland U.S.A. complex in Nashville.

RUNNING WILD--On June 26 when offices close downtown, instead of hoisting a white wine, healthy downtown executives and others will take part in the Heart of the City Run, a 5-K race sponsored by Union Bank for the American Heart Assn. It’s the first time a runner can finish a hard day at work and then really get to work. Union Bank’s Fred Hartley, Security Pacific Bank’s Richard Flamson II, Philip M. Hawley, of Carter Hawley Hale, and Arco’s Bill Kieschnick join other heavy hitters sponsoring the run--which allows corporate teams to enter five runners for $1,000 (two must be women) and individuals for $100. And for such a good cause.