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Mathis' Crooning Had the Hearts at the Ball All Aflutter

March 02, 1997|MARY LOU LOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Johnny Mathis mesmerized the black-tie crowd at the 20th annual Heart Ball for the American Heart Assn. at the Beverly Wilshire. Sighs were heard everywhere as the entertainer crooned all-time favorites such as "Misty" and "Stranger in Paradise" for nearly an hour.

The Heart Ball always has fabulous entertainment; two years ago it was the toe-tapping sounds of Ray Charles. Benefit-goers know they'll get their money's worth.

With live and silent auctions, 750 guests and Mathis, the chairs--Pam Mullin, Byron Allumbaugh and Charles Reed--could only pat themselves on the back, as everyone else was doing. Much of the credit goes to the hard-working auction duo, Sandra McNutt Comrie and Meredith MacRae-Neal, who obtained packages and packages of trips and vacations.

Both Home and Great Western savings and loan companies (considering a merger) were well-represented by executives. Charlie Reinhart and Bruce Willison starred at Home Savings' four tables. Great Western had two tables of vice presidents, including Gary Bernard and Jim Overholt.

Pamela Mullin declared, "The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart, and we believe in the three Cs--cash, checks and credit cards." Dr. Dan Eisenberg noted that heart disease is still the biggest killer and that last year $30 million was invested in heart research.

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Prestigious: The National Lymphoma Research Foundation of America will honor Dr. Alexandra Levine, chief of the division of hematology at USC School of Medicine, with the Evelyn Hoffman Memorial Award on March 13 at the foundation's "Celebration of Life" dinner at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. That evening Tracy Nelson will receive the Lifesaver Award, and Tenet HealthSystem's chairman/CEO Jerry C. Barbakow the Celebration of Life Award.

Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, claims 80,000 victims yearly.

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35th: When the late actor Danny Thomas opened the doors of St. Jude's hospital in Memphis 35 years ago, he could not have imagined its successes in immunology. He just promised that no child with cancer would ever be turned away because of race, religion or inability to pay.

His wife, Rose Marie Thomas, and offspring--Marlo, Terre and Tony--carry on Thursday with a black-tie dinner at the Beverly Hilton to benefit the Danny Thomas Memorial Endowment Fund for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Angel tables are selling for $10,000.

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Love Toasts: The toasts from friends including Charlie Munger and Gordon Pashgian, husband Adam Bianchi and daughter Ella Brittingham brought both laughs and tears at the birthday party honoring Pasadena decorator Penny Bianchi. Rancho Valencia Resort in San Diego County couldn't handle the weekend crowd of nearly 100, so guests spilled over into the nearby Inn at Rancho Santa Fe for the celebration and two days of tennis, walking, merry-making and eating.

Adam's daughters--Alessandra, with husband Jigger Herman, and Jacqueline with her husband Mikkel Herman--flew out from New England with their new babies, hits of the party. Having a very good time were Susy and Mike Niven, Jerry and Robin Parsky, Brad Freeman, Beau and Wendy Bianchi (she took photos all weekend), Julie and Art Pizzinat, Lynn and Hugh Evans, John Damgard, Jane Cowles and Hanford Smith.

The tall sunflower table arrangements matched Penny's new diamond sunflower earrings.

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Big Dates: Ginny Mancini will be honored March 22 at the "Class Act" gala at Paramount Studios sponsored by Friends of the School Volunteer Program . . . The Junior League of Pasadena is prepping for "Center Stage 1997--Abracadabra: the Magic of Children" on Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton, Huntington. James Watterson and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising will produce the show.

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Thunder: Robin and Henry Williamson, and Susan and Steve Ascher invited more than 100 to "Come and make some thunder, and send Sally and Ken Down Under." The well-wishes were for Sally and Kenneth Dulin of Pasadena who are moving to Australia to conduct his agricultural pursuits.

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Greetings: Pope John Paul II sent rare greetings when Catherine Ann Hayden married William Michael Marsh at Church of St. Philip the Apostle in Pasadena. Their parents are Stanley and Marcia Hayden, and Murray and Miki Marsh, all of San Marino. More than 350 attended the emotional reception at the California Club.

Elsewhere on the Social Circuit

The Huntington Library opened "Masterpieces in Little: Portrait Miniatures From the Collection of Queen Elizabeth II" with a cocktail party for members of the Huntington Circle (those who give $5,000 annually) and President's Circle ($10,000). Nadine Skotheim, wife of Bob Skotheim, the Huntington's director, designed the flowering blossom arrangement filling the William Cripps silver epergne designed in London in 1757.

* Friends of French Art take over the Hotel Bel-Air on March 13 to hear Stephanie Copeland of the Edith Wharton Foundation and the Prince and Princesse Philippe von Liechtenstein tell about Wharton's Pavillon Colombe near Paris. After Wharton died in 1937, the chateau belonged, successively, to the Tallyrand, the Rochambeau and now the Liechtenstein families. The Friends currently are restoring 17 decorative panels in the boudoir at "The Mount" in Lenox, Mass., another Wharton residence.

* Tickets are $250 for the Glendale Adventist Medical Center's fund-raising gala today featuring the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the Glendale Red Lion Hotel.

* Kudos to the six-time Tony Award-winning team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The UniHealth Foundation will induct them into the Pinnacle Hall of Fame on Friday at the Century Plaza.

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