Still stunning after all these years, Claire Trevor Bren--winner of an Academy Award in 1948 for John Huston's "Key Largo" and mother of Irvine Co. owner Don Bren--is at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach for a visit with family and old friends.
Bren, who lives in New York (where she counts Claudette Colbert and Arlene Francis among her nears and dears) used to live in Newport Beach.
But after her husband, Milton--a motion picture producer--died in 1979, she moved to the East Coast, where memories were less painful, said her good friend Maria Crutcher.
"We've missed Claire very much in this area," said Crutcher, who lives in Big Canyon. "She has many dear friends. And, we think she might be coming back to spend a few months of the year here."
Since her arrival, Bren has been feted by her billionaire son, who staged a very private dinner party in his Newport Beach home for his mother and mega-producer David Wolper.
"I haven't had five minutes' leisure time," Bren said from her suite at the Four Seasons. "Everyone has been superb."
Besides brunch staged by Crutcher at the Ritz restaurant in Newport Beach, Bren has enjoyed shopping at Amen Wardy--"the best store in the world," she said--playing bridge with pals at Big Canyon and enjoying Mexican lasagna ("Claire adores Mexican food," Crutcher said) at Crutcher's sprawling manse.
Among those helping Bren enjoy her whirlwind stay have been June and Robert Wian (he founded Bob's Big Boy) of Big Canyon.
By the way: Steven Bren, Don Bren's 27-year-old son, recently announced his engagement to former model Thais Baker, 25, of Newport Beach. The couple will marry this summer in the Santa Barbara Mission. Bren is president of Newport Auto Center.
Prime time: Is Righteous Brother Bill Medley nervous about performing his Grammy-award-winning "(I've Had) the Time of My Life" at the Academy Awards? " Yeah. Not scared nervous, but nervous," said Medley, who, along with Bobby Hatfield, owns the '50s nightclub, the Hop, in Fountain Valley. "It's pretty weird to know you're not only singing to millions, but in that audience, the whole industry is watching you.
"But, it's a great rush, knowing you're up there singing with someone like Jennifer Warnes."
Meanwhile, his and Warnes' single has been at the top of the music charts in the Netherlands, Japan and Australia in recent weeks.
This week, Medley signed a contract to go on a road tour in the summer with the hoofers from "Dirty Dancing" (the movie from whence the hit single came). "I'll be singing, and the dancers will put together a few acts; it should be fun." First stop for the tour? "The Catskills, where the movie took place."
While Medley admits he doesn't know how to "dirty dance" like in the movie, he said he "would love to know how."
"I can dance a little," he said. "But I'm no Patrick Swayze."
Flower power: Ninetta and Gavin Herbert, owner of Newport Beach's lush Roger's Gardens, will open the doors of their historic Casa Pacifica in San Clemente on Monday to welcome members of Libros y Artes, a support group for the San Juan Capistrano library.
The event marks the formal beginning of "The Garden as Art," a floral extravaganza that will be staged at the library April 14-17.
Among guests who will enjoy a luncheon of champagne with pureed peaches, made-to-order omelets, fresh asparagus and black forest ham will be Nancy Goslee Power, Los Angeles editor of House Beautiful magazine; Jane Hanauer; Bea McArthur; Wade Roberts, director of Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar; Tom Beeton, president of Libros y Artes; Anne Cusic, chairwoman of "The Garden as Art"; Gaye Bitcher; Kay Segal; Yoli Whitney; Marla Bird; Jeff Ducharme; Nancy Baker, and Gep Durenberger, library founder.
Third time a charm?: For the third year in a row, Delores and Bob Hope have agreed to participate in the Childhelp USA golf tournament, which will be held April 18 at Los Coyotes Country Club in Buena Park.
A hectic schedule prevented the famous couple from attending the past two years, but this time they have indicated their RSVP is for sure .
Joining the Hopes on the links will be Cheryl Ladd, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Merlin Olsen and Jack Youngblood.
Childhelp, which operates homes for abused children, hopes to net a minimum of $60,000 from the tourney. The cost is $200 per person, which includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverage and dinner with the stars.