In San Francisco, novelist Danielle Steel and her husband John Traina gave an elegant little dinner party for the cast of “Crossings,” the miniseries (based on one of the hostess’ best-selling books) currently shooting in the City by the Bay. In Los Angeles, the Beverly Wilshire’s president George White and his wife Ronnie invited about 30 friends to meet Madame Jihan Sadat over dinner in the hotel’s Fiesta Room. In Holmby Hills, Candy Spelling, Marcia Lehr and Ellen Lehr Black hosted a ladies’ luncheon in the Spelling home to introduce the newest addition to the Lehr-Spelling boutique--pretty jewelry. And in Beverly Hills, Helene and Dr. Joseph Pollock had friends in for a Sunday-night buffet at their newly remodeled home.
Danielle Steel, the dark-haired, prolific writer, walked about the beautifully appointed living room of the family mansion in Pacific Heights carrying blond baby Vanessa on one hip, extending the other hand to her guests. Visibly pregnant (the newcomer is due next spring), she looked wonderfully fit in a sweeping dark gray silk hostess gown. Traina did a lot of greeting on his own while explaining some of the finer points of collecting such delectables as jade and malachite and Faberge cigarette boxes. More Steel-Traina children of various ages were about, blending nicely with the piquant mix of Hollywood and San Francisco society.
In a Sea of Chocolate Fudge
Dinner was served in the paneled dining room where fine wines and Cristal champagne accompanied the mushroom tart, the lamb and the profiteroles swimming in a sea of chocolate fudge. And the evening came to an early end as “Crossings” producer Howard Koch, an amiable man, firmly rounded up his crew and wife Ruth, and off they went into the night aboard the Trainas’ baby van.
Jane Seymour and her husband David Flynn had had a busy day, driving their daughter from Santa Barbara to Beverly Hills so she could be part of a fashion show, then zooming to S.F. for the party. Cheryl Ladd and husband Brian Russell nested on a sofa; Stewart Granger and executive producer E. Duke Vincent charmed the ladies; attorney Lou Blau and his wife chatted with friends. The S.F. contingent sparkled, too--columnist Herb Caen with Terri Follett, Mrs. Francis Martin (better known as Nini), Jimmy and Gloria Stewart’s handsome daughter Judy and her husband Stephen Merrill, Prentis and Denise Hale and the effervescent Charlotte Mailliard, who had left husband Jack at home to dine on fresh abalone.
Baubles for a Bonus Dessert
While Aaron Spelling, home nursing a cold, was upstairs worrying about what he was getting for lunch, down in the spacious projection room wife Candy’s luncheon guests were enjoying a feast--strawberry daiquiris, small souffles, poached salmon, strawberry gateau and chocolate truffles. But better than dessert for this stylishly dressed crowd was the after-lunch special--a look and a try-on of Nicole Jewelers’ serious diamond, emerald and pearl baubles (they’ll be available at Lehr-Spelling immediately).
Eva Gabor, who’d arrived from Washington the night before, preferred her lollipop ring, part of the loot on the beautifully decorated tables (feathered and jeweled dolls’ faces on mirrored columns formed the centerpieces), which all the guests tucked into LS-monogrammed green bags. “It goes with my suit,” Eva smiled, flashing the “ring” for all to admire. Marcia Lehr, who claims to dislike speaking before a crowd, did very well indeed in her welcome speech to the likes of Hollywood Park’s Marje Everett, Ginny Mancini, Jill St. John (she reported that R. J. Wagner, her best friend, is crazy about thoroughbred horses), Gladyce Begelman, Jolene Schlatter, Joanna Carson, Veronique Peck, Sandra Moss, Judy Shepherd, Julie Forsythe and a few more of the kind of ladies who appreciate the finer things.
Renewing Old Acquaintances
At the Whites’ small and cozy dinner party, Jihan Sadat put everyone at ease with her charm and warmth. Egypt’s former First Lady, here to speak to a meeting of the Women for International Understanding, had a chance to chat with everyone after Caroline Ahmanson made the introductions. Former Atty. Gen. William French Smith and his wife Jean, who were going on to another party, renewed their friendship; Charles and Harriet Luckman and Lois and Art Linkletter lingered over conversations; Litton chairman Fred and Millie O’Green remembered their last visit to Egypt.
Down from San Francisco were Dr. and Mrs. Charles Hemphill (she’s president of WIU) and Ina Lerer; from Washington, Lee Kimche McGrath. The local batch included publisher Seth Baker with Katherine Kilroy, Stuart and Mary Davis, Mrs. Miguel Llanos, anchorman Jess Marlow and his wife Phyllis. And accompanying Madame Sadat were Brig. Gen. Essam Hiezy and Lila Hakki.
Both the dessert (Lee Gelfond’s milk chocolate camels resting against dark chocolate pyramids) and the centerpieces (David Wittry’s tall papyrus nestling in a bed of flowers) were tributes to the guest of honor. “My wife wrote the introduction and I am going to read it,” said George White, standing up to make his toast to a woman “who personifies caring, tolerance, understanding.” In her turn Madame Sadat recalled “the first time my husband and I visited Los Angeles (in 1961). We liked it very much; it reminded us of our country.”
It was really a birthday party Helene Pollock had planned for her husband, but Joe didn’t want that fact played up. So instead of a birthday cake there was an assortment of cookies for dessert. A lot of Dr. Pollock’s tennis-playing pals from the Beverly Hills Tennis Club showed up, along with such friends as Kalef Alaton, the interior designer who masterminded the remodeling of the Pollock house; Jack Lowrance, David Jones, Max Eckert, Bernice Korshak, Linda May with Harold Applebaum, Jayne and Henry Berger and Rose Tarlow.
The Social Scramble: El Padrino de Los Angeles, Hernando Courtright, is in for another decoration. On Nov. 29 he receives Mexico’s El Aguila Azteca en Grado de Insignia (the Presidential Order of Mexico--the Aztec Eagle) from Consul General Agustin Garcia-Lopez Santaolalla. The ceremony takes place in the Beverly Wilshire’s Le Grand Trianon. To celebrate the occasion, Mr. and Mrs. Courtright will follow up the presentation with a black-tie dinner party in the same room.
Wednesday night, Mayor Tom Bradley and Sheila Tepper hosted a dinner at her home to encourage a dialogue between the mayor and the shakers and movers in the city’s art endeavors. Included in the group were Kelli Questrom, wife of Bullock’s chairman and CEO; Linda Brownridge (she’s chairman of UCLA’s Art Council), Stanley Grinstein, Suzanne Marx, Tony de los Reyes, Marilyn and Bob Ehrman, Harold Huttos and quite a few more.
Lester and Carol Beth Korn were dining at Chasen’s with Mike and Linda Curb and Abe and Muriel Lipsey. Attorney Maurice Harwick and his wife Sue were at Jimmy’s with Robert and Jane Kramer. And at a table in the small restaurant at the Epicure-Granville, the new hotel on Crescent Heights Boulevard, some executives from the Epicure Group--Caroline Simpson and vice president Robert Oehler--were sampling the Austrian menu prepared by Jorg Worther, executive chef at Epicure’s Grand Hotel de l’Europe in Badgastein, Austria.
Celebrating the Sinatra Story
Tonight, Doubleday & Co. and the Sinatra family host a cocktail party at Nicky Blair’s restaurant to celebrate the publication of “Frank Sinatra, My Father” by Ol’ Blue Eyes’ daughter Nancy.
Dorothy Kirsten French hosts a kickoff tea at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Franklin Murphy on Dec. 3 for the John Douglas French Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease gala (March 16). The afternoon’s special guest is Times columnist and author Jack Smith, who’ll be interviewed by television personality Diane Glazer.
Unfortunately, silent film legend Pola Negri fell and broke a few ribs, so she’ll have to skip Friday night’s Third Annual Cinema Awards honoring Roddy McDowall and Deborah Kerr for distinguished achievement in film. She’ll be missed, but there will be plenty more star power, both vintage and current, to keep the most serious film buffs happy. Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Mitchum and Robert Wagner will host the ceremony and sports agent and insurance tycoon Dennis Gilbert and his wife Cindi host the dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Big names expected to attend--June Allyson, Dame Judith Anderson, Billie Dove, Carol Burnett, Dinah Shore, Joel McCrea and Frances Dee, Joan Rivers, James Stewart, Maureen O’Hara, Vera Hruba Ralston, Ricardo Montalban, Yvonne DeCarlo, Mae Clarke, Paul Henreid and oodles more.
The University of Southern California presented Sylvia Fine Kaye, Danny’s talented wife, with its Division of Drama Life Achievement Award for the third of a series of television specials she created, wrote, produced and narrated (“Musical Comedy Tonight III” airs Friday night on Channel 28). Some of those who showed up at the KCET studios for the ceremony and buffet--KCET President Bill Kobin, Nanette Fabray, USC trustee Wallis Annenberg and William C. White, acting director of the Drama Division. And more--Peter and Annette O’Malley, Paul Ryan, Jane Withers and Tom Pearson, Cynthia Lindsay, Robert Patton, Mrs. Sidney Brody, Anna Bing Arnold, the Carl Reiners and Eddie Albert.