Will Coelho Go for Wilson’s Senate Seat in 1988?

Times Staff Writer

Washington insiders are urging Rep. Tony Coelho, the San Joaquin Valley Democrat who heads up the House Campaign Committee, to run against Republican Sen. Pete Wilson in 1988. Coelho has proven himself a master fund-raiser and has oh-so-many chits out there to collect. . . . Non-Washington insiders say that Sen. Gary Hart will base his 1988 presidential effort out of Denver, not D.C. Not, though, from his newly acquired home in Troublesome Gulch, Colo. . . . State Republicans have become noticeably quiet on the issue of retention of Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird. One Deukmejian insider says that’s to keep the issue from peaking too soon.

BIG BENEFIT BUCKS--Invites to the Music Center’s Mercado opening party June 6 are out--including, as they must, the City Social Service Department Information Card. It makes for interesting reading, disclosing that $577,000 will be spent staging this year’s benefit. Esther Wachtell, the now-employee-once-volunteer at the Music Center, explained that when she ran the Mercado two years ago, it cost $520,000--but it made a $750,000 profit. That’s certainly a lot of money, but not as impressive when stacked up against the take from some other recent benefits. . . . Look what the premiere of “Out of Africa,” held last November, made for St. John’s Hospital and Health Center, at virtually no cost to the hospital. The check presented Tuesday was for $500,000. Take a bow: Sydney Pollack, the film’s Academy Award-winning producer and director; Frank Price, MCA Motion Picture Group chairman; Michael Ovitz, president of Creative Artists Agency, and his wife, Judy Ovitz, who chaired the benefit committee. It was a great party--and a great profit for St. John’s, whose board president Glen McDaniel rounded up 20 underwriters, including Universal and Ovitz . . . Getting ready to take their deserved and lucrative annual bow May 17 are the SHARE Boomtown ladies. Last year their event, according to first VP Ruth Berle, cost about $150,000 to put on--and it made more than $900,000. That means it made six times the cost of the event. This year, Suzanne Horowitz will “Fight Back” with a raffle prize list that includes a 1986 Mercedes 190E, Harry Winston sapphire-and-diamond earrings and a $1,500 Baccarat ice bucket. Kudos to Judy Feder and her 70-plus SHARE ladies. No wonder that last year they gave more than $1 million raised from Boomtown and other projects to various programs, including the UCLA School of Medicine, programs for retarded children and adults and counseling for sexually abused children.

TOGETHER AGAIN, FOR THE FIRST TIME--Over the transom came the picture. It shows Mayor Tom Bradley, actress Florence Lacey (set to play “Evita” at Long Beach Civic Light Opera), Argentine Consul Jorge Vinuela and, propped up in front of the mayor, a large portrait of Eva Peron. Well, it is an election year.

UNDER WRAPS--George Lucas’ film “Howard the Duck” is due out this summer, but the look of Howard is a state secret. We asked Brian Berner of Tovar, who did the hair of the other actors, if he knew what Howard looked like. He gave us an emphatic no, adding, “I only do hair. I never do feathers.”


ENTERTAINMENT POLITICS--He’ll take the title but not the furniture, so Jerry Weintraub’s stuff got moved out of the executive suite at UA on Tuesday morning, with Lee Rich’s set to be moved in Tuesday afternoon. . . . Weintraub, currently at his Malibu home, Blue Heaven, had been the designated hitter by Vice President George Bush to raise money in the entertainment industry. That role--called a “rainmaker"--is vital, since federal law limits to $1,000 the amount any individual can contribute to a presidential campaign.

COLLECTIBLES--When guests show up for Thursday night’s screening of Chuck Fries’ “Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story,” they will hopefully be carrying more than their tickets. The benefit, to help Snyder’s Community for Creative Non-Violence in D.C. and LIFE (Love Is Feeding Everyone), includes an unusual element--guests are asked to bring a non-perishable food item.

DON JOHNSON WATCH--We understand the winning guest list at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby belongs to former Gov. John Y. Brown and his wife, Phyllis George. RSVPed are the yummy Don Johnson, producers Dick and Lili Zanuck and, obviously taking the weekend off from his journalist-in-space campaign, Walter Cronkite. Rumors concerning the political races there say that Brown will run for guv once again in ’87.