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Marylouise Oates

Whatta Price Tag ($2,000) for 'Whatta Lady!' Lunch


The invites to the "Whatta Lady!" luncheon honoring Nancy Reagan have a response form explaining that a table for 10 for the benefit Tuesday costs $2,000. Unless, of course, you received one of the invites with the original price crossed out and a $1,000 price written in.

The explanation for the discount price from luncheon organizer Liz McMillion is that "$2,000 (or $200 a person) is just too high for an individual, so we have a corporate rate and an individual rate." Yet no such distinction is made on the forms, which carry the label "corporate response form" whether they have the printed $2,000 price or the written-in price for just "individuals."

Big-deal benefit dinners in this town go from a usual floor of $250 or $2,500 for a table--but McMillion insisted that a luncheon can't do a sellout business at that price--even with the popular First Lady. Friends of Mrs. Reagan thought that $200-a-person was too high "out of a household account"--so a discount price was put on the invite forms mailed out to lists of individuals.

McMillion said 50 tables have been sold at the corporate rate for the lunch, benefiting the Volunteers of America. Credit for much of that sale goes to the ticket-selling power of the host committee chair, Margaret Brock, who has been on the phone with the heavy hitters on the committee. Those big names include Lew and Edie Wasserman, Leonard and Dorothy Straus, Armand and Frances Hammer, and Kitchen Cabineteers like Henry and Grace Salvatori.

McMillion said that 37 of the corporate tables would be occupied of the 50 sold. But that leaves 100 tables to be sold in the massive Century Plaza Ballroom. That's a little work to do until the "Whatta Lady!" lunch.

. . . First Lady Nancy Reagan will be doing some work while she's in town, filming anti-drug commercials, along with Clint Eastwood, Roy Scheider and Dudley Moore. It's all part of the film industry's anti-drug abuse campaign. Bravo!

BENEFITS, BASHES AND BIG DINNER--The Jeffrey Foundation holds its 15th annual ball at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Thursday. Kirk Douglas does the honorary chairing duties, while Connie Stevens and Steve Allen emcee. Dinah Shore is a "special guest" . . . June 10 is the kick-off luncheon, Neiman-Marcus is the store, Bob Mackie is the designer and Jenny Jones Rutt is planning to prove once again that volunteer talent is inherited. She and her CHIPS (that's the younger Colleagues) will be doing a giant benefit with ultra glitz sometime in October. As soon as there's a date . . . Monday in New York is the Rita Hayworth Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria. The actress' daughter, Princess Yasmin Khan, is chairing. Funds raised will go toward research for Alzheimer's disease. The "Today" show's Willard Scott, whose mother suffers from the disease, will be honored . . . Sunday celeb waiters will be at the Downtown Grill in Encino serving up brunch for Mother's Day. And it will benefit the "This Time . . . for Us" campaign of the Motion Picture and TV Country House and Hospital . . . Bob Morris will be hosting the Fraternity of Friends of the Music Center at an old-fashioned Clam Bake on May 16 . . .

NEWLYWEDS--"I'm learning to be a groupie," Diahann Carroll insisted, as her recent bridegroom, Vic Damone, hovered nearby. She was explaining that she was heading to Las Vegas just to hear Damone, not to perform herself. Henry and Ginny Mancini, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Barbara and Marvin Davis, Robert Wagner, Jacques Camus, L.A. First Lady Ethel Bradley, Altovise Davis and restaurateur Nicky Blair were all on hand for a post-honeymoon party at the home of Barbara Rush. The Bev Hills house had once been the residence of gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, and R. J. Wagner recalled one night at a premiere when Hopper saw him and said, "You ought to be in movies." She hadn't realized that the premiere was going to be his film debut. Damone and Carroll go on the road to sing together this summer, appearing in Tulsa, Okla., Westbury, Conn., and Atlanta.

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