PALM SPRINGS — It was a glorious $1,000-per-person gala with Princess Di roses mingling amid twisted willow in vases on white moire tablecloths. The spotlights glowed like candlelight, focused ever so superbly on the honoree, Kay Waycott; the night's talent, songster Peggy Lee; and the Impressionist masterpieces from the Phillips Collection in Washington.
The Palm Springs Desert Museum was aglow, even though supporters had trekked in through a downpour, risking new ball gowns, for the affair. Just your everyday benefit at the desert.
"We have these events all the time--$1,000, $2,000, $5,000 a ticket," said Mrs. Sam Schahet. "Of course, I drive a Chevrolet."
That, however, didn't mean the drivers weren't delivering. Former Ambassador to England Walter Annenberg and his pretty wife, Lee, former U.S. Chief of Protocol, brought a prominent contingent of house guests from their home at Rancho Mirage. The one in most demand, however, was New Yorker Mrs. Vincent Astor. Philanthropist Brooke M. Astor glittered and gleamed in chiffon and jewels. Bandleader Tony Rose (his wife was benefit chairman) had just played "Mack the Knife" to a full dance floor. Who else but Mrs. Astor could waltz up to Rose and ask for a repeat 10 minutes later. All eyes were on her and the ambassador the second time around.
More at their table were former Ambassador to Belgium Leonard Firestone and his bride, Caroline; the L. Robert Frenches of Midland, Tex. (their "Art of the Old West" collection is also currently on exhibit at the museum), William Fuller of Ft. Worth, Tex.; and the Frenches' handsome blond son, Fuller, a student at the University of Texas at Austin. More in the eclectic coterie were Dinah Shore and Jon and Beau Bannenberg (he designs yachts, including Malcolm Forbes').
Both J. Ralph Stone, president of the museum trustees, and Mort Golden, museum director, paid respects to Mrs. Ralph Waycott, longtime trustee and supporter of the museum. She was honored for her "unending enthusiasm, willingness to become personally involved, her commitments of time and energy, as well as financial resources."
Her son, Courtney Jones, and his wife, Tanny, of Spencertown, N.Y., were a hit of the party, joining Kay Waycott's friends, including Mrs. John Finucane, Hal Broderick, Cal Vanderwoude, Kay Paschall, Bill Croxton and the Robert Hamiltons.
First to toast Mrs. Waycott was former museum president Earl Hoover, attending with his wife, Barbara. More in the crowd were Jack and Carol Hoover; the Stewart Williamses; Jacque Coveny; Joseph and Pat Heller; Tom and Claire Moore (who entertained friends at breakfast the next morning at Smoke Tree Ranch); Mary and Dr. Lawrence Cone (she did the flowers with florist Jack Kloss); Buddy Rogers, who introduced Peggy Lee (she sang from a wheelchair after her recent accident and cracked pelvis, and was staying at the nearby Maxim's); and his niece, Shirley Myers; the Sanford B. Schulhofers; and Jim Peterson and Helen Isaacs, who will be married Thursday on Maui.
SOARING: Innovators of the YWCA's Leader Luncheon XIII on April 23 are literally flying high. Sixty years after "Lucky Lindy" flew solo across the Atlantic, Jeana Yeager and her co-pilot, Dick Rutan, circled the globe in Voyager without refueling. Now the YWCA of Los Angeles will honor Yeager, as well as the achievements of eight other women, at the Westin Bonaventure.
Scheduled to receive the YWCA's fourth Athena Award is Dr. Ann Shaw, following in the footsteps of Caroline Leonetti Ahmanson, Anna Bing Arnold and Judith Harris Murphy.
President Virginia Tanzmann and luncheon chairman Mary Anne Dolan said other women in chosen fields receiving Silver Achievement Awards will be:
Fay Kanin, the first woman to gain prominence as a Hollywood writer, communications/creative arts; Patti Mancini, vice president, Rockwell International/North American Space Operations, business and industry; Dolores Sanchez, publisher, Eastern Group Publications, entrepreneur; Norma Sklarek, architect, professions; Rose Ochi, lawyer, for public service; and Bettina Chandler, president of the Downtown Women's Center, for volunteer community service.
AND SAILING: Already $80,000 is in the till from the "supporting cast" to help underwrite the costs of the Women's Auxiliary of the John Wayne Cancer Clinic Odyssey Award Ball on April 11 at the Beverly Hilton. That evening, TV producer Danny Arnold of "Barney Miller" will be presented the first Odyssey. He's been chosen not only for his financial support, but for creating a major fund-raiser for the clinic, the Aku Cup, held each May in Maui. (This year it's May 20-25 at Maui's Wailea Golf Club and Wailea Tennis Club.) The award is being sculpted by Wasa.