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ANN CONWAY

Bolton Takes the Field : The Singer, at 'Dreams' Underwriting Dinner, Makes Generous Donation Himself

October 13, 1994|ANN CONWAY

No one expected pop star Michael Bolton to use his platinum pipes at the Villa Nova restaurant in Newport Beach Monday night.

His publicist said he wouldn't.

But when three guests at the preview dinner offered to donate $7,500 each to benefit the Michael Bolton and Barry Bonds charity foundations, the curly haired singer belted out "When a Man Loves a Woman" and "Georgia on My Mind" at the piano bar and left most of the crowd so stunned they sat there with their dessert spoons hanging over their chocolate Grand Marnier souffle.

Bolton and his buddy Barry Bonds--the San Francisco Giant outfielder who three times has been named most valuable player by the National League--were on hand at the cozy bay-side eatery to announce plans of a joint fund-raiser at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on Nov 6.

Their first "Field of Dreams Awards" dinner and concert--featuring Bolton, Kenny G, Gladys Knight, Dale Kristien, Tony Braxton and more--will benefit the Michael Bolton Foundation and the Bonds Family Foundation.

Bolton's foundation supports women and children at risk. Bonds' foundation assists underprivileged children.

The star-packed salute, produced and directed by David Gest, will honor baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, comic great Sid Caesar, Columbia Records Chairman Don Ienner, record producer Kenny (Babyface) Edmonds, and actors Anthony Quinn and Maureen O'Hara.

"My foundation is a few years old now, but this is a new event, one that Barry and I are really excited about," said Bolton, sipping a sugar-laced cappuccino.

"Barry and I thought the 'Dreams' benefit would be an appropriate thing to do, given the fact that we are both fortunate enough to be living our dreams," he said.

"You don't have to dive too far into my past to know that, until 1982 when things started to take off for me, I was working very hard to make ends meet. I know what it's like to struggle to take care of a family, get an eviction notice.

"And Barry and I know there are people out there who don't think their dream is anywhere within reach. We want to help them, inspire them."

Said Bonds: "It's our way of recognizing people who have had their dreams become reality. Michael and I are on our field of dreams right now. We want to help children have the same opportunity."

Anybody who thought Bolton or Bonds would arrive sporting a Star Attitude were in for a surprise.

Both men mixed happily with guests--who included Golden Age movie greats such as Jane Withers, Margaret O'Brien, Virginia Mayo and Anne Jeffreys--shaking hands, chatting about the silent auction's movie memorabilia.

(Bolton, who generally eschews autograph-giving, even signed a Gerber T-shirt for 2-month-old Crystal LeFrance, daughter of Kelly Crean LeFrance--daughter of Villa Nova owner Andy Crean and his wife, Charlene, dinner underwriters. "He said he'd do it because she was a baby ," Kelly said, beaming.)

In a private moment, Bolton said he and blond bombshell Nicolette Sheridan are back on track.

"We're together again," he said, flashing a small smile. "She's wacky and wonderful."

Ah, when a man loves a woman.

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