Co-chairs Barbara Grant and Della Koenig are making beaucoup progress on the Princess Grace Foundation-U.S.A. gala (Nov. 3 at the Beverly Wilshire) that will have Prince Rainier, Prince Albert and Princesses Caroline and Stephanie as its star attractions.
Earlier this week there was a progress report, proudly presented in the midst of a cocktail party (hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, Chuck Pick's parking attendants, etc.) hosted by Hollywood Park's Marjorie Everett at her home in Holmby Hills. The gala, it turns out, is now a weekend of social events, much as it was last year in Washington.
The special guests were foundation chairman Robert J. Hausman, who flew in from New York to announce the gala's sponsors, and Pierre Cardin, the enterprising designer who has become a major benefactor. Cardin is not only donating a full week on his yacht, Maxim's des Mers, which makes its maiden voyage around the Caribbean in December, but he also donated an additional $100,000 for the privilege of presenting his couture collection at the Beverly Hills Hotel on the afternoon of the gala. To show the collection, Cardin is bringing in the models who showed his collection in China at his Peking Maxim's. "They're spectacular," said fashion doyenne Eleanor Lambert, who was at the cocktail party and hopes to return for the gala weekend of parties. "One of them is 6 feet tall."
The benefit committee has already sold the week on Maxim's des Mers to the Epicure Group for $120,000. Epicure runs spas in Europe and is opening its first hotel, The Grenville, in Los Angeles next month. An additional underwriter is the Erich and Della Koenig Foundation.
"It's going to be great fun," Mrs. Koenig predicted as the committee took Cardin to the Bistro Garden Pavilion for dinner. Besides the Cardin show they're also planning a special dinner for patrons at the Regency Club the night before the gala. While their elders gather at the Regency Club, the junior committee, which is headed by Barbara Sinatra's son Bobby and the Gregory Pecks' daughter Cecilia, will be hosting a party for the younger set at the Hard Rock Cafe.
And as a prelude to both dinners, there'll be a cocktail party at the Beverly Wilshire where both groups will mingle. The hostess is Princess Stephanie, who's giving the party to thank Le Prairie, the Swiss skin-care line, for its contribution to her mother's foundation. (Princess Stephanie, along with such social arbiters as Mrs. Gordon Getty, Mrs. Oscar Wyatt Jr. and Mrs. Dennis Stanfill, posed for Le Prairie ads. Their fees were donated to their favorite charities.)
For the gala itself, entertainment chairman Leslie Bricusse has lined up quite a cast--Johnny Carson as master of ceremonies and Liza Minnelli as the headliner.
It was Barbara Grant who spelled out the foundation's goals for the cocktail crowd. In its second year, the foundation is dedicated to continuing Princess Grace's patronage of the arts in the U.S. by granting scholarships to talented young actors, dancers, choreographers, playwrights and directors.
Listening attentively were Mrs. Grant's husband, Cary, and Gloria and Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck (his wife, Veronique, had a cold), Gant Gaither (he's a family friend of Monaco's princely family), Tova Borgnine, Robin Plunket, Mrs. Milton Berle, Mrs. Vincente Minnelli, Kitty and Mervyn Le Roy, Luis Estevez, the Henry Bergers, Dr. Ivy Mooring, Gene Washburn, Jarma Bensinger, Bob Forward, Grace Robbins, Contessa Cohn and Parisian Jean Miguel, the man responsible for turning a private yacht into Maxim's des Mers. The yacht was commissioned by Brazilian playboy Baby Pignateri as a wedding present for his wife, Princess Ira von Furstenberg, but by the time it was ready to sail the marriage had foundered. C'est la vie. The ship then lay in dry dock for 20 years until Jean Miguel persuaded Cardin to rescue it.
Bemvindo Cariocas! The Rainbow Guild has chosen Rio de Janeiro as its destination Sept. 21 when the support group for the Amie Karen Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center sets sail aboard the S. S. Rainbow (actually it's the Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom, but never mind) on a celebrity-packed cruise.
The ship (read ballroom) will be festooned with streamers and balloons, a la the Carnaval in Rio. Nell Carter, star of NBC's "Gimme a Break!," will entertain the passengers (read guests) and "Hotel's" Connie Sellecca will be in the honored spot. Gary Owens will act as master of ceremonies. And Clark Keen's orchestra will play sensuous sambas all night.