Advance Team Scouts Local Sites for 1987 Papal Visit

Times Staff Writer

No sites have been confirmed for the September, 1987, trip of Pope John Paul II to Los Angeles, but a Vatican-Archdiocese advance team has reportedly struck out one possibility and zeroed in on several others.

High on the list of site possibilities for an event is Universal Amphitheatre, which holds 6,000 and is adjacent to two large hotels--the Sheraton Premiere and Sheraton-Universal--which could house the papal party.

On the list of anticipated events is a meeting with important lay people--as well as the large gathering anticipated for a Papal Mass.


Knocked out of the running, one insider said, was the site of the old Ontario Speedway.

The Coliseum and Rose Bowl are both apparently in contention as the site of the Mass.

JUST SIT BACK--Liberty Weekend producer David Wolper gets to take it easy this time, as People for the American Way honors him at a $250-per-person gala Oct. 19 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. “It’s truly a party for me. Fortunately, they haven’t asked me to do anything for it,” Wolper said, adding that he was an “early supporter of the organization.” The group advocates separation of church and state and is now headed on the West Coast by activist Ramona Ripston. “I believe that religion and politics should not mix,” Wolper said. “Both should be a part of somebody’s life--but not together.” Entertaining will be Linda Ronstadt and Robin Williams. Wolper said since Liberty Weekend he’s been busy personally answering more than 5,800 letters from the public, in addition to more than 1,000 from public officials including everybody from President Reagan “to admirals to senators.” Reagan’s letter thanked Wolper for “a magnificent birthday party.” Wolper has sent a copy of the script of his upcoming film on First Lady Betty Ford to Joanne Woodward, who, he said, “went to dancing school with Betty Ford, the Martha Graham Dancing School.”

THE BIG DRAW--The national politicos need a President or a superstar to have a $1-million plus fund-raiser. Seems like all Assembly Speaker Willie Lewis Brown Jr. needs is an empty hotel ballroom. With his $650-a-head black-tie dinner set for Sept. 24 at the Beverly Hilton sold out earlier this month, no wonder the speaker could take time last week for lunch at the Bistro Garden with his buddies, Assembly Majority Leader Mike Roos and state Coastal Commissioner Mark Nathanson. Brown has lined up Sammy Davis Jr. and his entire Vegas show to entertain and former Virginia Gov. Chuck Robb to speak. The Rev. Gene Scott will give the invocation. But Brown better make sure his buddies in the press corps know where the fund-raiser will be. A letter put out over his signature invites newspeople to a dinner at the Century Plaza. It also asks for an RSVP by Sept. 29, five days after the event.

FRIENDS--When 500 Friends of Hebrew University meet at the Century Plaza next week, there will be at least two breaks in the serious agenda. There will be a black-tie dinner Thursday, with Tony Bennett entertaining, Steve Lawrence chairing and Barbra Streisand as the honorary chair. Albert and Marilynn Gersten will host several hundred of the conference participants at their Beverly Hills home next Friday.

CELEBS AT WORK--Yes, hard at work. The Share Happily and Reap Endlessly (SHARE) members get together the end of next month for their annual book-packing party. In addition to the million-dollar Boomtown party held every spring, the sale of more than 10,000 SHARE “Day by Day” datebooks helps raise money that goes to projects helping the mentally retarded. Look for SHARE prexy Judy Feder, Dolores Naar Nemiro, Joanna Carson, Ruth Berle, Altovise Davis, Janet Leigh, Marianne Rogers, Wendy Goldberg, Pat Crowley Friendly, Mary Ann Mobley and Corinna Fields to be among those hard at work.

NON-STOP--The Friends of French Art just don’t let down. They got together earlier this week at the Regency Club for a gourmet dinner, and then they’ll be back together Sept. 22 when Neiman-Marcus hosts a fund-raising tea at the Beverly Hills store. The centerpiece will be the Baccarat Crystal Show there--and the crystal company is donating a $1,400 piece as a prize for the Friends’ Nov. 12 Garden Gala. However, on Oct. 23, Howard Ruby opens his Bel-Air home for a buffet supper. All this. And they’ll always have Paris.