BET OF THE WEEK--Author Sidney Sheldon, feted at the home of Washington hostess Jeanne Viner this week (for his new book, "Windmills of the Gods"), reportedly ran up to guest Kitty Kelley. An onlooker tells us that Sheldon told Kelley that her book on Frank Sinatra, "My Way," was going to sell 2 million copies--in fact, he would bet on it. The payoff, according to a pal of Kelley's, is first-class air fare to Los Angeles and a Sunday-night dinner at Matteo's. Why? According to photographer Stanley Trettick, to whom Kelley dedicated her Sinatra book, she at first didn't want to bet against herself. But the dinner at Matteo's was perfect because it's Sinatra's favorite restaurant.
MORE CUOMO--Politics aside, the Center for Law and the Public Interest anniversary party honoring attorney Frank Wheat netted $100,000 for the public-interest law firm. Center founder and dinner co-chairman Carlyle Hall said that the firm, founded 15 years ago by four associates from O'Melveny & Myers, was the country's "only full-service" public-interest law firm. Wheat and wife, Nancy, along with dinner co-chairpersons John Phillips and Marsha Kwalwasser, joined former Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher and his wife, Marie, and hundreds of downtown types Wednesday night at the Music Center. There was a touch of presidential campaigns past, as veterans such as Harold and Grace Willens, UC Regent Stanley Sheinbaum and Max Palevsky gathered at the private reception preceding the dinner.
Palevsky, there with his bride-to-be, Jodie Evans, says he's still swearing off presidential politics. In fact, Palevsky said, he noticed that he gave only $25,000 to state and other elections this past year--compared with the $500,000 that he contributed to Sen. George McGovern's presidential campaign in 1972--"and with inflation, that would probably now be $1 million." In the audience for the speech by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo were some of the more au courant political powers--like attorney Mickey Kantor, Interscope's Bob Burkett (who with his boss, Ted Field, was a major money force in the '86 Democratic Senate victories) and Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, sitting with the Hollywood Women's Political Committee founder Paula Weinstein and her husband, Mark Rosenberg. Field is already pledged to Sen. Joseph Biden and Hayden-Fonda to Sen. Gary Hart. But Cuomo still has plenty of money-raisers to go after. No major studio head has as yet signed on for any presidential campaign. And, in this town, that means the reviews are still out.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: YOU'RE HIRED--Tonight, political honcho Stu Spencer (who was in on the launching of Ronald Reagan) celebrates his 60th birthday in D.C. with several hundred of his closest friends. And maybe he's celebrating a new job, too, since high-level Washington folks say he'll be taking over as political director at the White House.
NO SAFETY--Thanks to Road and Track magazine, which tells in its March '87 issue that a thief in Chicago has been breaking into cars with "No Stereo" stickers. Then, according to Road and Track, he leaves a note reading "Just Checking."
UPCOMING--Get your tux cleaned. The next two months are party madness. The L.A. Conservation Corps holds its first dinner Feb. 26 at the Biltmore Hotel. Special guests include three members of the original Civilian Conservation Corps. Get ready--they are actor Robert Mitchum, car dealer Cal Worthington and County AFL-CIO chairman William Robertson. The dinner chairpersons include Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, Nick Patsaouras and Rosemary Tomich . . . The United Jewish Fund's Gala Celebration Ball is set for March 8 at the Beverly Wilshire. Harriet and Bruce Hochman are chairing the dinner for major givers to UJF. . . . Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Rosemary Clooney and Sammy Davis Jr. headline Feb. 21 at the Century Plaza Hotel benefiting the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum. The Gala Committee includes Happy Franklin and Buddy Rogers. The Griffith Park Museum will fulfill a long-time dream of Autry to show the heritage of the West.