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When Hollywood Just Won't Do : Parties: Ask your friends to celebrate your birthday in Monte Carlo? Sure, why not? That's what producer Larry Thompson did.

July 31, 1994|BETTY GOODWIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The invitation is engraved on nine-ply paper, the approximate thickness of cardboard and presumably three plies thicker than the paper used by the Queen of England.

At top and center is the host's personal gold seal: an arrangement of coiled film, a phonograph record, the scales of justice, and Michelangelo's hands of God and man from the painting in the Sistine Chapel--along with the words "For love of God, family, law and the arts."

The rest of the invitation reads:

*

\o7 LARRY THOMPSON

Fiftieth Summer of my

"La Dolce Vita"

I am traveling Around The World

and you, my Friend, are most graciously invited

to join my Celebrative Sojourn in

Monte Carlo

Principality of Monaco.

*

No, this is no ordinary wingding, even by Hollywood's over-budget standards.

The day before leaving for the Celebrative Sojourn, Thompson grabbed a Chinese chicken salad and a bottle of non-carbonated mineral water from the walk-through line at Maple Drive Cafe. (When he has to do lunch, he would more likely do it next door in the tonier Maple Drive restaurant.)

Of the party, he said, "We have about 40 RSVPs."

Thompson is president of the Larry Thompson Organization, an independent motion picture and television production and personal management company. He has produced more than 120 hours of TV programming and four movies. Currently in the works is a film of Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet."

At almost 50, Thompson's hairline is receding, but his hair is just long enough to be tied into the tiniest of ponytails. He looks robust and fit. For kicks, he rides his bright red Honda motor scooter.

Earlier this month, Thompson got pretty banged up when he crashed on Mulholland Drive. "I came around a corner too fast, hit a shoulder and went flying and skidding with the bike falling on top of me."

If he needs confirmation for celebrating his life in such a grand manner in Monaco, he's found it.

Before he arrived in Monte Carlo, Thompson and his girlfriend, Carla Herd, a chiropractor and former actress, traveled to Tokyo, China, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Cairo and Rome. In Rome, Thompson's sister, brother-in-law and mother were to meet up with them so they could fly together to Sardinia.

There they planned to board a 120-foot yacht, costing $60,000 per week, and sail to Monte Carlo, where the real partying was to begin this weekend. It was to start Saturday night with a cocktail party aboard the yacht. Today, lunch will be served on-board as the boat cruises to St. Jean-Cap-Ferratt; everyone is requested to wear white. Tonight, Thompson hosts a black-tie dinner at Hotel de Paris in a garden and terrace overlooking the Bay of Monaco and the palace. Monday, the yacht will cruise the bay as guests indulge in their favorite water sports. Lunch will be served at La Vigie at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel. The party ends at 3 p.m.

The entire enchilada is rumored to cost $250,000.

Thompson, understand, is not paying for his guests to wing into Monte Carlo or putting them up in hotels once they get there. That's their responsibility, he says. The guest list is considerably smaller than the list of names--including big Hollywood stars--who got invitations.

The only star expected is William Shatner, Thompson's best friend and client. Maybe money is an issue, we suggest. Few people, even rich people, would indulge in the expense of flying to Monte Carlo for three days.

"I would," said Thompson at lunch in Los Angeles. "I flew to Florence, Italy, for two days for David Bowie and Iman's wedding."

Thompson said he never thought of celebrating his birthday with a simple, local blowout. "It never entered my mind. I didn't want to work. When you have a party in Hollywood, you send limos to the celebrities to make sure they show up.

"Last year I went to Bob Shapiro's 50th at Bob Evans' house. They brought in artificial snow and covered Evans' whole back yard. I've been to so many damn parties. That's why I wanted to do this far away.

"Living in Hollywood for 26 years, managing stars and producing movies, you can become myopic. You shouldn't judge a man by the height he attains, but also by the width and depth. So my life and my travels and my party are part of the healthy and spiritual growth that you need in a town that doesn't always otherwise provide it.

"In Hollywood, a lot of people throw parties--and I'm as guilty as they are--who have layered agendas. Whereas this trip and party is strictly for family and friends in the real world. I wanted to take a moment in my life and career to take this extended trip. Of all the planet I've traveled, I wanted to share these places with my family."

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