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Playing on a Star-Studded Field : Actress Stefanie Powers will host a celebrity parade and polo match benefit.

March 03, 1995|ISAAC GUZMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BURBANK — Ever think you'd get to run with the tony Palm Springs polo crowd and lunch with celebs while their trainers rub down the ponies? Here's your chance.

Television actress Stefanie Powers, best known as the star of "Hart to Hart," will host a Celebrity /Pro Polo Match Benefit for The William Holden Wildlife Foundation on Sunday at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

The day's scheduled events include a celebrity parade featuring appearances on horseback and in open cars by Power's "Hart to Hart" co-star Robert Wagner, actor Richard Belzer and others, and "Frasier" star Kelsey Grammer singing the national anthem.

Then Powers, actor William Devane and some of the country's best polo players, including Joel Baker, Dan Healy and Lucas White, will participate in an indoor polo match.

Indoor polo is different from an outdoor match, Powers said, because the field is smaller and the play is "much faster paced, with a different ball. It's more like hockey on horseback . . . with perhaps even more scoring. It's incredibly exciting."

Although she's an avid polo player, Powers predicted that she would put in a below-par performance because she will be preoccupied with making the event run smoothly.

The event is dubbed a celebration of "childlife and wildlife," and Powers has donated 2,000 tickets to several charities, including the Make A Wish Foundation, L.A.'s Best, the Hollenbeck Kids and the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. These will allow children served by the groups to attend.

In addition to lunch and a souvenir T-shirt, the kids get a rare chance to view an exclusive sport, and some will be in the parade with the celebrities.

"I don't think any of our kids have seen a polo match," said Judy Lewis, executive director of the Make A Wish Foundation. "Frankly, neither have I. I'm sure they will be very excited."

About 15 children being served by the foundation, plus their families, will attend the event, Lewis said.

The foundation tries to fulfill the wishes of children with life-threatening diseases. Many of them are from low-income households.

Powers created the William Holden Wildlife Foundation in 1982 as a memorial to the late actor and his concern for African wildlife. Each year thousands of students and visitors come to the foundation's education center in Kenya to learn about preservation of endangered species and conservation of the environment.

Fund-raisers such as Sunday's polo match are an important source of income for the foundation.

"We have 20,000 students a year coming through our education center and we need desperately to build more substantial accommodations," Powers said.

Previous charity events for the foundation have been in Palm Springs and Palm Beach, Fla., but this is the first Los Angeles-area fund-raiser in a decade, Powers said.

"We've done these before and we think these days always make everybody smile," said Powers. "Whatever we make out of this is important."

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WHERE AND WHEN

What: Celebrity / Pro Polo Match Benefit for the William Holden Wildlife Foundation.

Location: Los Angeles Equestrian Center, 840 Riverside Drive, Burbank.

Hours: Barbecue lunch at 11:45 a.m. Sunday; parade begins at 1:15 p.m., polo match at 2 p.m. Price: $125 in advance; $15 day of event, subject to availability.

Call: (310) 274-3169.

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