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Star-Studded Picnic for AIDS Research

June 12, 1991|BETTY GOODWIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

"A Time for Heroes" began with hundreds of men, women and children (and dogs) in the parking lot at Paul Revere Junior High, where they were funneled into vans (although some rated limousines) and swiftly delivered to pastoral green fields in Mandeville Canyon.

The Pediatric AIDS Foundation, chaired and co-founded by Elizabeth Glaser, pulled off a successful and heartwarming event Sunday afternoon on the grounds of the rambling Robert Taylor estate, now owned by MARS-FM (KSRF-FM and KOCM-FM) station owner Ken Walker.

Underwritten by the Milken Family Medical Foundation, the star-studded version of a fair and picnic (gourmet to the max, including beet potato chips, grilled vegetable sandwiches from Along Came Mary and Starbucks cappuccino) raised $1.2 million for the nonprofit organization, which funds pediatric AIDS research.

"It's like having a wedding," said Glaser, who was bombarded with hugs. "It's the same kind of feeling of so much love being shared by so many people. And I know half the people here," she added as artist Guy Dill was about to plant one on her.

Glaser became infected with the AIDS virus 10 years ago from a blood transfusion. She unknowingly passed it on to her two children with actor Paul Michael Glaser. When their daughter Ariel died at age 7, Elizabeth Glaser, along with Susan DeLaurentis and Susan Zeegan, started the foundation.

Dozens of Hollywood celebrities and sports stars came, many with their children in tow, as did former President Ronald and Nancy Reagan, who created a stir in their jeans and Western shirts.

"I'm trying very hard not to get too emotional," said Florence Griffith Joyner, who was with her husband, Al. "Usually if we're not in church on Sunday, we play with our daughter, but this is more than special. I wish I could give more, more, more of myself."

Most of the people with famous faces staffed the game booths, including Marcus Allen at the quarterback scramble, Whoopi Goldberg on the wheel of fortune and Pam Dawber at the fish pond.

"You want what ?" Shelley Duvall, working the bean-bag toss, asked a young boy. "You want to throw three bags at a time? OK--whoa. I'm outta the way."

Others pelting, or being pelted, included Mark Harmon, Robin Williams, Billy Dee Williams, Andie MacDowell, Paula Abdul, Willie Mays, Ken Norton Jr., Jim Palmer and Alan Alda.

Also Melanie Mayron, Mel Harris and Cotter Smith, Bart Conner, Mary Lou Retton, Ernie Banks, Ellen Barkin and Gabriel Byrne, Tony Danza, Billy Crystal, Daryl Hannah, Henry Winkler, Tom Hanks, John Candy, Elizabeth Perkins, Mike Ovitz, Alan Ladd Jr., Dawn Steel, Ted Field and Jeff Wald.

Performing songs from the album "For Our Children" (produced by Walt Disney Records, with all profits to the Pediatric Aids Foundation) were Jackson Browne, Stephen Bishop, Pat Benatar, Brian Wilson and Little Richard.

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