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Now He Opens Hearts for Hospital

September 26, 1986|MIKE WYMA | Mike Wyma

The way George Burns sees it, it's a good thing his open heart surgery 12 years ago at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center was a success. Having lived through it, Burns is now serving as honorary chairman of a fund drive that seeks to raise $90 million this year for the hospital.

"It's a good thing they kept me alive," Burns quipped.

So far, the affair has traded extensively on the name of the 90-year-old comedian whose product promotions have become nearly as ubiquitous as his humor. Burns even appears on billboards touting World Airways, which, because financial pressures forced it to suspend all scheduled passenger service, only charter customers can fly on.

Burns's foray into raising money for a hospital so far seems to be going a little better. Cedars says it has already collected a third of its goal. In the process, it has engineered the renaming of a street near the medical center for Burns and stamped his likeness on a variety of promotional activities that will culminate with a posh fund-raising dinner early next year.

"I'm doing this because I'm 90 years old and they figured they needed $90 million," Burns said.

"When they have this big dinner in January, I'll be 91 (so I guess) they'll have to add another million every time I have a birthday.

"If they can't get somebody to give them another million, I'll do it.

"Don't put that in the paper. They'll hold me to it."

The Bishop and Wife

"I have always felt that women are equal to men in every sense of the word," the Rt. Rev. Daniel Corrigan, retired Episcopal bishop, remarked this week, and he might have added that he enjoys the company of one in particular.

Corrigan, who was censured in 1974 for ordaining women to the priesthood, on Sunday celebrated 60 years of marriage to his wife, Elizabeth.

"We had about 300 people here," Elizabeth Corrigan said from their Montecito home. "They came from as far away as Brittany and Rome."

Corrigan, serving in Colorado at the time, was one of three bishops censured by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal church for ordaining women as priests. Two years later, in 1976, a general convention of the church lifted the censure.

In the years since, church law has been changed to allow women to become both priests and bishops.

"There are several women priests now," said Corrigan, 85.

"And very soon you'll see a woman bishop," said Elizabeth, 84.

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