"White Christmas" is slightly out of season, but Rosemary Clooney has yet another perennial favorite on her hands--the now annual "Singers Salute the Songwriters" benefit.
"What just kills me is when I get notes about the tapes (the "White Christmas" tapes she sends to friends every December) and they will write, 'I'll see you in April.' "
The date's April 25 this year when more than 30 performers will join Clooney on stage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion--regulars like Merv Griffin and Bob Hope, newcomers like Linda Ronstadt and Dinah Shore among them.
Roz Wyman will repeat her virtuoso performance as benefit chairwoman, with the money going to the Betty Clooney Foundation for Brain Injuries. More than $1 million has been raised during the last three shows--allowing the foundation to set up Rosie's Herbs in Long Beach, a nursery, day-activity center and rehabilitation program. All of this started as a living memorial to Rosemary's sister, Betty, who died of brain injuries.
"The most gratifying things," Clooney said, "are the stories that come back, stories that are very moving. The work we have done is paying off." And not just for the brain-injured persons, she pointed out, but also for their families, who often bear tremendous burdens of at-home care.
One woman, Clooney said, had a son who was brain-injured in a car accident 20 years ago. She wrote that when her son first went to the center, "it was the first time in 20 years I had an afternoon free."
This year the songwriters to be honored are lyricist Mitchell Parish ("Stardust" and "Sophisticated Lady"), composer Johnny Mandel ("Shadow of Your Smile"), arranger Peter Matz and, for the first time, the posthumous "American Legend" award will go to Jerome Kern.
CHIC SHEIK--It's probably on everyone's top 10 list, so when "Lawrence of Arabia" is re-released, it seems natural that it would benefit the American Film Institute. Expected at the big party at the Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza are director David Lean, and stars Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn and Jose Ferrer. In one of the most sensible pieces of scheduling ever done, the screening on Feb. 12 will begin at 4 p.m. The party, dinner and dancing for patrons will follow at 8 p.m. at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. All the proceeds go to AFI's National Center for Film and Video Preservation--and the honorary chairmen are Steven Spielberg and Columbia's Dawn Steel.
BENEFIT BONANZAS--Start with the Jan. 29 gala concert honoring Anita Hirsh and Marcia Volpert at the Leo Baeck Temple. Sergei Edelmann will perform--and the evening will benefit the Los Angeles Hillel Council. Hirsh is vice-chairman of the Soviet Jewry Commission of the Jewish Federation Council's Community Relations Committee. Volpert has chaired the commission since 1986 . . .
Sunday is the 10th Media Access Awards, co-sponsored by the California Governor's Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons in association with the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. John Lithgow is the honorary chairman, and among the presenters at the party at the Beverly Hilton will be Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, Barbara Bain, producer Gordon Davidson and Victoria Ann Lewis . . .
ALL ABOARD--Most people in Beverly Hills do anything to avoid riding a bus. But dozens of glamour types--like Jackie Collins, Nolan Miller and Angie Dickinson--are climbing aboard next Friday to catch Diahann Carroll and Vic Damone in concert at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Thank goodness that the party afterward is at Amen Wardy so everyone can have injection of chic before the long trip home.
PARTY MERGER--Interscope's vice president of public affairs Karen Richards is set to marry David Sachs, executive veep at Columbia Savings & Loan. They met on a blind date (no, really) and the only problem for the devoted Democrat Richards is that it's a mixed marriage. Sachs is a Republican.