The Crowd: Event at Cohen estate supports Childhelp

Over-the-top artistic style and incomparable generosity are superlatives describing the donor reception thrown last week by Bob and Beverly Cohen on behalf of Childhelp.

Some 100 guests converged upon the Cohen estate in Newport Beach's Bayshores neighborhood. The estate is on the waterfront point once owned by the film legend John Wayne and his family.

Beverly Cohen, trim and smashing in a silvery celadon green classic dinner suit, her petite figure supported by 4-inch tall mules, clicked around the high polished Louis XIV-patterned antique hardwood floors of her waterfront mansion.

"John Wayne is still here," she declared. "We feel his presence."

John Wayne never lived like the Cohens. His single-story, 1960s ranch-style home has been replaced by a Parisian-inspired salon. The style is pure whimsy meets imagination meets sex appeal.

The mostly conservative crowd of folks supporting the mission of Childhelp loved the Cohen vibe. It was a feast for all the senses.

The purpose of the gathering was to promote the upcoming major charity fashion show and fundraiser set for Monday at the Island Hotel, Newport Beach, and to thank the generous donors underwriting the event.

Diana Miner and Mary Allyn Dexter were on hand to welcome the crush. The duo will chair Monday's fashion extravaganza supported in a major way by South Coast Plaza. Anton and Jennifer Segerstrom were front and center along with Jim and Patti Edwards, Zee Allred and Drago Gligic, Childhelp President Pam Pharris and her husband Bud, Chris Miner, Nick and Nancy Cardin, Dale San Filippo and Alana and George Hedley.

Childhelp ambassador, actress Connie Stevens, came down to Newport from her Holmby Hills haunt to mingle with the Orange County crowd. Stevens looked glamorous in black sequins, her platinum blond locks and famous "77 Sunset Strip" smile charming the crowd.

Stevens joined major Childhelp sponsors Jacquie and Michael Casey, the former chief financial officer of Starbucks, Cleo Bluth, Darby and Bill Manclark, Olivia Abel, and Erna Minkoff.

Enjoying the incredible dinner buffet — consisting of gourmet stations set up inside and outside of the residence — were Mark and Gretchen Pace (leaving the O.C. for a new assignment with Saks Fifth Avenue in Boston), Gina Van Ocher and Brad Hinman, Joyce and Mark Simon, Carol Packard, Nancy and Frank Whitlock, Peter and Barbara Ganahl, and super stylist Craig Brown in his signature beret.

Last-minute reservations remain available for Monday's big fashion luncheon event. Go to for information and reservations. A sell out will make a major difference in the lives of children who have been abused or abandoned.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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