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RSVP / INTO THE NIGHT : One Role Model That Really Produces

November 07, 1994|BETTY GOODWIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: While her well-known mentor Steven Spielberg is usually the one on the receiving end of tributes, tables were turned when Steven Spielberg presented producer Kathleen Kennedy--as in "E.T.," "The Color Purple," "Back to the Future" I, II and III, "Jurassic Park," and "Schindler's List"--with the Big Sisters Guild of Los Angeles Sterling Award on Friday night at the Beverly Hilton. No one doubted the 41-year-old powerhouse would make an inspiring role model. "She's effective, she's a nice person and she has a private life," said Michael Crichton, whose novel, "Congo," Kennedy is producing as a film.

Who Was There: The Amblin alumni club and other entertainment industry honchos including Whoopi Goldberg, at top form as emcee; Susan and Jonathan Dolgen, Harrison Ford and Melissa Mathison, Ron Meyer, Kate Capshaw, Michael and Judy Ovitz, John Williams, Barry London, Mary Ellen Trainor and Robert Zemeckis, as well as Big Sister supporters Diane Lander-Simon and husband Neil, Sherry Lansing, Carole Little, Sarah Purcell, Karen Kane, Tichi Wilkerson Kassel and event chairwoman Marcia Hurwitz.

You Should Know: Mary Ellen Trainor was Kennedy's college roommate and alerted Kennedy to a job opening as receptionist for a young director named Steven Spielberg. Trainor married director Robert Zemeckis. Kennedy married producer-director Frank Marshall. Marshall and Michael Ovitz were college roommates. Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg produced Zemeckis' movies. Zemeckis and Marshall are best friends. Kennedy was Spielberg's receptionist when Kate Capshaw, his future wife, came to meet him for a role in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." Spielberg gave Whoopi Golberg her first shot at acting in "The Color Purple." And so on. Quoted: "I know the studio is a very exciting thing for the industry, but a lot of us hope he keeps directing," said Kennedy of Spielberg's new business venture after watching clips from their mutual films.

Overheard: As Robert Shapiro, O.J. Simpson's attorney, and his wife, Linette, dashed into the V.I.P. room one woman rolled her eyes and said, "He goes to the opening of every (bleep)-ing door. He was even at the Stones concert. You wonder why someone working on such a high-profile case would want to do that?"

Chow: Tortellini salad, chicken and purple baked Alaska, possibly an allusion to "The Color Purple."

Dress Mode: The "no tie" request was embraced by this crowd, which came in variations on minis, jeans, combat boots and Armani blazers. They made a striking contrast to another event at the hotel that night, the Assembly Ball. There, men wore white ties and tails and women wrapped furs over their floor-length dresses.

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