A John Wayne bowie knife and a Madonna bustier.
Those were some of the items on the auction block at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday night when John Wayne's children--Aissa Wayne and Melinda Wayne Munoz of Newport Beach, among them--were honored at a '50s-themed bash for the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica.
Michael Wayne, 57, a dead-ringer for his dad, bid hundreds on Madonna's bustier.
"I don't know what I'll do with it," Wayne said of the peach satin creation signed by the singer. "Guess I'll just \o7 stare\f7 ."
Celebrities such as film producer Robert Wise ("The Sound of Music") and Loretta Young mingled with the Waynes at a pre-dinner reception that saw Pilar Wayne (the Duke's third wife, and mother of Aissa, Marisa and Ethan) hanging out with Bob and Beverly Cohen, owners of the Duke's old digs in Newport Beach.
"I am very proud to be a Wayne," said Pilar, who was escorted by Louis Felder. "Especially tonight. All of the Duke's children--especially the older ones--have done so much for the cancer institute.
"Watching the Duke die of cancer was devastating," she said. "Someday I hope to be able to look a person in the eye and say: 'Your cancer can be \o7 cured.\f7 ' "
Michael Wayne estimated that the children have donated more than $2 million to the institute. "We believe that you can do good by doing good business," said Wayne, director of Wayne Enterprises, a licensing organization that authorizes Wayne memorabilia (such as the up-for-auction bowie knife distributed by the Franklin Mint).
"We license John Wayne products and the profits are used to help fund cancer research," Wayne said.
There has been talk that the Waynes hope to bring a chapter of the institute to Orange County. "I would love to see that happen," said Patrick Wayne, who starred with his father in "The Alamo."
Pilar Wayne agreed. "That is definitely something that is going to happen," she said.
Also among guests: Bob and Peggy Goldwater Clay of Newport Beach (Peggy said of her father Barry Goldwater's recent marriage: "He has a new spring in his step and that's darn good for 83!"); Lois and Buzz Aldrin (the former astronaut got the the lion's share of the evening's applause); Paul and Virginia Knott Bender; and Barbara and Ben Harris.
A Day of Beauty: If walls at the Hoag Cancer Center in Newport Beach could talk they would have been shouting for joy last Friday when Nordstrom at South Coast Plaza presented a fashion show featuring women who are cancer survivors.
On the ramp: A model with a bilateral mastectomy looking drop-dead gorgeous in a glitzed-out bustier. Other models showcased fashionable garments with expandable waistlines (for the unpredictable weight changes that come with fighting cancer) and stunning, oversized hats that disguise the baldness that can accompany a course of chemotherapy.
Among guests at the affair was 39-year-old Michelene (Micki) Kreuger of Huntington Beach, ultra-trendy in a nautical themed two-piece ensemble. Kreuger, who has had cancer since she was 27 ("I've had it seven times," she said), confirmed that "looking good makes you feel good."
"The more clothes you have, the better you look and the better you feel," said Kreuger, who added with a wink: "I can't die! I have too many clothes to buy!"
On a serious note, Kreuger said she could have written the day off, "stayed in bed feeling depressed and sick."
"But I won't let myself do that. I get my clothes on and \o7 go\f7 . I live every day to the fullest. I say to people with cancer: 'Do what makes you happy. If you wake up in the morning and think of something fun to do, \o7 do\f7 it!' "
A Nordstrom representative told the crowd of about 80 women--all cancer survivors--that the store has a free fashion service for cancer patients. "You don't have to shop for a thing," she said. "We bring everything to you." Perfect.
When the crowd wasn't applauding the models, they were digging into a light luncheon buffet that included melted Brie cheese tucked into filo dough, fresh asparagus wrapped with ham slices and sparkling cider served up in champagne flutes.
After the fashion parade, guests wandered into the many boutiques that had been set up for the event, some displaying lingerie, others displaying makeup products, sportswear and hats.
Overseeing the affair was Sharon MacDonald, Hoag Cancer Center's administrative director, and Sue Winn, the center's oncology education coordinator in charge of support services. Also spotted in the crowd: Patty Hoag, who, along with husband George is the cancer center's primary benefactor.