Hammer Breaks Rib in Accident, Will Miss White House Ceremony

Dr. Armand Hammer, 89, chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corp., suffered a broken rib when he slipped while getting out of a bathtub in his Los Angeles home, an Occidental executive said Wednesday.

As a result, Hammer was forced to cancel a trip to Washington to receive a National Medal for the Arts from President and Mrs. Reagan.

"He said he was going to come anyway," said Bill McSweeny, president of Occidental International in Washington, a unit of the Los Angeles-based firm. "But one doctor (Hammer) was overruled by two physicians."

The accident, which McSweeny called "a very heavy fall," occurred Monday and, despite the pain, he said, Hammer hosted a luncheon at Occidental's headquarters before going to UCLA Medical Center to be taped up.

Hammer, he said, was "terribly disappointed" that he could not attend today's White House ceremony for medal recipients--four arts patrons and seven artists, including singer Ella Fitzgerald and poet Robert Penn Warren. "He sent a letter to the President to say how sad he was" that he could not attend, McSweeny said.

Hammer's doctors said he should stay in bed a week, a company spokesman said. Even so, McSweeny, who is in telephone communication with Hammer, said his boss was "working out of his bed."

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