"Isn't this a sensational turnout!" exclaimed Bonita Wrather at the Crystal Ball at the Beverly Hilton for St. John's Hospital and Health Center Foundation. Then, it was thank-you time--with good cause:
Big thanks, "and heartfelt gratitude, and this is not the first time," she said to Frank Sinatra, who later wowed the fashionable crowd with all their favorites: "Once in My Life," "I've Got the World on a String, "I've Got You Under My Skin." Big thanks to Nancy Reagan, honorary chairman who couldn't attend but "who loves St. John's." Very big thanks to Dolly Green, who underwrote the dinner for nearly 1,000. And to all the chairmen--Mrs. Robert H. Adams Jr., Mrs. Earle Jorgensen, Mrs. Virginia S. Milner, Mrs. Frank Sinatra, Mrs. William A. Wilson and "your's truly." The spotlight skipped from one to the other, as all were introduced and stood for recognition.
"Now," said Mrs. Wrather, wife of the late Jack Wrather, "This very small and incredible group will present a check for $1 million to St. John's Hospital for our new cancer center (scheduled to open Nov. 4)." Also getting accolades, the powerhouse vice chairmen: Mrs. Corwin D. Denney, Mrs. William H. Doheny, Mrs. Henry E. Singleton, Mrs. Norman Sprague, Mrs. Charles B. Thornton and Mrs. Rodney F. Williams.
For being so generous (a choice of tables of 10 for $25,000 or $2,500), the crowd was rewarded with dynamo Peggy Lee, who slinked on stage in white satin and fur. Her finale, "Fever," brought an encore, "Fever." More rewards: Irv Cottler and his Orchestra directed by Bill Miller, and comedian Tom Dreesen: "I was 22 when I saw my first Republican."
Ambassadors and major figures filled the crowd: Former Ambassador to the Vatican William Wilson and Betty brought former Ambassador to Spain Thomas Enders and his wife Gaetana as well as Princess Boncompagne of Italy (and they were holidaying in Mexico later in the weekend). Former Atty. Gen. William French Smith and Jean joined the Jorgensen group, and so did Sister Marie Madeleine Shonka, whom Bonita described as "dedicated, compassionate--and I can just see her smiling all the way to the bank."
Mrs. Alfred S. Bloomingdale took two tables, filling one with friends, the other with Lisa and Kim Bell and their friends. Howard and Mary Varner (she volunteers one or two days a week at St. John's) brought guests, the Ron Johnsons and the Arthur Springs. Alice Avery O'Neill was a supporter, along with the R. Stanton Averys, the Aubrey Austins Jr., the Jack Foremans (she's a volunteer, too), who brought Father Donald Merrifield. Supporters Carl Gregory were with Peter and Robin Barker and the Ronald Hartwicks. The Terrence Lynches joined Dr. and Mrs. William Hummer. More in the crowd were former President Gerald and Betty Ford, the Robert Erburus, the Frederick E. Giersches Jr. (she's on the board), Lester and Carolbeth Korn, Dr. Peter Boasberg and Stacey McNutt (his fiancee), Mrs. Sidney F. Brody, the Glen McDaniels, the Ricardo Montalbans (he was not driving a Chrysler), the Chase Morseys, the Gregory Pecks (he went backstage to congratulate Sinatra), Fred and Peggy Hartley, Mrs. Maurice Machris with the Eric Skipseys, the Jack Michels with the James Hesburghs, the Thomas Mullaneys with the Donn Millers, the Gerald Oppenheimers with the Henry Bergers, Eleanor Colt, the James Regans and the Frank Viaults.
The thing to do was to buy a table for your friends, another for your children and their pals: Virginia Milner did that, and son Reese Milner included his fiance Mary Daly, James Dahl, Kendel Fewel, Brad Freeman, John Hall and the James M. Julians. Tom Trainer Jr. also hosted a young group, including Maria Vasquez and the Michael McCarthys. Dr. James Scharffenberger included Allyson Ashforth, Susan Christian, the Chris Gorogs, John Scharffenberger, Christine Singleton, the William Singletons and Joan Toole. Steven and Judy Jones, Bill and Daryn Horton, Libby and Will Doheny (new parents) were there, dining on the veal piccata and dessert chocolate wicker baskets. So were Phoebe and Joe Vacarro. John and Lucia Meyers drove off at the end of the evening in a pretty Mercedes with a hood ornament of a bird dog with a duck in its mouth.
MAJOR MOVERS: Edmonde A. Haddad, president of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, is elated: 1,600 tickets have been sold for the luncheon Friday when Secretary of State George P. Shultz is to deliver a major foreign policy address at the Century Plaza. On the reception committee will be Council directors including Joseph F. Alibrandi, Roy A. Anderson, Edward W. Carter, John F. Hotchkis, Earle M. Jorgensen and James Kenney.