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Pilar Wayne Ends Seclusion for Private Election Party

It took a very private election night party to get Pilar Wayne in public for the first time since her daughter was slashed by intruders on Oct 3.

“I will be worried each second of the day,” Pilar said after the attack on Aissa, 32, and her boyfriend, Roger Luby, 52. The comely couple were surprised by masked gunmen who bound and threatened them in the garage of Luby’s $3-million Newport Beach mansion. Neither the motive nor the identity of the assailants has been established.

But on Tuesday night at the Doubletree Hotel in Orange, Pilar, who usually wears an every-strand-in-place hairdo when she steps into the limelight, looked worry-free with her dark, glossy hair spilling casually down the back of her American-flag blue sweater.

“I’m out tonight because I am with close, caring friends,” said the widow of John Wayne, gazing around the table at Donna and John Crean, Jerry Kobrin and her boyfriend, a land developer who is “nine years my junior,” she said. (“Just call me Santa,” said the bearded developer--who begged for anonymity--after he ordered that Dom Perignon be poured into pink tulips as Michael Dukakis made his concession speech.)

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Aissa was also invited to the bash, hosted by public relations practitioners Lois Lundberg and Mike Nason. But she did not attend. “She just can’t face people yet,” Pilar said.

Aissa, a blonde with kaleidoscope eyes, has a 1-inch scar on her forehead from the attack, her mother said. “We fear that it will always be there.”

The next date on Pilar’s subdued social calendar--"I’ve been happy just to be home with my daughter"--is the American Cinema Awards Foundation’s gala and auction on Nov. 20. She has donated the safari jacket John Wayne wore in the film “Hatari” to the affair at the Newporter Resort, along with his solid gold monogrammed Zippo lighter. “Pilar hates anything to do with smoking,” Kobrin explained. “She thinks it led to the Duke’s early demise.”

John Crean, CEO of Fleetwood Enterprises and chair of the auction with his wife, Donna, said the event is not only a sellout, “it’s an oversold.”

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“We’ve decided to split the dinner up into two rooms,” Crean said, noting that special guest Shirley Temple Black will attend along with about 50 other stars and 600 local notables (including Renee and Henry Segerstrom, Carl and Margaret Karcher and Judie and George Argyros). “But everyone will come together for the program.”

Nason and Lundberg will leave Monday for New York, where they will meet with former President Richard M. Nixon to film a video that will be shown on Dec. 2 after the ground- breaking for the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda.

Nixon will not attend the ceremony and the subsequent dinner at the Anaheim Hilton, Lundberg said, because he wants his daughters, Tricia and Julie, to attend “and be part of that moment in history.”

But Henry Kissinger will be on hand to toast California’s first presidential library, and so will the former first lady of Egypt, Jehan Sadat, widow of Anwar Sadat. Deep in the heart of Texas: While hundreds partied madly before President-elect George Bush’s image on a bigger-than-life television screen at the Doubletree on Tuesday night, local members of the Forbes 400 had flown to Houston to party with Bush in person.

Flying to the Lone Star state in private jets to celebrate Bush’s victory were William and Willa Dean Lyon (who invited Lincoln Club president Gus Owen and developer Kathryn Thompson to join them) and Irvine Co. chairman Donald Bren.

Where they’re dining: None other than Bette Midler was spotted at Dizz’s As Is restaurant in Laguna Beach recently. Seems the trendy bistro (where people wait for hours to dive into hunks of filet mignon and pesto with tiger prawns) has become such a celebrity haunt that the Orangewood Children’s Foundation is cooking up a “Celebrity Night” benefit there (for 60 guests only please) for February. Who is on the celebrity list? “We’re working on it,” said one insider who promises the bash will be a very starry ticket.


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