Big Hollywood names, but no Tinseltown glitz. Instead, an understated reception Wednesday night hosted by Ted and Barbara Field in the backyard of their Holmby Hills home--a quiet affair that raised an extraordinary $4 million for the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
What was just as extraordinary, the heavy hitters agreed, was the short address by author Elie Wiesel, who chairs the Holocaust Memorial Council. Jewish Federation Council President Stanley Hirsch introduced Wiesel, saying that the writer bore witness to the Holocaust, the tragedy that was "essentially Jewish, but its lessons are for everyone." Wiesel said that what brought this group together was the need to "awaken humankind."
Wiesel said that as a young child, arriving in a concentration camp--a memory he wrote about in "Night"--he thought such suffering "must mean something, and I don't know what it means." Another generation, he said, might be able to discover the meaning behind the horror, but that this generation had to " . . . enter the despair with open eyes and heart, and acknowledge" the Holocaust. "My fear is not evil, but the indifference to evil."
Among those gathering were Morton and Abigail Phillips (she's Dear Abby), Warner Bros. President Bob Daly and Steve Ross, head of Warner Communications, MCA's Lew Wasserman with wife Edie, impresario David Wolper, industrialist Max Palevsky with Jodie Evans, theater owner Ted Mann, Herb Alpert, Carl and Debbie Rheuban, and producer Peg Yorkin.
Hirsch, in acknowledging the contributions--the minimum being $50,000--pointed out that Field, Wasserman and Steven Spielberg together had given a gift totaling $1 million. Contributions also came from Norman Lear, Merv Adelson and from his company, Lorimar.
MUCHO GLITZY--Back on the glitz circuit was the Tuesday afternoon gathering at Sunset Strip hot spot Nicky Blair's given by the Associates for Troubled Children. Blair oversaw the passing of the stuffed mushrooms and the fried mozzarella among very stylish ladies who looked as though they never eat anything. Camera crews crowded the marble bar for the announcement of the winners of the Scott Newman Award. The prizes are given out at the ATC gala Nov. 8, and, according to ATC founder Stephanie Rosenbloom, this year there is the special punch of the involvement by Jack Valenti, the president of the Motion Picture Assn. of America. Honored this year--"Punky Brewster" episode "Just Say 'No,' " ABC News Nightline's "America--Hooked on Drugs," and the film "Mask." "Dallas' " Victoria Principal made the actual announcement--looking none the worse for the wear even though last Friday she (and America) discovered that the entire previous season's episodes had only been a bad dream. The announcement of the film winners took less than 10 minutes. Why all the crush? "Hey, it's an awards situation--emphasis on the awards," one mildly cynical observer said before chomping down on some fried mozzarella.
CHOCOHOLIC ALERT--Seems too good to be true, but through a Boston-based candy company, Fannie Farmer, one may purchase a "lifetime membership in the Chocolate-of-the-Month Club." For a mere $1,987, you get a pound of chocolates monthly. Forever. Please remember, though, that a moment on the lips, forever on the hips.
UPCOMING--Don't forget that the Maple Center's annual lavish and big money-raising "Gala Gala" is set for Wednesday night at the Beverly Hilton. . . Dick Clark hosts a fund-raiser for the United Negro College Fund at his home Oct. 15. Doing the cooking honors is Joann Roth of Someone's in the Kitchen. . . . The Hispanic Women's Council holds "Meeting the Challenge, A Women's Agenda for Success" on Oct. 18 at the Mount St. Mary's campus downtown.
AMANDA ALERT--Sean Fitzgerald, senior associate at Hunt Marmillion Associates along with Dennis Hunt himself, sprung to the defense this week of the country's most beleaguered profession--public relations. Giving new meaning to the term flacking, they issued a press release calling for a nationwide "Amanda Alert." Seems as though on "Dynasty" this past week, Amanda Carrington, after acknowledging that she had no talent, skills or experience in the business world, was given a job by Daddy Blake in his company's public relations office. "Today, public relations professionals united with expatriate Moldavians everywhere to express their shock and concern over Blake's cavalier treatment of his one-time princess daughter." They called for a "Hands Across Moldavia" fund-raiser. Some days we just love our job.