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Site for Symphony Bash Is Also Sight to Behold (and Be Sold)

May 04, 1989|ANN CONWAY

"Landscaping can be millions of dollars. . . . You can spend half a million on a chandelier without batting an eye." --Bruce Nelson, real estate broker, Time magazine, May 1

Bruce Nelson hated Time magazine's Living page last week.

"It was a sloppy, stupid article," he said Sunday, licking deep-dish-pizza crumbs off his fingers at the DeAngelo mansion in Cowan Heights. The article discussed "Homeowning, Hollywood Style: Living it up by tearing 'em (beloved old movie-star mansions) down."

Nelson hopes an upcoming Wall Street Journal article will put his work in a better light. And if that doesn't do it, maybe his upcoming guest spot on television's "20/20" will do the trick.

Like the acreage and mansions he sells, Nelson is hot property. His real estate listings have included the posh dirt--once crowned with Bing Crosby's pad--upon which TV producer Aaron Spelling is erecting his controversial mega-mansion.

"I'm the most successful seller of residential property in the country," Nelson said with a small smile. "But don't ask me why. I'm not one to toot my own horn. Ask my clients."

One of Nelson's new clients is Michael DeAngelo, owner of Anaheim-based Clothestime Inc. DeAngelo and his wife, Pat, have recently turned over their $22-million, 35,000-square-foot estate to Nelson for sale to the highest bidder. "It's a little much to maintain," Pat confessed on Sunday during a brunch staged at the Moroccan-style digs by the Pacific Symphony. "We're heading for the beach."

More than 500 guests donned their Sunday best to sip something cool and nibble on comestibles as they floated through the hilltop mansion. On view: 10 breathtaking bedrooms, a discotheque, a gymnasium, a beauty parlor, rushing waterfalls, an inside-and-out koi pond and on-a-clear-day-you-can-see-Casablanca vistas.

"It doesn't have a dock," deadpanned Len Miller, who resides beside glittering Newport Bay. "I don't think I could live here."

"Let's just say, from here, everything is downhill," chirped his wide-eyed wife, Mary Ann.

Faces in the crowd: Stewart Woodard, president of the symphony board; Debra Dobb, event chairwoman, and Anne Key, chairwoman of the organization's annual Symphony Viennese Ball, set for June 17 at the Westin South Coast Plaza hotel.

Straders honored: Judging by the host of heavy hitters who attended Mardan Center's salute to Timothy and Susan Strader on Saturday night, the couple is something . Bishop Norman F. McFarland of the Catholic Diocese of Orange gave the invocation. John Miltner, vice chancellor of UC Irvine, was master of ceremonies. Kathryn Thompson, board member of the Performing Arts Center, led a tribute. So did Jack Peltason, chancellor of UC Irvine. And so did Gary Hunt, executive vice president of the Irvine Co. Not to mention the slew of politicos who attended--among them state Sens. Marian Bergeson and John Seymour. Or the event's high-profile co-chairpersons, Tom and Marilyn Nielsen and Larry and Carol Hoffman.

Mardan chose to honor the Straders for their commitment to local charities, including the Performing Arts Center and Santa Margarita High School.

Miltner summed up the Straders' popularity when he said they were "a couple that makes our county a better place--perhaps the best place--in which to live, work and play. And even in which to pray."

Also on the guest list: Renee and Henry Segerstrom; Nora and Charles Hester; Ed and Peggy Hoag; Don and Dolly Karcher; Marilyn and Frank Lynch, and the Straders' four children: Megan, Patrick, Stephanie and Timothy Jr. Proceeds, estimated at $85,000, will go toward scholarships for the individualized programs Mardan provides for learning-disabled children and adults.

Setting the record straight: "There's a popular notion," said Dr. Jovita Rosenblatt, "that Asian-American students are the brightest, that they have it all. Not necessarily. They also have students who fall through the cracks."

Those students are one reason members of Medellas-- the Medical Dental Legal Ladies Society--came together for a luncheon and fashion show at the Irvine Hilton and Towers on Saturday. The benefit marked the kickoff of the group's commitment to raise $50,000 to endow a scholarship fund for Asian-Americans at UC Irvine.

Another reason was to satisfy the group's need for togetherness, said Rosalind Lee, co-founder of the club with Nori Imagawa. "Asian-American professionals are spread out all over the county. It's wonderful to have an opportunity to come together."

When Lee, wife of Dr. Sammy Lee, helped found the organization in 1967, she got together with Imagawa (wife of the late Dr. Richard Imagawa) and thumbed through the Yellow Pages. "Any name that looked like it was Asian--we wrote it down!" Lee said, laughing. Letting their fingers do the walking paid off with 35 women attending a coffee. "And that was the beginning of Medellas," Lee said.

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