Rarely do black-tie events get to be a ball--at least a beach ball. But Sunday night's mega-event honoring Jerry and Jane Weintraub was just that--proving that life's a beach, even when it has to be a black-tie beach.
The blast was the 18th annual Scopus Awards, providing scholarships for the 70-year-old Hebrew University on Jerusalem's Mt. Scopus. And, believe it or not, some entertainment and political brand-name types wound up the night by bouncing beach balls around the Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom while the Beach Boys sang surfing favorites. The room itself was more than 100 people over its usual 1,100 limit--and at $600 a ticket, that means the event totals up to at least 450 scholarships for the university.
And 450 was probably the number of VIPs who crushed into the private reception before the dinner, including studio heads like Disney's Mike Eisner (Jane was in Newport watching their son play ice hockey) and Universal's Sid and Lorraine Sheinberg (he co-chaired the dinner); agents like Mike Ovitz; politicos like Sen. Pete Wilson, Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp conferring with Vidal Sassoon, and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Panorama City); Drexel Burnham Lambert's Mike Milken; and stars like Kirk Douglas, Sidney Poitier and Tony Danza.
If it's possible, Weintraub was even more ecstatic than usual, listening when someone told him how beautiful the ballroom looked, but not accepting the kidding warning him that the Academy Awards would steal the evening's coordinator, Lynne Wasserman, Weintraub Entertainment's senior VP.
"They can't have her. I've got her. She's mine," Weintraub announced. And, for the evening, it seemed like he and Jane had about everything. She had fabulous dangling diamond earrings, which she said she got for "giving Jerry his 50th birthday party and I won't say for what else." Her line brought laughs from Weintraub Entertainment exec Ken and Helen Kleinberg.
When Jane Morgan Weintraub addressed the audience, her gigantic emerald ring shining across the room almost as much as her smile, she was very clear about what the evening meant: "I want you to know what it's like being married to a man who can make dreams come true--for me and for all of us."
Former Israeli ambassador Simca Dinitz brought a more serious side to the evening, talking about the current problems in Israel. He said that, "given the choice of being popular dead or unpopular alive, we will suffer the consequences of being unpopular alive."
The room was Hollywood's version of a beach party--a tanned lifeguard sitting high above the foyer, feathered palm trees sprouting out of sand and cactus centerpieces by the Flower Shop, Coca-Cola beach bags complete with Beach Boys hats and beach balls. (Weintraub has been connected with the Beach Boys for 20 years and Coca-Cola is a major backer of Weintraub Entertainment, and that's the way Tinseltown works.) There were more publicists and agents per square foot than is ever seen in these parts--Lee Solters and William Morris' Norman Brokaw fighting their way between the tables to chat.
The Beach Boys' Mike Love arrived with a hefty sable coat and hat. "Who was that man?," Barbara Davis asked. When Marvin was kiddingly warned that he'd better be careful, that the fur-bearing Mrs. Davis might find the fur-wrapped Love attractive, he just shook his head. "I'm safe," he announced. "Nobody else can afford her."
Dr. Armand Hammer was just back from the Soviet Union, where he set up a private interview with party general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev for ABC's Barbara Walters and set up an upcoming session between Walters and Raisa Gorbachev. Hammer's been buddies with Weintraub for some 15 years, Hammer said as his dinner partner, Mayor Tom Bradley, listened. "He's got tremendous energy . . . that's what we need, more Jerry Weintraubs."
Combining politics and show biz (a Weintraub specialty) will be the upcoming "Capitol Hill," a sitcom set for next year about four congresspeople who share a D.C. house. It's Janis Berman's idea--and she has a great line about getting Weintraub to have his good friend, Vice President George Bush, do a walk-on.
Around the room--a diamond-bedecked (why is this not surprising?) Candy and Aaron Spelling, 20th Century Fox's Leonard and Wendy Goldberg, Mary Carol Rudin being kissed hello by Merv Adelson, Elaine and Bram Goldsmith, Ellen and Bernie Byrens, Al and Marilyn Gersten, Mitch and Judy Karlan and the photogs' darlings, the on-again Richard Cohen and Linda Evans. Also, Dick Clark chatting with Mike Curb and Jolene Schlatter looking simply smashing.
Dinner co-chair Harvey Silbert looked around the crush and smiled. "We turned away 1,000 people," he said. "There just isn't a ballroom big enough to hold us."
From the stage, Weintraub had the last word, kidding himself, saying that when Silbert finally prevailed upon him to accept the honor, he told Silbert that Jane had to be a co-honoree. "Yes, yes," Weintraub quoted Silbert as saying, "of course, Jane. People like Jane."
And you too, Jerry, and you too.