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ROBIN CONWAY

Star Power : Hollywood Super Hostess Susie Bollman Field Brings Fund-Raising Clout to O.C.

August 01, 1994|ROBIN CONWAY

Imagine welcoming guests into your home with Robert Redford at your side. Or having Barbra Streisand sing in your back yard. Or cracking up over Billy Crystal as he schmoozes with Raquel Welch, Richard Dreyfuss, Ted Danson and Magic Johnson-- in your living room.

Sound like a society maven's dream? Not to Susie Bollman Field. She's been there, done that.

As the wife of movie producer Ted ("Three Men and a Baby") Field (of the Marshall Field family), Susie regularly helped stage star-studded benefits at the couple's Greenacres mansion in Beverly Hills.

Their parties were always at the top of society columns. And they snagged big bucks. One dinner they underwrote for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation raised $900,000.

But now, three little girls and one divorce later, the former Newport Beach resident is back in town, ready to work her fund-raising magic in Orange County.

On Oct. 22, Susie will chair the annual "Fund$y" black-tie benefit for Western Medical Center in Santa Ana.

Of course, she has her reasons. "Western Medical Center's trauma unit is the beneficiary," Susie, 32, said on a recent day in her Harbor Ridge home. "It's an extraordinary trauma center, one of only three regional centers in Orange County."

And her husband-to-be, Gary Levine, 34, a radiologist, is on the staff there. "I want to be involved where Gary's involved," she said.

Susie wasn't looking to settle down in Orange County when she returned here one year ago to be near her mother, who was ill at the time.

But a visit to Blockbuster Video in Newport Beach changed everything. There she was, on a Sunday afternoon, arms loaded with movies for her girls, Brittany, Candice and Chelsea, and this gorgeous guy approaches her, asks her what she's doing with all of those cartoons.

"I told him I didn't want to make a decision for my daughters, so I was gathering up everything I could get my hands on," she says in her satin-soft voice.

He had a medical book in his hand. "I asked him why he had that and he told me he was a doctor." Yeah, right. "You're not old enough to be a doctor," she told him. "I was a little rude to him because I wasn't sure about the doctor thing, to tell you the truth."

He convinced her. She gave him her telephone number.

They plan to elope at the end of the year, or the beginning of next year. "We've both been married, so we want it to be low-key," she says.

The couple made their local social debut a week ago when they attended the gala that followed the opening of "The Phantom of the Opera" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

In fact, Susie threw $10,000 into the underwriting pool for the stylish event and showed up in a buff-tone Scaasi and stately jewels, her signature long blond tresses trailing down her back. "I love 'Phantom,' " she says. "I'll see it anywhere, anytime."

Ask her about those Tinseltown years with Field and she's all smiles. "It was fabulous. We still have a great friendship," she says. "He's a great man whom I respect a lot, a wonderful father.

"We grew in separate directions. It was no one big thing. We ended as friends, never even went to court."

Meanwhile, Susie will continue to do what she loves most--hang out with her daughters and Levine ("He's so smart; he keeps our relationship interesting"), visit the East Coast ("I adore New York") skin-dive around the world ("Next month we go to Fiji") and help mastermind events to benefit local charities.

She's hoping to have several of her star pals at the West-Med event, "The Wild, Wild West."

"We've invited 10 big names, but I can't name them, because they haven't confirmed," she says. "But MGM Studios is doing a lot for us, letting us borrow the sets from the 'Wild Bill Hickock' movie."

Guests will be encouraged to wear formal Western attire to the affair. And Susie, who is given to wearing the ultra-modern tailored lines of the country's top designers, will probably show up looking like Grace Kelly in "High Noon."

No suede and swaying fringe for her. "I want to wear one of those lovely dresses that have bustles," she says. "They were very ladylike, old-fashioned. I'll probably go to a costume shop, pick one out and have a tailor copy it. Gary and I can't wait. It's going to be a fabulous party."

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