Sinatra Center Shaping Up--Her Way

This is a crowd that really knows how to raise money. And if the cause is abused children, they work even harder--through the summer heat wave, too.

The goal here is $1.5 million, the sum needed to get the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center under way on the grounds of the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage. And by Nov. 30, when the funds have been tabulated, Barbara Sinatra, president of the board of directors, vice president Paul Jenkins, Saul I. Kamin, George Haydock, Dr. Richard Mahler, John Sinn, Jeff Patterson, the executive director John Shields and members of the development committee like Mimi Albert, Nelda Linsk, Daniel Schwartz, Gene Washburn and Calvin Vander Woude will kick up their heels at a celebration dinner-dance at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Palm Springs. Frank Sinatra will sing.

Mrs. Sinatra has been involved with the Family Counseling Service of Coachella Valley for the past three years. And she’s been a terrific “persuader” in seeking funds from friends for the new center. “Children should be heard. . . . .not hurt,” she’s told them and they’ve responded generously.

Now the counseling center will have its home in the Sinatra complex. Her husband, better known as Ol’ Blue Eyes, has donated the money necessary for the conference hall. Former Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s Walter Annenberg and his wife Lee will be responsible for the center’s administration center and three group service rooms. Mr. and Mrs. Louis Galen are underwriting a Parents United office, Natalie and Danny Schwartz eight counseling rooms, Mr. and Mrs. Leon Hess a sound-proof therapy room, Donald Knutson two play therapy rooms plus the center’s atrium, reference library, courtyard and reception room. Also pitching in are Florence Hamilton, Barbara and Marvin Davis, Zephyr Karahadian, Cecilia P. Straub and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wohlstetter.

It’s not easy to pull a surprise on a smart cookie like Marvin Davis, the bigger-than-life oil and movie tycoon. But he and his wife Barbara and television producer Aaron Spelling and his wife Candy have been a foursome on Saturday nights for years. So when Barbara Davis told her husband they were meeting the Spellings for dinner at Jimmy’s last Saturday night, his antenna didn’t flutter.


And then came the surprise. Lots of above-the-title ranking chums gathered to celebrate Davis’ birthday in high style with decor from Lehr-Spelling, the Canon Drive gifts-and-favors boutique owned by Candy Spelling and Marcia Lehr. All five of the Davis children were there--John, Patty, Nancy, Greg and Dana--along with celebrities like Cary and Barbara Grant, Sally Field with husband producer Alan Greisman, Lucille Ball and her husband Gary Morton, Jimmy and Gloria Stewart, Carole and Walter Matthau (finally back from shooting “Pirates”), Gladyce and David Begelman, Julie and John Forsythe, Ruth and producer Howard Koch, Jolene and George Schlatter, super-agent Michael Ovitz, CBS’ Bud Grant with Linda Fernandez, ABC’s Lew Erlicht with his wife Willie, Mary Carol and attorney Mickey Rudin.

What do you give a man who has everything? Well, Frank and Barbara Sinatra--who weren’t there--sent four giant crystal bowls filled with scoops of ice cream from 31 Flavors. The host, knowing that rumors are circulating that Davis is purchasing the Oakland A’s baseball team, sent in several “little people” dressed in Oakland uniforms (instead of full numbers on their baseball jerseys they had fractions) as pinch hitters for the team.

The Davises and the Spellings have a date this coming Saturday night. But it won’t be quite the same.

The Social Scramble: Livening up a people-packed Morton’s--Johnny Carson (on the eve of his divorce settlement with now ex-wife Joanna) with steady Alex Maas, Wendy and Leonard Goldberg, Kirk Kerkorian (in the midst of selling MGM) and Yvette Mimieux; owner Peter Morton sharing a bon-voyage meal with sister Pamela who was off to India for three weeks; Jayne and Henry Berger still touting the charms of Paris in August.

Jack Bean threw a surprise birthday party for his wife, Mitzi Gaynor, and all the elements were pluperfect. The setting was Bates Hinds’ beautiful Flower Pavilion in Encino, the food was prepared by Milton Williams’ crew and nestled in the icing on the birthday cake was a diamond bracelet.

Lunching at the Bistro Garden--our Ambassador to the Vatican William Wilson and his wife Betty with Audrey (Meadows) and Bob Six and Bill and Mignon Winans.

Dining late at Le St. Germain--Interview magazine’s Brett Vinovich, who’s based in L.A., and Glen Albin who toils in New York.

The sight of Dott. Antonio Colamonici’s jewelry collection at the Jul B. Dizon boutique on Canon Drive set lots of eyes sparkling. Showing up for the cocktail preview were Suzy and Frank Cross, Dale and Charles Snodgrass, Robert and Jane Kramer, Joe Arias (the floral designer for the adjoining Orchidees) and Suzanne Marx. George and Jane Sidney couldn’t make it to the party so they had a private viewing a few days later.

Love Beat: Susan Jeffers, psychologist, lecturer and author, and Mark Shelmerdine, chairman of the board of London Films, were wed at the Hotel Bel-Air last month by Judge Robert London. The bridegroom’s two children by a former marriage flew in from London and the bride’s from New York, joining about 100 other guests for the ceremony, reception and dinner. Shelmerdine, who is currently working on the movie remake of “The Ghost Goes West,” has established an office in Century City and the newlyweds will maintain homes in London and L.A.

Restaurateur Tony Roma and Marcia Donen, who’ve known each other for years, tied the knot recently in New York. They’ll commute between a home in the Hamptons and a Park Avenue apartment.

Red Letter Days: Monday, when Ken Franks of Le Toque gathers his restaurateur friends at the new Orleans Bayou (on the second story above Orleans restaurant, it opens Sept. 13) to support S.O.S. (Share Our Strength) and help fight world hunger. Bill Shore, a senior aide to Sen. Gary Hart, formed S.O.S, a nationwide organization last November. Since then more than 40 local restaurants have joined the L.A. chapter which is headed by Franks.

Tuesday, when Pierre Cosette plays host to a lot of pals for Gloria Loring’s concert at the Westwood Playhouse and the reception after at Stratton’s restaurant.

Sept. 19, when Elizabeth Taylor presents Betty Ford with Aids Project/Los Angeles’ first “Commitment to Life” award at a benefit at the Bonaventure. Shirley MacLaine, Sammy Davis Jr., Mayor Tom Bradley, Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler, Burt Lancaster, Burt Reynolds are just a few of those also getting into the act. The event is expected to raise $1 million.

Sept. 19, when the Tony Masters throws a cocktail party for the Los Angeles Pops Orchestra, its board and old and new members of its Keynote 88 support group.

Sept. 29, when three Santa Monica restaurateurs--Wolfgang Puck of Chinois, Michael McCarty of Michael’s and Gail de Krassel of Scratch--host a gourmet food tasting at Scratch honoring Santa Monica’s mayor pro tem, William Jennings.

Gremlins Get in Our Way: We know as well as any other enthusiastic Padres fan that the team’s owner is Joan Kroc. Somehow or other in the story about Mrs. Kroc receiving the woman of the year award from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital her name came out Jane. We apologize and we promise to root even harder for Joan Kroc’s team this season.