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Power Trio Sets Tribute to Grant

When is a $1,000-a-person benefit ticket worth the price?

Try Oct. 19, when the special gala tribute to Cary Grant, benefiting the Princess Grace Foundation U.S.A., brings together the princely family of Monaco with just about every royal persona Hollywood can muster.

This evening is unique in many ways--it will be the only tribute Grant’s widow, Barbara, is permitting for the late, beloved actor. And, because there was only one Cary Grant, the evening will have an extraordinary retinue of stars up on stage: James Stewart, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, Walter Matthau, Roger Moore, Shirley Temple Black, Robert Wagner, Warren Beatty, benefit chair Dina Merrill, Eva Marie Saint, Quincy Jones, Robert Mitchum, John Forsythe, Dean Martin, Michael Caine and, performing, Liza Minnelli, Sammy Davis Jr. and Henry Mancini, all in a production designed by Jack Haley Jr. and emceed by Merv Griffin highlighting Grant’s films.

But, wait. The punch behind the scenes is as interesting as the event itself. For many charities, it is the annual ongoing involvement that brings out the money and the names. In this case, it is the trio of women--Judy Quine, Ruth Berle, Barbara Grant--who are putting together the massive evening. The three are representative of just how important this night is to Hollywood, and, for each of them, there is a personal reason to make the night a priority.

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Judy Quine was probably Grace Kelly’s closest friend and was one of her bridesmaids at her 1956 wedding to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The daughter of former Paramount mogul Barney Balaban, Quine is a member of the foundation board.

From Ruth Berle: “Cary always was so dear . . . he was the ultimate movie star and every time I saw him, I stuttered and my mascara ran.” Berle, an acknowledged top volunteer fund-raiser (for years, a force in the million-dollar SHARE money-raising), responded when asked by Grant’s widow, Barbara, since “anything that she would ask me to do, I would do in a minute.”

Barbara Grant is the third key ingredient, lending her name along with that of First Lady Nancy Reagan, but also her considerable contacts and energy.

Co-chairmen include Griffin, Kirk Kerkorian (a close friend of both the Grants, whose name is now linked with Barbara’s), Donald and Judy Quine, Lew and Edie Wasserman, and Frank and Barbara Sinatra.

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“It’s going to be an evening of happy memories,” Barbara Grant said at a luncheon meeting Monday. She, Berle and Quine are now faced with a dilemma that should hit most charities--"We’re actually turning people down who want to be part of the tribute,” Berle said.

“The only thing I can’t do is get off the phone when someone wants to tell me a special story about Cary,” Quine said. The other happy dilemma--more than $400,000 was raised before the invitations went out last week.

Saying that any earlier tribute to Grant, who died in 1986, was “too difficult,” Barbara Grant said that his daughter, Jennifer, had been working on the to-be-televised retrospective, also being put together for ABC by Haley, who produced the film shown when Grant received his special Oscar in 1970.

This will be the fourth annual benefit for the foundation, which assists young artists in film, theater and dance with scholarships, fellowships and apprenticeships, but only the second of the four held in Los Angeles. The others have been in Dallas and New York--the intended site of this year’s event, until the plan to make a tribute to Grant was solidified last May.

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When the 1985 gala was held here, there was mild criticism and heavy comment about fund raising here that sent money elsewhere. That, Quine said, was a mistaken notion that because the foundation’s offices are in New York, the money would go east. All money raised, most of it given out in individual grants, is distributed nationally. And it’s a lot of money--since the previous galas have racked up between $900,000 and $1 million each, and that’s net, Quine said.

Quine is finishing her book, “The Bridesmaids,” a biographical look at the six women, including herself and actress Rita Gam, who walked down the aisle with the princess.

In addition to the appearance at the dinner of Prince Rainier, Prince Albert and Princess Stephanie, there will be a special added attraction to major donors. A private dinner with the royal family is set for their stay here.

SAME NAME, BUT. . . . Those who know and love Los Angeles’ Linda Dozoretz certainly know that the Atlanta woman with the same name covered on ABC’s “20/20" Friday night is not the public relations whiz from Guttman & Pam. But, for any of you who might have been confused, we thought we’d point this out.

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