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INTO THE NIGHT / BETTY GOODWIN

The Old Guard Gathers

April 27, 1993|BETTY GOODWIN

The Scene: Hollywood book launch for Vanity Fair correspondent Dominick Dunne's latest tome, 'A Season in Purgatory." The novel from Crown revisits familiar Dunne territory--the wretched rich. Sunday night's cocktail party at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills was hosted by VF's L. A. editor, Wendy Stark.

The Buzz: The gathering of the ancien regime of Hollywood society ("Richard Gully and Lee Minnelli in the same room--the old guard lives!") provided fodder for at least a dozen Dunneian plots.

Other Subjects: Who looked younger than they did last time you saw them. And Hollywood's author gap. Offered Barbara Howar, "At a New York book party, you'd be tripping over them. Almost every person in New York is a writer. They're just not so happy that another author's been published."

The Author: Although it was sport jackets, polo shirts and optional neckties for the locals, Dunne, in trademark pin-stripe wool suit and leather moccasins, did door-greeter duties and autographed books with a Montblanc ballpoint, all the while balancing a glass of cranberry-orange juice. "No vodka," he said. "Thirteen years in the program."

Who Was There: Shirlee Preissman, Jean Howard and Tony Santoro, Joan Benny, Harriet and Armand Deutsch, Fred and Janet de Cordova, Joan Didion, Frances Bergen, Joanna Carson, Stanley Donen, Connie Wald, Charles Evans, Freddie and Corinna Fields, David and Annabelle Begelman, Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley, Jill Cartter, Mart Crowley, Ricardo Montalban, Cesar Romero, Suzanne Pleshette, Lili Zanuck plus Barbara, Marvin and Nancy Davis.

Quoted: "Kennedyesque maybe. But not Kennedy," said Dunne of the book's controversial subjects.

Premature Advice: "It should be made into a movie, and Griffin should play Harrison," someone, offering a little unsolicited casting guidance, said of Dunne's actor son.

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