The Aesculapians went Hollywood Saturday night. Or rather, they were transported to Hollywood when two of the film industry's biggest powers co-chaired a stunning black-tie affair for the UCLA Medical School support group.
Creative Artists Agency Chairman Michael Ovitz and 20th Century Fox CEO Barry Diller threw the kind of lavish party that gives Hollywood glitz a good name. In the process, they netted $750,000 for Medical School Dean Kenneth Shine's discretionary fund.
What Diller and Ovitz did (with an assist from Party Planners West) was to transform Fox's massive Stage 14 into a ballroom that was shown off to full effect by having the 1,000 guests enter by ascending a 30-foot wide, 15-step staircase, then descending into the room.
From the vantage point at the top of the stairs, stretching out over the stage's 26,000 square feet, was a scene that could have been from a czar's wedding reception.
Almost everything in sight was white: the floor, the 40-foot-high curtains draping three walls, the table cloths on the 100 tables, the lilies in vases that rested on the centerpieces' 3-foot-tall glass pedestals. The only splash of color was in the yellow orchids alongside the lilies.
"We wanted it to have an extraordinary look," said Ovitz.
Covering the 130-foot-wide rear wall was the night sky backdrop used in Peter Pan's flying scenes from the upcoming "Hook."
Playing in front of the backdrop was Johnny Otis' 15-piece blues band. To complete the effect, a fog machine filled the room with a light mist as guests arrived.
Said one woman as she glided through the vapor: "Now I know how Sonja Henie felt."
It wasn't just the setting that was Hollywood. What could have been a perfunctory film on the hospital was an elaborate comedy production featuring "Doogie Howser, M.D." star Neal Patrick Harris.
The entertainment began with a topical routine from Jay Leno, continued with jazz and Cole Porter from Harry Connick Jr. and finished with performances by Jackson Browne, David Crosby and Graham Nash.
What made this event unique is that it was a Hollywood party without a Hollywood crowd. There were only a few celebrities--notably Kevin Costner--and so many physicians that the ball could have been called "Dances With Doctors."
In fact, one surgeon said he saw so many of his colleagues that he guessed "it's probably those third-year medical students who are running the hospital tonight."