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L.A.'s Brand-Name Fame Comes South

January 26, 1989|PAMELA MARIN | Pamela Marin is a regular contributor to Orange County Life.

As flashy a bunch of Angelenos we're likely to see all year choppered south last week for cocktails in a tent staked near MacArthur Boulevard at the San Diego Freeway.

The occasion was a kickoff party for the as-yet-unbuilt Sports Club/Irvine, tossed by club developers Nanette Pattee Francini, Michael Talla and mega-millionaire Marvin Davis (who's so rich he has a guy with him who says things like, "If you write about Mr. Davis, just call him a 'businessman'! Don't write 'tycoon' or 'billionaire' or any of that nonsense!").

But rich we've got in Orange County--no big deal. What we don't have in excess is brand-name fame--and that's what separated last Thursday's bash from all the other fancy parties for the status-aware.

Mingling with more than 900 invitation-only guests were mountainous Lakers heroes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Earvin (Magic) Johnson; impossibly handsome Oscar-winner Sidney Poitier; his bulky Hulkness Lou Ferrigno; Olympic gold-medal decathlete Rafer Johnson, and aspiring actress Cornelia Guest.

Along with a pack of television actors, the big names who made the round trip south are among Francini and Talla's celestial clientele at their Sports Club/LA--illustrating the business application for the old saw: Make new friends, but keep the old.

After an hour-plus of buffet-trolling and trips to the hosted bar, guests turned their attention to a raised stage, where the three club owners said their bit and the stars sunk their sports-shoe-shod feet into blocks of cement for a future walk of fame outside the club.

In the words of boy wonder Stuart Karl, watching shyly from the sidelines: "I can't believe these people came to Orange County!"

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