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Some Society Stars to Lose Luster in Bush Era

Onto every parade a little rain must fall, and as the administrations change, some of this city’s now familiar society faces may be wearing new frowns as their distance from the incoming President causes them to be shifted from the “A” to the “B” party lists.

Columnist George Will, for example, may have been the envy of Washington when he had President and Mrs. Reagan to dinner at his home, or squired the First Lady to lunch at the Jockey Club.

But President-elect Bush is unlikely to be overly chummy with the man who called him a “lap dog with a voice like a thin, tinny arf.” In the coming years, Will may have to eat more Alpo, less caviar.

Will heads a cast of conservatives who gained social cachet under the Reagan Administration, and will now lose a bit of it in the Bush Era.

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Cooler Receptions

Although they still will be allowed to step out of the house at night, staunch conservatives like Richard Viguerie (the direct-mail king), Sen. Jesse Helms and Washington Times Editor Arnuad DeBorchgrave won’t be quite the hot catches they were before. The same goes for their buddies who visited often and got warm capital receptions: Phyllis Schlafly, William F. Buckley and the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Some of the social declines will be obvious, because the personages’ popularity was so directly linked to the Reagans. Ken Duberstein, Reagan’s chief of staff, is considered to be at the zenith of his standing as a social star while he has the President’s ear. But he’ll fall back to Earth as John Sununu’s mailbox begins to fill with invitations.

Maureen Reagan, the President’s daughter and Republican National Committee official, attended 15 White House state dinners for foreign leaders. But don’t look for her at each and every social function next year.

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Robin Weir, Mrs. Reagan’s Washington hairdresser, will lose a bit of his lofty status when Barbara Bush moves into the White House and washes her own hair.

Golden Oldies

Departing cabinet secretaries, especially Secretary of State George Shultz and former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, will go from being constant fixtures to occasional golden oldies.

Bob Gray, the public relations whiz who headed Reagan’s inaugural committee, may not dominate the field the way he has the last eight years. Charles Z. Wick and his wife, Mary Jane, perhaps the Reagans’ closest personal friends and big, big social stars, will be heading back to California when Reagan does. Former Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt, another Very Important Party Animal, already has left for home.

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The visiting entertainment contingent will undergo a dramatic face lift. Say goodby to Nancy’s pals, Tom Selleck and Jimmy Stewart, and hello to George’s buddy, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Frank Sinatra will become almost a stranger in the night compared to the Gatlin Brothers, Crystal Gayle and Loretta Lynn, who stood by their man, Bush, during the campaign.


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