The Marriott Corp. was a $1-million underwriter last year for the Children's Miracle Network Telethon (it grossed $59 million), and because CMN and Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles (which raised $500,000 locally for free patient care) are dear to the heart of Bill Marriott, the corporation's CEO, the duo got the nod to be honored at the Evening Gala opening the new JW Marriott in Century City.
That called for Mary Hart, just back from the Soviet Union and fighting jet lag, as vivacious mistress of ceremonies and Marie Osmond for star entertainment. Marie is co-chairman of the telethon, sponsored by the Osmond Foundation, and Marie and Mary are telethon co-hosts.
Marriott and his wife, Donna (they're from Chevy Chase, Md.), with their daughter Debby Harrison and her husband, Ron, sat between Bob and Dolores Hope. Like all the first-nighters, the Hopes were ushered in through the mile-wide smiles and "welcome, welcome, welcome" from a phalanx of new Marriott employees. The Hopes rated plus-plus fanfare, and when Hope took the stage and noted, "I don't think there is anything more important in life than helping little kids--improving the health care of the children of this nation," he got cheers.
Dr. Richard Call, new chairman of the board of directors, Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles, and his wife, Nancy, led the Childrens Hospital crowd. Joining them were their three daughters and their husbands--Nancy and Ray McCullough, Joe and Kate Regan and Leslie and Jim Thompson.
Celebrities filling the 275-person Grand Salon to capacity included Rich Little, Marilyn McCoo, Cristina Ferrare and Steve Edwards, mixing with key Marriott executives such as John Dasburg, new president of Marriott's Lodging Group; Jonathan Q. Loeb, the new hotel's general manager, and Marriott vice president Raymond Caldiero and his wife Lois, who bid $1,500 for the week at the Golden Door Spa in the evening's auction.
Louise and Steve Griffith bid $5,000 on the stay at the Marriott Prince de Galles in Paris, planning to give the buy to their son Robert and his new bride, Catherine. Brett Hutchens, chairman of the Osmond Foundation, was also center stage, along with Gary Wilson, Disney's chief financialofficer.
The word is that the Marriotts planned a bigger ballroom; slow-growth concepts intervened. But the chandeliers are flossy, the china elegant over mirrored tables and the first night's menu planned by executive chef Cliff Delorey and Bernard Ruthmann got accolades, starting with the hors d'oeuvres served in the lobby and then the sit-down terrine of salmon and caviar, the noisettes of veal and, ultimately, the chocolates served on trays as guests were tuckedinto their cars by valets in East Indian pith helmets.
OVERNIGHT: The next evening at the new Marriott the Associates of Cedars Sinai Medical Center staged their second annual dinner, dining and dancing to Larry Gootkin's Orchestra and staying overnight in luxurious accommodations. Aime and John Mitchell and Sheri and Arnold Schlesinger chaired the event, with Judy and Don Tallarico, Harry and Ruth Roman, Susan and Mark Greenfield, Elaine and Bram Goldsmith and Walter and Patricia Mirisch among those sampling the fun.
VIP VISITORS: His Excellency Emmanuel de Margerie, French ambassador to the United States, and Madame Helene de Margerie were a center of attention in Los Angeles. They're fond of museums (she is a biologist; their hobbies are art, nature, gardening, preservation of architectural heritage), and they hit most of the Southland museums.
On the social circuit, Elin Vanderlip hosted the couple at an intimate brunch for 10 at her Villa Narcissa. Bruce and Janet Kratz (he's executive vice president of Kaufman & Broad) entertained the de Margeries at dinner. Consul General of France Bernard Miyet hosted a reception at his Beverly Hills consular residence before Dr. Earle (the neurosurgeon) and Arlette (the international liaison for the College of Fine Arts at UCLA) Crandall presented the visitors at dinner.
Before the ambassador left for Hawaii to open the newest French consulate in Honolulu, he bestowed the insignia of Chevalier of the National Order of Arts and Letters upon Dr. Leonard Stein, director of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute at USC, and Robert Gray, former dean of fine arts at UCLA.
VERY SPECIAL: The very special friends of Russell and Jeanne Smith gathered under a white tent on the lawn at Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles to join in the celebration of the hospital's new $30-million H. Russell and Jeanne R. Smith Research Tower ($26.6 million is funded).
Smith has just turned over the hospital board chairman's gavel to Dr. Richard Call after eight years at the helm. During the period, the Smiths have endowed two $1-million chairs in oncology (during an emotional period of losing their own grandson Cameron Smith to cancer) and given more than $2 million for the tower.
Said Dr. Robert Tranquada, dean of the USC School of Medicine in a tribute, "(This) occasion . . . epitomizes these two remarkable people and their well-recognized dedication to contribute where it is likely to count the most."
The audience touring the tower and listening to Dr. Robertson Parkman discussing bone marrow included Mary Tollenaere, Bob and Betty Strub, Richard Ferry, Bonnie and Art McClure, Roberta Hartnack, Ann and Doug Longyear and Gerald and Carol Patterson.