Mrs. Hugh Hefner wasn't feeling well and never appeared at the party.
But Hugh Hefner explained why: "She's suffering from what they call morning sickness. It's much easier for the father." Pause. "Who would have guessed? The September years have turned out to be the best. We had a wonderful honeymoon. We stayed home and expressed our love for each other."
Marriage, and incipient parenthood (the baby is due in April-- "Late April," corrected Hef), haven't stopped the Playboy magazine founder and his expectant bride, Kimberley, from opening their idyllic Holmby Hills home, known as Playboy Mansion West, for charitable events.
A mansion picnic Saturday afternoon will net about $50,000 to help operate a new shelter run by Children of the Night, the group that helps get child prostitutes off the street and into a new life. The 24-bed shelter, to be in the old Van Nuys Post Office, should open in February. "We paid cash for it and now we're ready to renovate," said Richard Rosenzweig, chairman of the 10-year-old organization.
The 300 supporters at the event included Mayor Tom Bradley, whose idea of picnic attire is a sport coat and tie; actress Kathleen Quinlan, who portrayed Lois Lee, founder and director of the group, in a 1985 TV movie; Michelle Phillips; Altovese (Mrs. Sammy) Davis; and Carole and Lod Cook, chairman and chief executive officer of ARCO, who were making their first visit to the mansion.
Lod Cook seemed curious. He said that when he plays golf at the neighboring Los Angeles Country Club, "there's one hole where they say the mansion's over the hedge."
Because this was only the third official fund-raiser by Children of the Night, Lee called on Sandra Moss (a former president of SHARE, among other things) to help plan it; Moss in turn, called on some of her friends. Paul Newman donated tankfuls of his Roadside Virgin Lemonade. Terry McQueen, daughter of the late Steve McQueen, took care of the T-shirt concession. "My stepmom Ali MacGraw designed the T-shirts for me--that's my big contribution," she giggled.
And Richard Cohen, real estate developer-entrepreneur, underwrote some of the party's costs, joking of his friend Moss: "Never has a man spent so much and gotten so little from a lady."
"Sandra," he added, "recruits me for everything, but she's never been involved with a cause I haven't found to be worthwhile. That's why I never say no."
Some of the group's success stories--four teen-agers--spoke to the crowd about their road to a normal life. One girl named Tiffany said Children of the Night counselors called cabs for her when she was in physical danger, gave her pregnancy counseling, paid for the inhalers she needed for her asthma, and, yes, got her off the street. "They were always there, and always had a good attitude about it," she said. "It wasn't like, 'Oh, it's you again.' "