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Jody Jacobs

Earl, Countess Visit Peerless California

October 17, 1985|Jody Jacobs

The sixth Earl of Normanton and his countess, who live in one of those splendid English stately homes (Somerly, set in 7,000 rolling acres on the edge of the New Forest overlooking the River Avon), are embarked on a visit of discovery to California--and, needless to say, of sampling our hospitable ways.

Locally, Douglas S. Cramer, the television producer and contemporary art collector, gave a dinner party for them and invited quite a few of his chums to meet the British couple who had been his hosts at their country place. Cramer's guest list included a lot of the "Dynasty" folk, since that's one of the Normantons' favorites. There was Joan Collins with Peter Holm, George Hamilton with Alana Stewart (aha!) and Catherine Oxenberg with Spanish businessman Arki Boussone (he's said to be the love of her life). More dining on Chasen's all-American fare (one of the wines served was from Cramer's Santa Ynez vineyard) were Alan Shayne, who has also stayed at Somerly; Ames Cushing, Craig Johnson, Paige Rense, Juliette Mills and her husband Maxwell Caulfield, Patti and Tom Skouras and Jackie Collins and her husband Oscar Lerman. By evening's end everyone was on a first-name basis, including the Normantons, who asked to be called Vicki and Shawn.

Friday afternoon, Paul and Ingrid Mitchell gave a luncheon for the Normantons at the Regency Club and invited such Anglophiles as Gene Washburn, Richard Gully (he's a cousin of the late Anthony Eden), Maggie Wetzel, architect Ragnar Qvale and his wife Mollie, Mrs. Jack LaLanne and the Mitchells' daughter Heidi (she works in television in Palm Springs) to enjoy some fine food and fine conversation.

On another day, Susie Worthy hosted a cocktail party for the Normantons at Le Bel Age Hotel. The Normantons, you see, are one of 250 English owners of stately homes and castles who have been persuaded by Miss Worthy to open up their places to American tourists. She's banded them all together in an organization called Country Homes and Castles, and the endeavor is getting along rather well, thank you. The Normantons' visit to the West was under the auspices of Country Homes and British Caledonian Airways.

Noblesse Oblige: Neil Diamond has canceled his early November recording sessions for a new album so that he and his wife Marcia can wing to Washington to attend President and Mrs. Reagan's dinner for Prince Charles and Princess Diana on Nov. 9. Back in June of last year, the royals attended Diamond's final concert in Birmingham, England, a benefit for the Prince's Trust. It was that night that an uninhibited Princess Diana, stirred by the music, jumped up and kept time to the beat. The whole audience joined her. That was some sight.

The Beverly Hills Charitable Foundation and the Beverly Hills B'nai B'rith Lodge 1325 join hands to make television's Aaron Spelling their 32nd Man of the Year on Sunday evening at the Beverly Hilton. Oilman Marvin Davis is honorary chairman for the $500-per-person dinner-dance and lodge president Leonard E. Wasserstein is dinner chairman.

ABC's Gary Pudney is the evening's executive producer for a show that headlines Diahann Carroll and Dean Martin and includes Victoria Principal, Sally Field, Kenny Rogers, Henry Winkler, Robert Wagner, Ricardo Montalban, Jaclyn Smith, Pamela Bellwood, Catherine Oxenberg and Katharine Ross.

Samuel S. Faye is foundation president. And as you would expect, the list of names on chairman Alan Brunswick's Man of the Year Committee goes on and on. The evening benefits the Alan J. Factor Memorial Fund, which helps senior citizen programs and other philanthropies.

The Ahmanson Foundation receives the sixth annual Armand Hammer Award in recognition of "its extraordinary gifts to Los Angeles' cultural life" at a luncheon Oct. 30 at the Century Plaza Hotel. The award will be presented on behalf of the Los Angeles Arts Council (formerly the Cultural Commission) to Robert H. Ahmanson by Dr. Armand Hammer. Over the past five years, the Ahmanson Foundation has distributed more than $50 million to institutions and organizations as diverse as the County Museum of Art, Plaza de la Raza, the Aman Folk Ensemble and Friends of Little Tokyo.

Along with the award, there is usually an exhibition of fine art. This year's exhibit will be mounted by the Museum of Contemporary Art under the direction of Richard Koshalek, the museum's director.

Frances Bergen, the happiest grandmother-to-be we know, invited friends of hers and of her daughter, Candy Bergen Malle, to a baby shower-tea at Le Restaurant. (The birth is imminent.)

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