A Couple of Chances to Press Some Famous Flesh

Times Staff Writer

Two summer events that will make those hot-to-press-the-flesh of the famous run for their checkbooks and schedules:

For the first time since ’82, President Ronald Reagan makes a fund-raising jaunt into California. It’s Aug. 22--that’s the correct date--and is a benefit for the California Republican Party, a $1,000-per-dish dinner at the Century Plaza.

And, the socially secure will hustle to get invited to one of the smaller events sources tell us are being planned for the visit of the president of the People’s Republic of China, Li Xiannian. He’ll stop in L.A. as part of a U.S. trip that includes a White House state dinner July 23. Probably in the offing is a smaller reception with Gov. George Deukmejian. Mayor Tom Bradley and the L.A. World Affairs Council will honor the Chinese official with a summer gala at the Century Plaza July 27. Please note the ticket price--$32 a person. Not a benefit, naturellement .

OUT-OF-TOWNERS--The summer rush to the gold in L.A. and Beverly Hills begins this week with Pamela Harriman’s $1,000-a-seat benefit for her Democrats for the ‘80s. They’re expecting upward of 200 at the Century Plaza Tower Room Saturday night, in this, Mrs. Averell Harriman’s first Southland venture. “A lot of people laughed at me,” she told us recently, describing her and her husband’s founding in 1980 of their political action committee. “But they’re not laughing now.” No way. Last year the $900,000 her PAC gave to federal and state candidates made it No. 1 in independent political action committees. “We’re an accepted part of the Democratic Party” said the naturalized citizen and English import (a daughter of the 11th Lord Digby, married for the duration of World War II to Randolph Churchill, then widowed by producer Leland Hayward). Patrician enough to knock the socks off our city’s crowd of star followers, her role in Washington is as a serious political force. Last week she raised $140,000 for Sen. Alan Cranston with 40 people paying the $1,000 tab even though they knew the event was already full. The frequent “issue evenings” at the Harrimans’ Georgetown home feature folks like Rep. Dick Gephardt, who chairs the Democratic Caucus, Rep. Les Aspin, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee . . . Considering that the battle in 1986 is over control of the Senate, it’s no surprise that the GOP types will be out here. Look at some of the heavy hitters who’ve signed on the committee for the Sen. Bob Packwood $1,000-a-head dinner in August (and aren’t some of them usually in the Democratic category?): real estate exec Lawrence J. Weinberg, Judge Joseph Shane, Joseph J. Pinola, Jack Valenti, Barry Diller and standard GOP big givers Benjamin F. Biaggini, Robert O. Anderson and Roy Anderson. Southern California Edison’s Howard P. Allen chairs the Aug. 5 event, which will bring in an excess of $300,000 . . . Considering how hard some work for their campaign money, it sure seems easy for the adorable Sen. Bob Dole, whose supporters will pay $1,000 to attend an hour-and-a-half reception for him on June 30. William M. Keck II will host the event at Chasen’s.


WAY WITH WORDS--Potential sponsors for the $500-a-head fund-raising dinner Tuesday at Chasen’s for D.A. Ira Reiner got this landmark letter. “My first six months in office have been marked by work, work and more work! . . . prosecution to achieve a reasonable measure of personal safety for the people of Los Angeles County is our ultimate goal. Unfortunately, while we concentrate on this goal, we must also recognize the reality of the fund-raising deficit incurred in running for office. To date, my campaign has a deficit of $750,000. I don’t like it . . . " Another non-traditional fund-raising approach could be the ad on CNN this week, with Sen. Gary Hart asking for help to get out of his still-heavy debt from his ’84 presidential try . . . And Mayor Bradley’s Inaugural Ball will itself be a fund-raiser. Make those $250 checks out to Friends of Bradley and you get to go to the June 29 cocktails-and-buffet spread at the atrium of the Crocker Plaza.

GEE, GORDON--The Confederate Air Force (which preserves in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft flown in WWII) puts out a magazine, the CAF Dispatch, telling about chapters around the country. The current issue includes info on the “Old Dominion Squadron” in Virginia, with pictures of the squadron officers. And isn’t the “Legal Officer” peaking out from the picture of a cadre of CAFers the same G. Gordon Liddy of Watergate days? We love the fact that no other reference to Mr. Liddy is made in the article.

PIECE OF CAKE--Set to shuttle between two major events Thursday night was Andrea Van de Kamp. She planned to see her husband, Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp, present the Alternative Living for the Aging’s Achievement Award to his mother, Georgie Van de Kamp at the Beverly Hilton, then she’d head to the Century Plaza for the fund-raiser for State Sen. Art Torres. One of the roasters at the $200-a-head event for Torres, Andrea’s kidding finale to the Eastside legislator: “Remember, Art, friends may come and go. But enemies--they accumulate.”

WELL-DONE--"What do you do with several hundred pounds of 50-year-old Italian beef? You roast it.” That’s what the invitation to political consultant Joe Cerrell’s surprise 50th birthday party at Chasen’s promised, hosted by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, state Sen. William Campbell and “other great people.” Jokes did center on Joe’s propensity to gain weight and pick losing candidates (John Glenn’s name brought rounds of laughter). And although Joe was a hot-and-heavy Democrat in the ‘60s, he now helps both sides--witness First Daughter Maureen Reagan’s role as a roaster. Of course, when it was mentioned that Joe might convert to GOPism, Maureen--mindful of Glenn, et al--shouted out, “No, no.”


KUDOS--Last Saturday, state Sen. Ed Davis sent a stand-in to the Hollywood Hills home of Philip K. Brent and Patrick Lynn to pick up his humanitarian-of-the-year award from a coalition of Republicans supporting gay rights. Davis--now a U.S. Senate hopeful and a primary legislative backer of rights for gays--couldn’t make it to the swanky cocktail party. He had a previous campaign commitment in Marin County, but he sent a letter with Manhattan Beach’s Sen. Robert G. Beverly, thanking CIRCL-PAC for the honor. Beverly and Assemblyman Bill Filante were also honored for supporting AIDS issues. Looking on were Councilmen John Ferraro and Joel Wachs. CIRCL-PAC--Californians for Individual Rights and Civil Liberties--is the political arm of the Log Cabin Clubs of Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange counties and the Concerned Republicans for Individual Rights from San Francisco. The organizations were formed to educate the Republican Party about the gay community and vice versa. Said Beverly in accepting Davis’ award: “It boggles the mind a bit as I think about it . . .”

TURNING THE TABLES--Her friends in the corporate world turned the tables on veteran fund-raiser Joyce Valdez and gave her a black-tie dinner this week at Jimmy’s--smallish by Valdez standards, but certainly packed with the heavy hitters she turns out for GOP efforts. Toasting her were Brawn’s Billie Green, Unocal’s Hal Shawlee, Arco’s William Kieschnick, Carter Hawley Hale’s Don Livingston and roasting her was Hughes Aircraft’s Jim Hurst. Best line among the many telegrams from political types came from Interior Department special Western rep Carol Hallett--"When Joyce gives the last supper, you can be sure she’ll have a cash bar.”

OVERHEARD--Decorator Robert Colbaugh, making his way down Melrose Avenue and coming to a particularly unattractive shop window: “Quick. Call the Aesthetic Police.” . . . And, a mother signing in to a Westside pediatrician’s office: “Both my new married name and my name before are different than my kid’s name . . . " Lucky she lives in L.A.

SEEN AROUND: “Airplane’s” Robert Hays opting for a slower ride--on the black stallion on the Santa Monica Pier’s carrousel Sunday. So appropriate in his cowboy boots . . . Jacqueline Bisset, in a pink tie and silk shantung suit, lunching with agent Ben Benjamin at Ivy, with Mel Ferrer at a nearby table . . . Marlo Thomas in Trumps in the late afternoon . . .