Johnny Carson, everybody's late-night television companion, is the man the Variety Club of Southern California will honor at its Variety Big Heart Community Achievement Award Pre-Telethon Dinner on April 15. Local Variety Club President Bruce Corwin and Vice President Joseph Sinay are co-chairing the $500- (for gold tables) and $250- (for silver tables) per-plate affair in the Century Plaza's Los Angeles Ballroom.
Johnny's "friends" serving on the dinner sponsor's committee include Sheldon W. Andelson,AFI's Jean Firstenberg, Variety Clubs International President Salah M. Hassanein, Freddie Fields, Bob Finkel, Lulie Frankel, Richard S. Rosenzweig, David Wolper, Carl Reiner, Gary Pudney, Shirley and Saul Turteltaub, Ann and Jerry Moss, Sandra Moss, Michael S. Ovitz, Sherry Lansing, Barry Kaye, Tichi Wilkerson Kassel.
After a lapse of five years (they must have been busy), Harry and Marilyn Lewis of all those Hamburger Hamlets gave another of their famous Oscar parties. But unlike some other local hosts, the Lewises chose the Saturday before the awards so as not to interfere with the official ceremonies and the Governor's Ball. The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should send Harry and Marilyn a thank-you note. Or something.
Marilyn, who designs the Hamlets, had redesigned the kitchen of their Beverly Hills home and the work had just been completed that morning. Guests wandered through, admiring the results, the 100-year-old European zinc bar and enjoying Sheila Mack's hors d'oeuvres. (Some guests sighed over the lack of Hamburger Hamlet fare.) There was a little tent for cocktails and a much bigger one for dinner in the garden, where the celebrity count included Carol Channing, Tony Bennett, Frances Bergen, Jolene and George Schlatter, Phyllis Diller with Mark Taper (now that's a new duet), romantic novelist Danielle Steele with her husband John Traina, Christina Crawford Koontz, best-selling novelist Sidney Sheldon and his wife Jorja and Ricardo and Georgiana Montalban. With Danny Thomas acting as master of ceremonies for the assembled talent, Billy Daniels sang "That Old Black Magic" and Rose Marie Thomas sang one of her "kootchie koo" numbers and Ann Jillian sang a capella as the noise volume fell to zero.