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Stars Behind the Scenes at 2 Fund-Raisers

The best stars in the charity fund-raising business are those backstage. If that doesn’t ring true, just ask Frank Sinatra. Or ask George Michael.

Or ask Anne Kahane, the wife of George Michael’s co-manager Rob Kahane. Michael’s special concert Sunday night at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre raised more than $500,000 for the seven Adam Walsh Child Resource Centers.

Or ask Barbara Sinatra, who is putting together the Nov. 26 mega-benefit at the Inglewood Forum--with Frank, Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis Jr.--expected to net at least $1 million for the children’s center that carries her name.

This is very big charity bucks. “It is big, isn’t it,” Barbara Sinatra said by telephone Monday from the desert, just a few miles from the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.

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With a very big top price tag, too, of $2,500 a person. That includes a preconcert reception in a Forum-adjacent tent, and a lavish dinner. Sinatra said she expects to come up with total underwriting for the event--so that every cent brought in by the tickets goes to the center’s endowment fund.

Underwriting and corporate givers proved the big plus at Michael’s Sunday night concert. CBS Records, the Sony Corp. and the Coca-Cola Co. made sizable contributions, Kahane explained, and that meant not only that enormous money came in, but also that hundreds of kids who wouldn’t normally get the chance to see the rock star did with donated tickets. The entire event was put together, she said, in eight weeks--a time line that will bring tears to the eyes of most charity mavens.

Stars were all around when Michael presented the $500,000 check to John and Reve Walsh backstage. Rob Lowe, Robert Downey Jr., Demi Moore and Patti D’Arbanville were in the crowd.

And, at the Sinatra bash, already signed up for tables at $25,000 each are, according to Barbara Sinatra, Tom Selleck, Lucille Ball and Gary Morton and George Burns.

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The goal for the endowment is $5 million, Sinatra said, to make sure the center can continue to help the 600-plus children and their families receiving counseling and other assistance every year.

“We want the children to achieve a new beginning,” Sinatra said.

And, with figures like the ones she and Kahane are talking about, there is a new beginning level for what charities can bring in.

That’s if you happen to have a major star hanging around the house.

KUDOS--The Thalians on Saturday honored Ann-Margret with the Ms. Wonderful Award--and managed to raise about $500,000 for the Thalians Mental Health Clinic in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Complex. For that amount of money, the black-tie benefit-goers also got a great evening--including performances by Bette Midler and Jack Jones. . . .

Cheers to Dennis Weaver and Valerie Harper, who were joined by about 800 supporters of Love Is Feeding Everyone, the anti-hunger organization they co-founded. Everyone got together to salute May Co. president Ken Sokol and writer-producer Stephen Cannell and the night raised more than $175,000.

TALK, TALK, TALK--That’s what’s made Oprah Winfrey famous. But Oct. 22 she’ll be in the audience listening as she receives the Entertainment Industries Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

The black-tie dinner, being produced by Gary Pudney, has Capital Cities/ABC Chairman and CEO Thomas S. Murphy as the evening’s chair, and the organizing committee includes just about every major industry name--like Warner Bros. Bob Daly, Disney’s Frank G. Wells, MCA’s Sidney Sheinberg, producer Aaron Spelling and Grant Tinker.

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