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ANN CONWAY

As Scarlett, She's Just Rhett : Newport Beach Socialite May Come Back With Wind

December 11, 1987|ANN CONWAY

Frankly, Kathryn Toth does give a damn. About playing Scarlett O'Hara in the sequel to "Gone With the Wind."

Since she was very young, the Newport Beach socialite with the tousled dark hair, the kaleidoscope eyes and the smile that makes even the hardest heart leap out of its pericardial sac has been told she looks like Scarlett, has a temperament like Scarlett's, and should in fact be Scarlett when the sequel to "Gone With the Wind" is made.

Producers Sol Lesser and Mervyn Le Roy, both deceased, put the idea into the former model's head in the early '70s, when talk of a GWTW sequel started to dance around Tinseltown like a hoop skirt at Tara.

And now, "Kit"--a sobriquet that perfectly suits her tightly packaged persona--has decided that the notion is an idea whose time has come. A year ago, a friend gave her a newspaper clipping that said the estate of "Gone With the Wind" author Margaret Mitchell had authorized a book sequel to be written.

Since then, the 40-ish Kit has been preparing. She's had promotional pictures taken by Harry Langdon, for 15 years lensman to the stars. She has taken acting lessons. She is practicing her Southern accent regularly by reading excerpts from Mitchell's 1936 best seller. She has watched the film again and again--"Whenever I start feeling like I need to get back into the role," she said in her Big Canyon home, dressed in low-cut periwinkle-blue taffeta at 3 p.m.

And if she doesn't get the part? Fiddle-de-de. "Tomorrow is another day."

Another New Frontiere: L.A. Rams owner Georgia Frontiere, who divides her time between homes in Bel Air and Big Canyon, has joined Impresario Circle, the prestigious group that supports Opera Pacific with minimum donations of $5,000 annually. Bet you didn't know Frontiere is a bit of an opera star herself, and will, on very special occasions, perform arias for friends. But Frontiere isn't singing any love songs to husband Dominic, released recently from prison after serving time for filing a false income tax return and fibbing to investigators in a case involving the scalping of 1980 Super Bowl tickets. Dominic Frontiere hasn't been doing time at either of his lovely wife's addresses.

But Can He Play a Steinway? Renzo Piano--the hirsute and excruciatingly handsome Italian architect who co-designed the Georges Pompidou cultural center in Paris and is set to design the new, $20-million Newport Harbor Art Museum--will be the guest of museum board chairman Rogue Hemley and his wife, Judy, in their Newport Beach home on Jan. 10. On the guest list for cocktails and Sunday supper: museum senior staff members and board members and their spouses. The Hemleys reside in a Williamsburg-style home in Newport Beach.

Breakaway for Brunch: Actor George Hamilton has sold his 70-foot yacht Breakaway to Reed and Rita Sprinkel of Newport Beach, and come Monday, Rita and pal Barbara Jernigan--who underwent two liver transplants in June because she suffered from a terminal liver ailment--will host friends for a brunch-cruise on Newport Bay. Honoree for the event is Katherine Logan, Jernigan's roomie and the woman who spearheaded a fund-raising campaign to help pay Jernigan's sky-high medical bills. Reed Sprinkel owns Fontana Paving. "I call him the freeway man," said Jernigan, also of Newport Beach. Seems the Sprinkels, who move quietly in rich and famous circles, have known Hamilton for 25 years. "We hope to get George down this way for a little celebration on the boat soon," said Rita, noting that the yacht is the same one on which Hamilton courted Elizabeth Taylor. "Wouldn't it be wonderful if he brought Liz?"

It's a Boy: David Fieldstad Ahmanson was born to Roberta and Howard F. Ahmanson Jr. of Corona del Mar on Nov. 29. Ahmanson is the son of the late Howard F. Ahmanson, founder of Home Savings of America and mega-donor to the Los Angeles Music Center. The junior Ahmanson is currently on "paternity leave," he said, from his nonprofit Fieldstead & Co., which manages some of his assets for charity, and his Phil Four Twelve Inc. (short for the Bible passage Philippians, Chapter 4, Verse 12), the corporation that manages his millions for profit. The birth of David was announced by telegram, the same way his father's birth was announced 38 years ago.

What They're Buying: Handbag guru Judith Leiber of New York was on hand Sunday at the Amen Wardy boutique in Newport Center when Wardy flung open his see-through doors to locals with Christmas shopping on their minds. Set up in Wardy's parquet-floored, chandelier-hung ballroom were hundreds of Leiber bags--from the sparkling, rhinestone-studded minaudieres (French for a small, hard box) seen on the soiree circuit to the simple, albeit pricey, tailored exotic leathers paired with smart suits by the financially able. While Leiber frequently creates bags for Nancy Reagan--the most recent a green velvet to perfectly match a gown by Carolyne Roehm--she suggests a simple "snakeskin bag trimmed with semiprecious stones" for an initial Leiber purchase. Price tag: $735.

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