Elizabeth Dole, president of the American Red Cross and wife of the U.S. Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole, took the spotlight Monday evening at the Pepperdine University Associates' "Spirit of Volunteerism" black-tie dinner at the Century Plaza.
She praised Southern Californians for their "courage and perseverance" in the wake of so many disasters and noted: "Americans have a social contract to support, protect and encourage one another; this acts as the glue holding society together." She added: "Action is eloquence, and it's up to you and me to act."
Pepperdine president David Davenport, a fellow Kansan, welcomed Dole at the dinner chaired by Richard C. Seaver and keynoted by Pepperdine regent Matthew K. Fong. Many in the room were just receiving news that Seaver's 102-year-old aunt, Blanche Seaver, the illustrious philanthropist to not only Pepperdine but USC and the Claremont colleges, had passed away.
Eclat: The conspicuous success of the Diadames Creative Table Settings Luncheon at the Regent Beverly Wilshire last week headed by president Joyce Kresa and event chair Marion Anderson was marvelous. If president Kresa was exuding, look at it this way. Husband Kent Kresa, chairman, CEO and president of Northrop, had just pulled off one of the biggest business deals around by buying Grumman Corp. for $2.11 billion.
"He took his radio to church Sunday (Bel-Air Presbyterian) while the deal was under way. I told him, 'If you dare use that radio in church. . .!' " Kresa says.
Some of those conjuring beauteous table settings: Connie Gavin, Arletta Tronstein, Gloria Holden, Joni and Clark Smith, Mary Marshall, Lucy Zahran, Mary Davis and Lois Linkletter.
Filial Devotion: All seven of John Wayne's offspring (Michael, Patrick, Toni Wayne LaCava, Melinda Wayne Munoz, Ethan, Aissa and Marisa), and close to a dozen grandchildren turned out for the John Wayne Cancer Institute's Odyssey Ball Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton.
The "Duke" award was bestowed on Dr. Donald L. Morton, the institute's medical director. Kudos to the chairs--Illa Waldman and Susan Dobson--netting $350,000 and booking the classy performances by Diahann Carroll and Ray Anthony's orchestra. Doctors and patients mingled with celebs--Lloyd Bridges, Frankie Avalon, David Chow, Jerry Dunphy, Carol Conners, Sharon and Lyle Waggoner.
Derby Day: Lots of drama at the 57th running of the $500,000 Santa Anita Derby Saturday. Brocco won the big race for his owners Albert "Cubby" and Dana Broccoli (true fact: Cubby's family in Italy developed broccoli from cauliflower and rape). Sally Keller of Hancock Park, wife of Santa Anita president Stephen Keller, presented the trophy in the winner's circle, which called for bubbles. Toasting with champagne with the Kellers were Roger Moore ("James Bond" in the movies produced by Broccoli) and trainer Randy Winick. On the infield the fancy Rolls Royces and Bentleys competed with the ponies in the Concours d'Elegance benefit with Kitty and Eddy Bridges and Judy and Byron Matson lunching on pate and gazpacho.
Over the weekend Karen and Cliff Goodrich and the Kellers hosted the pre-Derby dinner, Sally Keller hosted a special luncheon and the L.A. Turf Club and Tiffany & Co. collaborated on, what else, breakfast!
Bounty: What's being touted as an extraordinary auction of fine international wines is red-lettered for Sunday evening at the Biltmore. Francis Ford Coppola, who owns a Northern California vineyard, and Joe Smith of Unison Productions are honorary co-chairs. Christie's Ursula Hermancinski will conduct the live auction of wines and gourmet dinners by L.A.'s best chefs. Warner Henry of Henry Co./Henry Wine Group, and Robert Bookman of Creative Artists Agency are co-chairs, says opera general director Peter Hemmings.
Escalation: The amazing Bill Blass will assess the "power of the suit" with I. Magnin's venerated fashion icon Jack Miles for the L.A. County Museum of Art's Costume Council April 25. Later that evening, the Council's Fashion Circle fetes the duo at a Regency Club dinner. . . . Jack and Marion Shea will be honored at the Art of French Dining VI, hosted April 24 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Newport Beach, by the trustees of the Newport Harbor Art Museum. . . . Over 35 years, the Peninsula Committee of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has raised more than $2.5 million, and they're seeing golf green for their fifth Nordstrom Seahorse Classic Golf Tournament Monday at the Palos Verdes Golf and Country Club. President Karen Learned, and co-chairs Jean Juell and Pris Schultz have commitments for four hole-in-one prizes--$50,000 from Post Insurance Services, an Acura Legend, a Lexus and a Ford Windstar. Don't hold your breath--no one's ever won.
Plaudits: Hundreds of friends of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising celebrate the school's 25th anniversary tonight honoring president Tonian Hohberg. Master embroiderer Francois Lesage flies in from Paris . . . . Los Angeles County Chief of Protocol Sandra Ausman chaired the third National Conference on Consular Relations and Protocol at the Biltmore with a gala at the Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey . . . . Nancy Daly and Suzanne Marx will be speakers at the National Charity League annual convention at the Doubletree Hotel in the City of Orange April 21-22. Patricia Lenz is program chair . . . . Los Angeles Orphanage Guild luncheon and David Hayes fashion show at the Four Seasons--chaired April 8 by Glory Holian and Marlene Hall--cheered the Maryvale Special Edition, which will appear May 4 in The Times. It's the guild's 32nd annual benefit edition, president Sandi Walker says . . . . Leontyne Price received the Ambassador Auditorium 20th aniversary Award for Excellence at a reception after her Pasadena performance.
Mary Lou Loper's column is published Thursdays.