Charles Reed and G. Sydney Barton called it "the most financially successful event ever staged by a school at the university (USC)." Said Barton Tuesday evening before 1,400 guests at the Beverly Hilton, "You have contributed--I can't believe it--you have contributed $2,203,792."
The funds will be used to establish the James H. and Marilyn E. Zumberge Research Wing at the Kenneth Norris Jr. Comprehensive Cancer Center on USC's Health Sciences Campus and for the William French Smith Intensive Care Unit.
The annual Norman Topping Dinner with its goal of $1.5 million initially was launched by USC Cancer Research Associates two years ago to honor the late James Zumberge, before he knew he had brain cancer. The former USC president of 10 years died last month, but his wife of 45 years was at the dinner with her family. And Jean Smith, widow of the late U.S. Attorney General, was there with her family. William French Smith also died of cancer.
Tears fell as a vibrant video with somber music paid tribute to Zumberge. Later, for comic relief, Victor Borge, 83, fell off the piano bench, played six pieces and finished with his famous phonetic punctuation routine.
Prominent in the audience: USC president Steven and Kathryn Sample, Lorna Reed, Kenneth T. Norris Jr., Darlene and Bill Christy (major donors in honor of their late daughter Stephanie), Dr. Brian Henderson (director of the Norris) and his wife Judy, Scott and Barbara Bice, Richard and Eileen Eamer, Cornelius and Marjorie Pings, Jane and Kris Popovich, John and Liz Argue, John and Judy Bedrosian, Flora Thornton, Simon and Virginia Ramo and Lillian Fluor.
ONWARD: Though the Joffrey Ballet has canceled its spring season at the Wiltern Theatre, it will carry on with its fund-raising gala, now switched to May 28 at the Coconut Grove, according to benefit chair Patricia Kennedy. Patron tickets for the canceled May 8 gala will be honored.
SUCCESS: Co-chair Dette Quinn announces $100,000 was raised from the fiercely competitive bidding at Pasadena Art Alliance's "Light-hearted Affair" art auction at the Art Center College of Design. Ralph Bacerra's ceramic piece brought the highest price--$5,750.
Holding up two fingers to say they got two pieces each were Carol and Warner Henry and Debby and Bill Richards. Bidding with a vengeance were Debby and Bill Appler , Lois Boardman, Lois Ukropina, Hannah and Russ Kully, Bob and Maureen Carlson, Dorothy Matthiessen, Julie Yost and Lynn Myers, who would write down a bid, and say, "That's it!" and be back in a second to bid more.
Just in time, Alliance president and party chair Jo Ann Taylor got the Alliance's own neon sign repaired, up, and glowing, with some professional help from decor chief Leo Rochette III. In the crowd: Helen Pashgian, Kaholyn and Carson McKissick, Jane Messler, Charlene and Paul Vert, George and Gretel Stephens and Cathie and David Partridge.
CENTENNIAL: Five major awards were bestowed at Crittenton Center for Young Women and Infants' 100th birthday luncheon at the Bel-Air Country Club. Recipients: Gayle Wilson, Jayni Chase, Mary Ann Mobley Collins, Sandra Scully and Tritia Toyota. Applauding were Tallie Mingst, Crittenton chairman Bill Streubing, emcee Gary Collins, Dr. Paul Crane, Barbara McMahon, Muffy Ohlmeyer, Merrill Park, Natalie Battersbe, Iris Ingram, Carol Weissman and Beatrice Davis.
CATCH UP: U. S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia keynoted the Constitutional Rights Foundation annual spring dinner where he stressed the importance of the Constitution to protect the democratic way of life. Earlier, CRF president Alan V. Friedman pleaded for education for young people. The evening saluted Richard J. Stegemeier, chairman of Unocal, and Vivian Monroe, founding executive director of CRF . . . .
Big Sisters of Los Angeles and its dinner chairman Kathie Gordon celebrated a "Making Friends" black-tie dinner at the Beverly Hilton, giving awards to Lisa Specht and James P. Miscoll. Said Miscoll in accepting, "Many girls and young women face a bewildering assortment of unfilled dreams and understated temptations."
CHIC: Mannequins of the Assistance League of Southern California hosted their "Afternoon With Eve" at the home of Harold and Diane Keith in Beverly Hills. Best-dressed Eve Awards went to Patricia Barry, Jane Boeckmann, Eileen Eamer, Beverly Thrall, Anne Jeffreys Sterling and Helen Stathatos.
CLEAR: It misted all day while Marla Carter and her troops planned for the inaugural Lucky Baldwin's Garden Bonanza plant and garden auction last week at the Los Angeles Arboretum. By evening, though, the skies turned perfect for 220 to bid on such local botanical rarities as yellow clivia.