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ANN CONWAY

For Bachelors, Price Is Right

October 05, 1989|ANN CONWAY

Now you've heard everything. Jaguar pusher Lee West has installed a diner inside his posh Newport Imports dealership.

Why? "Why not?" West asked at the recent kickoff bash for the March of Dimes' Bid for Bachelors, set for Tuesday at Le Meridien in Newport Beach. "The standard excuse for people not buying a car is that old line, 'We have to go down the street and get something to eat.' Now they won't have that excuse."

About 30 of the 37 "Bid" bachelors used the grand opening of the marble-floored diner to toss down hot-pink bubbly and devour '50s-style fare, including onion rings, grilled cheese and tuna salad sandwiches and burgers.

And a bevy of "Bid" committee members used the nosh as an excuse to ogle the dressed-to-impress bachelors. On view: enough hunks to make even Zsa Zsa blush.

For starters, there was lanky and handsome Paul Tatum, president of Americom International Corp. of Irvine. The 34-year-old Tatum, whose business partner is H. R. Haldeman (you're right, the same man who was President Richard M. Nixon's chief of staff), said the woman who gets him at the "Bid" will hit the Soviet Union with him next year.

"We'll go in June to the grand opening of the new Radisson Slavjanskaya hotel and business center in Moscow," said Tatum, who holes up in a bachelor pad in Laguna Beach. "It's the first American hotel in the Soviet Union to be operated by an American company." Tatum's company is building the business center. And it was Tatum, he said, who found the property and brought Radisson into the project.

"I expect the highest Soviet officials to attend the hotel opening," Tatum said. Other stops on the developer's dream date: three days in Leningrad with a private performance by the Kirov Ballet, three days on the Black Sea and a two-day stopover in Paris on the way home.

All this, and the "white nights" too. "During June in Moscow and Leningrad, it's light all night," Tatum explained. "The sun doesn't go down for 22 days."

Tatum expects the date to bring in big bucks for the March of Dimes. "It should raise about $7,500," he said.

Other dream dates up for bid: dinner at Chanteclair with baseball great Reggie Jackson, a tour of KNBC and lunch at the commissary with newscaster John Beard, and a trip to Cabo San Lucas with developer Ron Tomsic (who admitted that he was feeling blase about the "Bid." "At my age," said the 50-ish bachelor, "I've experienced most things in life. Not too many things frighten me." Not even a weekend date with the wrong girl? "I can spend two days with anyone and have a great time," he said).

Tickets for the "Bid" are $50 for preferred seating (that's up front where you get a close-up of the goods), $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Committee members expect the benefit to raise $132,000.

Sunny Monday: It takes nerve to stage your first fund-raiser on a Monday night. After all, rainy days and Mondays always get most people down. But not the folks who attended Monday night's Uptown Party at Tutto Mare, the new, bellisima restaurant at Newport Center Fashion Island. About 50 guests giggled and chatted as they rubbed elbows, applauded after speeches and, with gusto, cruised a buffet piled with northern Italian delights--the kind of party mode you expect to see on a Saturday night.

Perhaps it was the fireball behind it all that gave the Wellness Community of Orange County's premiere benefit its zing: Orange County Supervisor Harriett Wieder. Arriving fashionably late, the tousle-haired supervisor lit up the room when she swept in with her husband, Irv. "Oh! I'm sorry I'm late!" she piped to the applauding crowd. "But I've been having trouble with my boys (the other four supervisors)!" Mum was the word on what kind of trouble, but, before guests could say "politics," Wieder was off of business and onto wellness.

"Estelle? Are you listening to this?" Wieder said, wide-eyed, as announcements of donations to the Wellness Community--a free support program for cancer patients--were made. It was Estelle--Wieder's late sister (who died of pancreatic cancer)--who inspired the supervisor to help bring the Wellness Community to Orange County.

Before the party was over, the Irvine Co.--via Executive Vice President Gary Hunt--had turned over $25,000 to the Wellness Community. Other recent donors of $25,000: Donna and John Crean, Carole and John Ford and Bill Weide. Directors of the Wellness Community hope to raise $200,000 before the end of this year. "With that amount, we'll be able to open our doors," said Harold Benjamin, founder of the Wellness Community in Santa Monica.

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