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Hooray for CHOC : Hospital Guilds Take a Cue From Hollywood for Their Fashion Show Fund-Raiser

March 22, 1994|KATHRYN BOLD

Marilyn Monroe and a dozen other celluloid heroes came to life at "Lights! Camera! Action!," the 32nd annual Children's Hospital of Orange County All-Guilds Fashion Show.

Celebrity look-alikes joined about 2,500 guests for a salute to the silver screen at the guilds' fashion show luncheons Thursday and Friday and a grand finale dinner Friday night at the Anaheim Marriott. The $55-per-person luncheons and $100-per-person finale netted about $175,000 for CHOC's Outpatient Clinic.

That's Hollywood

With its hundreds of floating Mylar stars, the ballroom became a miniature Tinseltown. Celebrity teddy bears, including "Bearry Davis" and "Joan Pawford," sat in directors chairs atop the tables.

Joan Rivers, a.k.a. Dee Dee Hanson, greeted everyone at the door and gushed over guests' attire--a favorite topic of the famous clothes horse. There was Monroe (Stephanie Anderson) waving and batting her eyelashes in a copy of the white pleated dress Monroe wore in "The Seven-Year Itch."

"It's a riot" playing Marilyn, Anderson said. "People enjoy it. For them, it's the only way to experience Marilyn."

On stage, the famous Hollywood sign was reproduced in towering white letters bathed in multicolored lights. The fashion show, produced and directed by Carlton Burnett (dubbed the Ziegfeld of fashion shows), had all the elements of a Hollywood musical: a parade of guest "stars" including an uncanny Dolly Parton (Charlene Rose), can-can girls, cute kids, keystone cops and hoofers.

Between musical numbers, models walked the 120-foot runway wearing spring fashions from I. Magnin and designs by Lourdes Chaves of Travilla. Travilla, named after the late costume designer Bill Travilla, who created many outfits for Monroe, was a natural choice for a Hollywood-themed show. The company pulled historical costumes from its Travilla Museum so that models could show off a gold lame halter gown and pink strapless number Monroe wore in "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" as well as other Travilla originals.

Behind the Scenes

Dana Davis, the guilds' general chairwoman, chose the Hollywood theme because she is a longtime movie buff.

"I love the movies. I grew up in Thousand Oaks and went to school with Kurt Russell and Kelly McGillis. I enjoy being around stars," Davis said.

The fashion show is a massive undertaking for the chairwoman and guild volunteers. The show has grown so large it must be repeated three times just to accommodate the huge audience.

"Usually we seat them by longevity (in the guilds) and by how much they've given to CHOC," said Anne Neish, who had the difficult job of figuring out where to seat the 1,000 who attended each luncheon and the 420 who showed up for the grand finale.

"I was up until 1:30 a.m. last night putting names into the computer," she said.

Several organizers cited the support of the 1,800 guild members for the great turnout.

"We're all enthusiastic about this charity. We're all looking for something in our lives we can feel good about," said Helen Wardner, director of support groups at CHOC in Orange.

Since 1963 the guilds have raised $2.2 million for CHOC, with most of the proceeds going to the hospital's Outpatient Clinic, which treats all children regardless of their families' financial situation.

Among those attending the shows: Thomas Penn Jones, president and CEO of CHOC; Kimberly Ely, CHOC executive vice president; Sue Krause, grand finale co-chairwoman; David Paulson, emcee; Gracie Beal, 5-year-old CHOC patient; Don and Marilyn Bailey, Sylvia Burnett, Pat Calderone, Tina Hughes, Jean Hamann, Nora and Charles Hester, Carol Ojers, Frances Stawicki, Susan Carter, Sharron Ribacchi, Lula Hatfield, Fran Paulson, Andrea Northcote, Beverly Singer and Janet Nagurski.

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