Maybe the way to achieve the maximum is to tell everyone they can have whatever they want. When Bette Midler asked Creative Artists Agency Chairman Michael Ovitz for a black-tie orchestra to accompany her Saturday evening at the Aesculapians Ball, a UCLA Medical School fund-raiser at 20th Century Fox, she says he said, "I'll pay for everything!" Or was it, anything?
Whatever, Midler got the orchestra. Ovitz, a UCLA alum, got her, plus Celine Dion, John Mellencamp and David Letterman to headline entertainment. And, the medical school got in excess of $1.2 million net. Nice arrangement.
It was a rare night. A crowd of 1,200, many of them doctors, had cocktails and hors d'oeuvres from Along Came Mary on the Fox lot while the night's honorary chairs massed for photographs: Ovitz; Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of Fox Inc.; Michael Eisner, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Co.; Robert Daly, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.; Barry Diller, chairman and CEO of QVC Network, and Robert F. Erburu, chairman and CEO of Times Mirror Co.
Somewhere around during all this fanfare was an additional chairman--Georges Marciano, who, with Paul Marciano of Guess, underwrote a superb dinner so that all the proceeds could go to medical programs. (Guess also provided bags with shirts, stationery and more.
In the twilight, the crowd moved onto an Art Deco soundstage shirred in white and black cloth to make it look like a luxury ship--down to the portholes. White palms and calla lilies in black vases on white, striped damask tablecloths set a luxury mood. Lighting was delightfully dim.
Even more striking was the entertainment:
A funny film short--"Pain Marches On."
Letterman: "I am thinking of an autopsy on stage to see what you people are made of" and "I'm not--strictly speaking--a doctor."
Dion, singing "Beauty and the Beast"; Mellencamp, singing "Small Town" and "Pink Houses," and Midler, introduced by Letterman as "the woman who taught dynamite how to bang," singing "Wind Beneath My Wings."
The evening ranked with the Sinatra/Martin/Davis Jr. and Mancini/Green benefits of yore. Special, special. Having a very good time were Dr. Mitchel D. Covel, chairman of the Aesculapians Ball (named for the Greek-Roman god of medicine); Judy Ovitz; Jane Eisner; Peter and Megan Chernin; Barbara, Nancy and Marvin Davis; Art and Lois Linkletter; Anna Murdoch and daughter Liz; UCLA Chancellor Charles Young and his wife, Sue; Megan Georges, Lois Erburu, Susan Covel; Gerald Oppenheimer, and Irwin and Suzanne Russell.
It would be easy to slip the invitations into personal medical files by mistake. They looked like X-rays and arrived in the yellow patient envelopes used by hospitals.
WITH FRIENDS: Art enthusiasts from New York and Washington, D.C., joined Californians last week to pay tribute to one of the world's most celebrated contemporary artists. More than 300 fans, collectors, critics and patrons filled the Four Seasons Ballroom for "An Evening With David Hockney & Friends."
Hockney became the first West Coast artist to receive the Archives of American Art "Award of Achievement." Collector and Archives trustee Eli Broad and British Consul General Merrick Baker-Bates and actor Vincent Price (who was unable to attend) co-chaired the benefit. Graham Nash, a founding member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, gave Hockney his Tiffany-designed crystal tribute.
A stunning highlight was a video, financed by Dwight and Dona Kendall, in which Hockney walked the audience through different perspectives and views in his painting of the home of Don Bacardy and the late Christopher Isherwood.
On the tape, Hockney described his love for Los Angeles (he left his native England in the early 1960s), calling it a horizontal city. Accepting his honor--wearing a green cotton shirt, plaid bow tie and the baggy navy jacket that is his trademark--Hockney described viewing peach blossoms recently in Japan and then told of arriving home and enjoying the beauty of driving a long length of Mulholland Drive at 20 m.p.h..
Among the guests: Richard J. Wattenmaker, philanthropist Dodie Rosekrans Jr. of San Francisco, Maurice Katz, Morgan and Ray Horowitz of New York, Paul Karlstrom, Jo Ann and Julian Ganz, Pam Peabody of Washington, Henry Hopkins, Peter Keller and Pat House, Buzz and Lois Aldrin, Lenore Greenberg, Jan and Bill McCord, and Jamie and Asunta Fleming. Gerald Buck headed an Orange County contingent that arrived by a bus equipped with wine and caviar.
SPECIAL PEOPLE: Robert and Anne Wycoff were honored Friday evening in the botanical gardens of the Huntington Library at a celebration marking his retirement as president and chief operating officer of Arco. Hosts were Carole and Lod Cook, chairman and CEO of Arco.