Power People and the Causes They Champion


The envelope please . . .

Envelopes--carrying invites to charity and political benefits--pile higher on the desks of the rich and famous every week. The competition is tough--and it’s frequently the committee, not the cause, that encourages a ticket purchase.

There are a couple of operative rules in the charity-political world. One is tit-for-tat. Or ticket-for-ticket. If a person supports your cause, you support theirs.

Another rule--mentioned by more than one charity regular--is “You buy anything that carries Lew and Edie Wasserman’s names. And then you buy from your other friends.”


Would that there could be a list of Top 10 or Top 40 names--but no such roll-call exists. However, some major names, those who produce committee clout, can certainly be sifted out from those piles of invites. So, not promising a definitive list and in no particular order, here goes:

Lew and Edie Wasserman. He’s MCA chairman, an intimate of presidents, a name synonymous with power. Hasn’t given an interview in decades. She’s focused on the $50-million building campaign for the Motion Picture and Television Country Home.

Michael Ovitz. Superagent and deal-maker, he heads up Creative Artists Agency. A shorthand description for the spotlight-shy Ovitz is that he wants to be another Wasserman--but will have to find a studio to head up if he’s going to play in that major a league and that major a role.

Jerry Weintraub. Heavy into Jewish and Israel charities. A close friendship with Vice President George Bush combined with Weintraub’s new entertainment company could make him into the major supplier of Bush’s entertainment industry clout. But he’s still a Democrat.

Howard P. Allen. Chairman and CEO of Southern California Edison. A peripatetic event-goer, Allen months back squired Vice President George Bush around the tables at a major dinner. This year he is co-chairing the Monday night dinner for Democrat Sen. Lloyd Bentsen at Chasen’s. Constant honoree.

THE REAL STARS. Barbra Streisand. What can one say. Except that say she’ll show up and tickets are sold. Advertise a rare performance, and the invitation is written in gold . . . Charlton Heston. He works hard for his cultural and political beliefs. He’s active in Republican politics, a force at the Music Center and with the American Film Institute and with Republican causes . . . Elizabeth Taylor. A blockbuster. Watch for her to take an even more active and administrative role in raising money for AIDS research this year.


Marvin and Barbara Davis. The Denver oilman and his bubbly wife made the Carousel Ball (benefiting the Children’s Diabetes Foundation) one of the country’s top charity events. He once supported Sen. Gary Hart, but doesn’t seem inclined that way this time around. She’s told friends she’s searching for a local cause to mastermind--from their showcase Beverly Hills home.

George F. Moody, President and CEO Security Pacific National Bank. Despite his membership on Gov. George Deukmejian’s campaign committee and his close relationship with Mayor Tom Bradley, Moody stresses charities in his giving and fund-raising activities. Major concerns are the National American Red Cross (which he chairs) and United Way. This year, he’s chairing the March dinner for Dorothy Kirsten French’s Alzheimer’s foundation.

Lodwrick M. Cook. Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Richfield Co. Suddenly his name (and that of his wife Carole), is everywhere on the charity and political circuit. He hosted White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan last fall, is a big backer of GOP candidates and on the charity circuit is co-chairing the Save the Books campaign of the L.A. Public Library, which has raised $8 million of its $10-million goal.

Donald Bren. The majority shareholder in the massive Orange County Irvine Co., whose board he chairs. The Republican Bren not only gives substantial political money to both sides of the aisle, but sponsors fund-raisers for pols from across the country. It’s in the family tradition, since he’s the son of Kitchen Cabineteer Marion Jorgensen. Firmly committed to the presidential race of V.P. George Bush, his charitable interests are focused mainly on the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Santa Monica’s St. John’s Hospital.

Philip Hawley. A strong supporter of the Music Center, his company--Carter Hawley Hale--is a longtime backer of civic ventures. His partner, Ed Carter, has a strong involvement with the County Museum of Art. Active in Republican circles, Hawley is still uncommitted for the presidential race--and will probably remain so, as long as he is in the middle of a major corporate reorganization.

William M. Keck II. Philanthropist. Last year he was a top donor to the Music Center. A strong supporter of the Southwest Museum and USC. Politically, one of Rep. Ed Zschau’s major backers in his try for Senate. And committed to the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bob Dole. Donald G. Livingston acts as Keck’s political operative.


Paul and Mickey Ziffren. He got the charge from his good friend Tom Bradley, and attorney Paul Ziffren made the 1984 Olympics happen by putting together the necessary corporate and political backing. He’s still active in Democratic politics and is chairing the Amateur Athletic Foundation, but she’s currently eschewing charity commitments because she’s working on her latest novel.

Jane and Mark Nathanson. She’s an heir to the Diamond Shamrock fortune and an energetic trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art. He’s active in Democratic politics, and heads up the Falcon Communications Cable System. They are major supporters of the Democratic Westside Berman-Waxman machine. . . . As are their good friends, Bruce and Toni Corwin. With the Corwins, the longtime commitment by his family to philanthropic interests is boosted by her energy for cultural and civic causes.

Ted Field. A new, but instantly major player, an heir to the Marshall Field fortune, Field owns Interscope and Panavision. A big contributor to ’86 Senate get-out-the-vote efforts; philanthropic contributions include $500,000 pledges this year both to the Motion Picture Home and the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Interscope v.p. Bob Burkett is a key fund-raiser for the anticipated presidential campaign of Sen. Joseph Biden Jr. (D-Del.).

Carl Rheuban. The lowest-of-profiles. Beverly Hills financier. Philanthropic. Chairman of State of Israel Bonds Organization and a backer of Sen. Joseph Biden Jr.

Dr. Armand Hammer. How can he support so many issues, so strongly? The 87-year-old Hammer not only has his finger in almost every local and international charity, he has plenty of time and money left over for political involvements. His particular stellar center is with Soviet-American relations. He and his wife, Frances, are accompanied on their continent hopping by close friend Rosemary Tomisch. A major name in her own right, the only woman member of Occidental, Tomisch is phasing out of her vast holdings in cattle ranches. On the board of American Foundation for AIDS Research and a big political giver.

Albert H. Gersten Jr. The young chairman of The Gersten Cos. is committed to the presidential campaign of former Sen. Gary Hart. On the philanthropic side, he focuses interest and funds on Loyola Marymount University, Israel’s Hebrew University and Vista del Mar.


Fonda-Hayden. Jane and Tom are a dynamic duo and can give and raise mucho dinero --as evidenced by the hefty contributions in his two Assembly races and in the hundreds of thousands they poured into last fall’s Toxics Waste Initiative.

Nick Patsaouras. Member, board of directors, RTD. He’s signed on to work on the Monument to the Immigrants effort. Mondale’s state finance chairman, Patsaouras is heavy into Greek-American causes and charities.

THE STUDIO STARS. Nothing makes for a fund-raising success like having your own little studio to back up your name. Ask 20th Century Fox’s Barry Diller or Disney’s Michael Eisner and Frank Wells, all three of whom are dabbling in politics this year. Or watch Warner Bros. Bob Daly put all his personal punch into raising the cash necessary for the American Film Institute’s second decade. And, of course, the past and present master is the Motion Picture Assn. President Jack Valenti.

Margaret Martin Brock. “Mrs. Republican.” Trained by the late Justin Dart and Holmes Tuttle, her cottage-industry fund-raising operation supplies the yeoman work for turning out the faithful to Republican events. Her other major interest: Pepperdine University.

THE KITCHEN CABINET and NANCY’S INNER CIRCLE. Republican, of course. William French and Jean Smith, Erlenne and Norman Sprague (he heads the Southwest Museum), Harriet and Armand Deutsch, AFI mainspring Bunny Wrather, Holmes and Virginia Tuttle, Marion and Earle Jorgensen, Betsy Bloomingdale, et al are still involved in charitable events, like a favorite St. John’s Hospital, and, in many cases, the Music Center. One thing to be sure--find one on an invite and they’ll all turn out at the event.

GROUPS THAT GROSS BIG BUCKS. And big responses come automatically from any invite that carries the names SHARE (Share Happily and Reap Endlessly), the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Guild and the Music Center’s Blue Ribbon. Sold out without a doubt. On the political side, the Hollywood Women’s Political Committee is off and running in the sure-thing category.


Caroline Ahmanson. In the world of business--and the charities it supports--this is the one woman whose name more than deserves a space on any invitation. Active in L.A.’s trade-and-cultural exchange with China, she is also busy with Chamber of Commerce accomplishments.

Joe Cerrell. A political consultant who crosses the line into cultural money raising, especially during the two years he headed the board of the California Museum of Science and Industry. This year he continues hosting pols on fund-raising ventures from out of town, like Minnesota Senate candidate Hubert Humphrey III.

Chuck Manatt. Before he headed off to D.C. to head up the Democratic National Committee and resume his law practice there, Manatt headed the Fraternity of Friends at the Music Center. Now, with his close friend Steve Moses, he sets up fund raising here for out-of-town Democrats.

Norman Lear. He was an original member of the now-defunct but once powerful coterie of liberal money-givers, the Malibu Mafia. Now the producer and founder of People for the American Way continues to support progressive political candidates, but he focuses his considerable money-giving and money-raising prowess on his 6-year-old People.

William and Barbara Belzberg. Active in Jewish causes. He operates, with his brothers, a multi-million-dollar financial and real-estate empire, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Harvey Silbert. A major philanthropic interest is American Friends of the Hebrew University. A partner in the law firm of Wyman Bautzer, Kuchel, Silbert, he’s also a mover at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.


Larry and Barbi Weinberg. He’s an owner of the Portland Trail Blazers, and is referred to by insiders as one of the founders of the single-issue school of politics. They raise money for politicians who have demonstrated support for Israel.

Wallis Annenberg. In a town where charity and politics are dominated by male names, Annenberg has taken her famous one far in establishing herself as a philanthropist and a women’s activist of the first order. It was her signing on to chair the first Commitment to Life Dinner for AIDS Project/L.A. that brought in her friend Elizabeth Taylor and started the dinner on its road to success.

Roz Wyman. A champion of new and established causes. Last year, the brand-new Betty Clooney Foundation’s “Singers Salute the Songwriters” raised more than $350,000. If she agrees to one of the presidential hopefuls courting her, the 1984 Democratic Convention chair would be forced to forego the several other major annual benefits she counts in her volunteer portfolio. And also miss a few Dodger games, too.

Keith and Bill Kieschnick. When he left Arco last year, Kieschnick took his good will and his Roledex with him. Chairman of the board at MOCA, a top activist in United Way, Kieschnick’s energy is matched by that of his wife, Keith, who is currently serving a three-year term as president of the Music Center’s Blue Ribbon.

OTHER NAMES TO NOTE--Attorney Lisa Specht, new state Democratic Chairman Pete Kelly, Coastal Commissioner Mark Nathanson, attorney George Rosenberg (of the Trial Lawyers Assn.), Jewish Federation President Stanley Hirsh, Lili Zanuck (new fund-raising volunteer force at the Music Center), Pacific Mutual’s Walter B. Gerken (one of the few corporate Democrats), UC Regents Stanley Sheinbaum and Sheldon Andelson . . . and, of course, the names of the honorees and chairs involved in your favorite charities. Whom I am sure I will be hearing from in the next few days.