From the town that gave you "Star Wars"--welcome to Holiday Party Wars.
Without discussion, declare the winners to be Marvin and Barbara Davis. The buzz on their Friday-night extravaganza is unstoppable.
Experienced party hands said the evening for 400 of their closest friends had to set the Davises back close to $500,000. How cheap can it come when you fly in Peter Duchin and his orchestra, Peter Allen performs and, to fill in the musical blanks, there were Scottish bagpipers?
"Marvin must have ordered a Scotch," quipped one party-goer, as the pipers trooped in.
Security at the Beverly Hills Gothic estate was even heavier then normal. (The home, of course, was the "guest house" for the Doheny estate next door--and is, if this were not Beverly Hills, within walking distances of the homes of Lew and Edie Wasserman, Nick and Felisa Vanoff, Merv Griffin, Frank and Barbara Sinatra.) The cars almost stretched to the neighbors' properties, hard to do on this Millionaires' Row, as security men took the names even of the most famous, walkie-talkied the names to the house and waited for the OK to be radioed back.
But, boy, was it worth the wait. Hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights lit up the crisp night, done reportedly by that master major-domo Roland Brown. Flowers from David Jones decorated the entry and house, while the tent looked like some Christmas confection.
"Is this what the Carousel Ball was like?" one newcomer to the Davis set quipped, talking about the annual Denver fund-raising fete that was part of the Davis' life before they set up housekeeping in Bev Hills several years ago. (That was, of course, when he still owned 20th Century Fox, and stars were as plentiful as the candy kisses that Mrs. Davis was fond of giving.)
Jeff Williams of Regal Rents had put up the white tent, covering it with red. Flower Fashions took the cue, decorating the swagging in gold tinsel garlands and tiny lights.
Barbara Davis was in red velvet (with rubies, of course). Just as Christmasy were the red-velvet-covered tables; and on them, Flower Fashions put red-velvet centerpieces with red roses. Yummy, as was the dinner Chasen's served up. First the baked potato with caviar, then veal and creamed spinach, etc., followed by hot fudge over ice cream. Barbara Davis loves presents--and loves to give them, so, for the ladies, there were little music boxes to take home.
At the party--the Wassermans, Warner Brothers' Bob and Nancy Daly, Merv Adelson (Barbara Walters was out of town), Lee and Angela Rich, Liz Taylor in a very low-cut red dress with rubies and diamonds on her neck and George Hamilton on her arm, Aaron and Candy Spelling, Lionel and Brenda Richie, Milton and Ruth Berle, R. J. Wagner and Jill St. John, Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland, Tony and Cristina Ferrare Thomopoulos, Suzanne Pleshette and Tommy Gallagher, Altovise Davis (Sammy is recovering from hip surgery), Marianne and Kenny Rogers, Paramount's Frank and Fay Mancuso, and Richard Zanuck and his emeralded wife, Lili.
Dancing All Night
Close to midnight came happy revelers from Norman and Erlenne Sprague's holiday dinner party at the Bistro Garden (which got rave reviews, especially by those who danced all night to Joe Moshay and dined on roast rack of veal while listening to the strings of Murray Korda). Making a quick stop-by at the Davises were Marion and Earle Jorgensen, Betty and Bill Wilson, Armand and Harriet Deutsch, Betsy Bloomingdale with a very attractive Easterner, and former Ambassador Walter and Lee Annenberg. By the time they hit the Davises', they must have felt as though they were in a Hollywood Christmas musical, since they were raving about the setting at the Bistro Garden, done by David Jones, a stunning Winter Wonderland with silver tablecloths and silver and white centerpieces with tall Belgian tulips, amaryllis and branches with snow.
(Across town was a star-power party, as Steven Spielberg celebrated his 40th birthday at Chaya Brasserie restaurant. Part of the rather select crowd: Richard and Jeramie Dreyfuss and Barbra Streisand.)
At the Davises', those who came late got caught in the crush of those leaving, the majority of whom cleared out by midnight.
One experienced party-goer said that the evening was truly memorable. "The only way to make it any more Hollywood would be to dig up a couple of people, like Tyrone Power."
ONCE MORE, EASILY--It was an easy way for the American Film Institute to pick up $50,000 and a great evening, as "Ironweed" premiered Friday night. Taft Entertainment Pictures and Keith Barish made the contribution, while giving the Jack Nicholson-Meryl Streep picture to AFI for the invitational screening.
Five years ago, AFI premiered another Barish film, "Sophie's Choice," and, at that time, Barish told AFI Director Jean Firstenberg he'd like to do it again. "I believe in AFI," Barish said. "I like to open up this kind of film with this kind of introduction."
Also at the premiere, 20 participants from AFI's Directing Workshop for Women. "There's never been a time when this business was more open to women," Barish said. "All they need is talent."