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RSVP / THE SOCIAL CITY

The Bachelors Offer a Singular Experience

February 11, 1996|MARY LOU LOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Bachelors always do it so well. This year they re-created Thailand's legendary Grand Palace for "Bangkok and Beyond: A Night in the Kingdom of Thailand." Six hundred dined and danced under towering bamboo poles topped with lucky carp flags. Siamese temple lions lined the Beverly Hilton ballroom walls.

Ball chairman Tom Blumenthal ordered a red lacquered bridge with pagoda archways for guests to enter, and Art Deco and his Society Orchestra played for eight hours.

The Bachelors, founded in 1905, is the organization of 75 unmarried men active in Southern California's social and philanthropic causes.

President Steve Leland and his date Marie Joyce, as the King of Siam and Anna, greeted patronesses and their husbands--Peggy Galbraith, Louise and Steve Griffith, Janice and Bob Carpenter, Bonnie and Art McClure and Chicky and Skip Byrne--in a hotel suite before the ball.

It's always a wild adventure choosing costumes because the ball theme is a closely guarded secret. J.P. Shotwell arrived as a Viennese count, escorting Lisa Graham. Knowledgeable Blumenthal and date Kerry Harker came as a Thai warlord and dancer.

Bachelors board members headed the receiving line. Among them: Chip Donnelly with Alisa Chanpong as a sultan and harem girl, Art Rasmussen with Emily Field as a go-go dancer, Bill Bessolo with Heather Ross costumed as Sonny and Cher, Robert Baker with Melissa Denoff as a gangster and a flapper, Derek Bell with Debra Hope as a gaucho and Spanish dancer.

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Multi-Tributes: With Basque and American flags flying, Robert Erburu, who has just retired as chairman of the Times Mirror Co., parent company of The Los Angeles Times, was the recipient of warm accolades at a luncheon at the California Club. Some 150, including the honoree's wife, Lois, and daughter, Susan Reardon, a litigation partner with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher (where her father was a partner before he joined Times Mirror), accepted the invitation from Mike Bowlin, John Bryson, George Gibbs, Mark Willes and Harold Williams to salute Erburu.

All five hosts lauded Erburu's legacy of corporate and community service.

At the end, Erburu, said, "I guess I'll keep doing what I can to be helpful."

Gibbs organized the luncheon, which was hosted by Johnson & Higgins.

Said Williams, "Bob has set a singular standard in this city. He has tirelessly devoted a portion of every day to the community." Among Erburu's involvements, Williams mentioned the Getty Trust, the Federal Reseve Board, the Catholic Church and the Huntington Library. Still, he said, Los Angeles lacks "community," unlike Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chattanooga and Phoenix.

Williams, like other speakers, urged the prominent guests to seize the moment and help revitalize Los Angeles. Bryson called for "a provocative leadership essential to the future of Los Angeles. The road ahead is difficult. What concerns me is that business leaders could forsake [the role of community leadership] altogether."

Willes, Erburu's successor at Times Mirror, referred to Erburu's legacy and said, "The community agenda is our agenda" and that the company would continue to support community causes.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, delivered the invocation.

Among business and community leaders present were Russell Smith, Rob Maguire, Times Publisher Richard T. Schlosberg III and Editor Shelby Coffey III, Charlie Munger, Phil Hawley, Charles D. Miller, Phyllis Hennigan, Sister Mary Jean Meier, Bruce Ramer, Stan Avery, Robert Wycoff, John Cook, Roland Seidler, James McElvany, Bill Siart, Ed Carson and Bob Ahmanson.

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Benevolent: Cardinal Mahony greeted all of the 861 guests at the seventh annual Cardinal's Awards and Recognition dinner at the Regent Beverly Wilshire.

The five honorees were Robert Campion, Frances Morehart, John Shea, Roger Sullivan and Josephine Saenz Wayne. Campion is a St. John's Hospital trustee and CEO of Lear Siegler; Morehart is a supporter of St. Anne's Maternity Hospital; Shea is a builder and benefactor of education and charitable programs; Sullivan is an attorney and devoted to church responsibilities and past chairman of Loyola Marymount University; Wayne was honored for her lifelong dedication to church and community.

Eleven tables of family and friends (including Bob and Dolores Hope, Alice Avery and Loretta Young) supported Wayne, who was wearing a huge diamond on her left hand and introducing Cyril Nigg as "my beau." There was laughter all evening over the recent telephone call Mahony paid Wayne to congratulate her on her engagement. She thought it was one of her numerous grandsons playing a joke and hung up on the cardinal.

Michael Smith headed the awards committee and Joan Lamberti planned the dinner. Shea family members were in abundance: John's wife, Dorothy; Gil and Claire Shea, Maureen and Phil Robinson and Mollie and Stuart O'Melveny; Carrie and Peter Tilton, Alison Shea, Jim and Ann Shea, and Ed and Mary Shea.

* Mary Lou Loper's column is published Sundays.

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