"A legend in our time." That's what the Friars Club calls Gene Kelly, that all-around, splendid talent. To back up those words the Friars are giving Kelly their Lifetime Achievement Award at a resplendent black-tie affair Nov. 9 at the Beverly Hilton. The award is no small token of recognition. In past years it has gone to such worthies as Lucille Ball, James Stewart, Sammy Davis Jr., Red Buttons, Marvin Davis and Milton Berle.
To add even more luster to the dinner, Frank Sinatra will be the master of ceremonies. And joining Sinatra and Kelly on the dais will be Friars President Milton Berle, John Forsythe, Joan Collins, Miss Ball and her husband Gary Morton, Tony Martin and his wife Cyd Charisse, Angie Dickinson, Buttons, Sid Caesar, Eddie Murphy, Richard Widmark, Jerry Buss, June Allyson, Dinah Shore, Richard Widmark, Fayard Nicholas, Shirley Jones, Janet Leigh and a score more.
Kelly, that dancing-singing darling, adds the Friars' honor to a long list of others, among them an Oscar and an Emmy plus the John F. Kennedy Center Life Achievement Award. The Friars was established in 1947 as a charitable foundation to contribute support to many good causes.
Her clients include Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and France's Baron Guy de Rothschild. And when it's necessary, the usually impeccably chic Anita Pereire will load trees for Buckingham Palace into a pickup truck and drive from her home in Paris via the Channel ferry to London. Just to make sure they're there when needed and in perfect leafy condition.
Mlle. Pereire, the landscape designer par excellence and the author of a book on "Private Gardens of France" (written with Gabrielle van Zuylen) will be here Nov. 12, giving a slide presentation at the Directors Guild Theatre on "Trends in Today's Gardens" for La Coterie of the Friends of French Art.
The Coterie, which has French Consul General Francois Mouton as its honorary chairman, is turning the event into a veritable fete. Seniors at Westlake School for Girls, wearing green sashes, will help usher guests about. And after Mlle. Pereire's stint, champagne and supper will be served. Expect to see a strong turnout of committee members including chairmen Mr. and Mrs. John Good, Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Ayres III, Beverly and Chase Morsey, the Robert Scotts, Maggie and Harry Wetzel, Mrs. Sidney Brody, Donna and Grover Asmus, Mr. and Mrs. David Ingalls, Mrs. Franklin D. Murphy, the Robert Starkeys, Bob and Midge Clark and a few others.
The evening, at $60 per ticket, will contribute to the Friends' restoration funds for the "Allegory of Flowers" on the Brunetti Staircase of Paris' Musee Carnavalet. Lisa May, Normie Ayres, Helen Bing, Yvonne Lenart have contributed underwriting funds. Photographer Max Eckert and interior designer Jack Lowrance will do the topiary decor. And among those expected to attend are the Earle Crandalls, the Getty's Philippa Calnan, the Roger Cormans, Betty Field, Anna Bing Arnold, Evelyn Lambert who's coming in from her villa in Vicenza, Italy, El Paso's Sam and Mary Lou Young, Mr. and Mrs. George C. Roberts, Vanya Rohner, Lee Katz, Lynda Palevsky, Patricia and Daniel Ryan and ever so many more of our chums who think being in a garden is the closest thing to being in heaven.
The Social Scramble: Richard Gully entertained Queen Elizabeth II's cousin, the world-roving photographer Lord Lichfield over dinner at the Bistro. Patrick Lichfield, who was just in India where he photographed Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has a selection of his royal pix on display at the J. C. Penney stores, part of their Best of Great Britain promo. Claudia Mirkin was Richard's hostess. Esther Williams was with Ed Bell and Stefanie Powers with Robert Wagner and all of them came from the Rock Hudson memorial where Stefanie and R. J., co-stars in the late, lamented "Hart to Hart" TV series, fell into each other's arms after not having seen each other for a year. (R. J.'s lady, Jill St. John, was in New York.) Also adding their own sparks to the party--Jayne and Henry Berger, Carole Wells Doheny Karabian and Craig Stevens, whose wife Alexis Smith was in New Mexico that night.
It's true that Ma Maison is closing, confirms the restaurant's public relations man Pierre Groleau, who has just returned from a long stay in Paris. Closing day is Nov. 14, the day escrow closes on the Melrose Boulevard land. According to Groleau, Ma Maison, the name and the restaurant were sold to Sheldon Gordon earlier. Gordon is planning to build a Ma Maison hotel (it will also house a Ma Maison restaurant) on the corner of Beverly Boulevard and La Cienega. Patrick Terrail, Ma Maison's founder-owner, told us he'll be going to Hong Kong to "apprentice" in hotel management at the Regent before returning to run the new Ma Maison. Got it clear?