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RSVP / THE SOCIAL CITY

Unforgettable, Successful, Sentimental

March 30, 1997|MARY LOU LOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Unforgettable, that's what it was.

Gregory Peck did the "Woman of Courage" presentation. Anne Douglas accepted. Jay Leno introduced Natalie Cole and pianist David Foster, and Cole sang "Tenderly" and "Unforgettable." Mark's Gardens arranged beautiful table bouquets. Irving, Evelyn and Norman Feintech underwrote the dinner and orchestra at the Regent Beverly Wilshire.

More than 600 attended and gave generously. "An Unforgettable Evening" netted $1.15 million for gynecologic oncology research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

0 More than 600 attended and gave generously. "An Unforgettable Evening" netted $1.15 million for gynecologic oncology research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

And, cheers: Funds were raised without an auction.

What more could a chairwoman have wished for? In this case, a quartet--Marion Laurie, Sandra Krause, Renette Ezralow and Margie Petersen--were ecstatic.

In December, Irving Feintech and Laurie attended a dinner party where Cole was also a guest. They told her about the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center efforts by Dr. Beth Y. Karlan. On the spot, Cole volunteered to sing a benefit without charge. Could it be on March 17--the birthday of her late father, Nat King Cole? Of course.

Veronique Peck accompanied her husband; Kirk Douglas accompanied his wife, Anne. Drs. Philip Brooks, Joel Geiderman and Lawrence Platt explained Cedars' commitment to finding the causes of women's cancers.

Rosie O'Donnell, Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus appeared on video to pay tribute to their "Seinfeld" writer-friend Marjorie Gross, who died of ovarian cancer last year.

Said Laurie: "We simply cannot believe how successful this evening has been."

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Budding Youth: Children have thrived on the social and cultural scene this month. The L.A. Opera's Junior Opera Project collected several hundred children 5 to 16 on the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for close-up English performances of Rossini's "The Barber of Seville."

At the Natural History Museum, Five Star Families spent a Saturday morning viewing the exhibition "Cats! Wild to Mild."

Last year Alice Coulombe and Eileen Read launched the Opera Project, bringing more than 700 children, parents and grandparents to the Music Center. This year's repeat, chaired by Elizabeth and Graeme Gilfillan with co-chairs Holly and David Davis and Laura and Carlton Seaver, was a sellout, and, judging by the attentive audience sitting cross-legged on carpet samples onstage, a huge success.

The kids were coached in operatic breathing exercises and posture. They became experts at singing "Figaro, Figaro, Figaro, Figaro . . . " and the "la, la, las" of "The Barber of Seville," and they practiced reciting, "May smiling heaven send you bright skies forevermore."

The crowd lunched on chicken and grapes in the Grand Hall before workshops onstage in dueling and wig-making. Richard Seaver had seven grandchildren in tow.

At the museum event, chaired by Lynn Brengel (accompanied by sons Kelly and Chris), more than 150 arrived in early morning for sweet rolls and juice before moving inside to push the buttons that make the lions roar.

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Glamorous Dates: The Otis College of Art and Design's 15th annual gala dinner and Critics' Awards Fashion Show is May 3 at the Beverly Hilton. Designer Nolan Miller, who reigned at the recent kickoff party at the Regency Club, will receive the Fashion Achievement Award. Nancy Vreeland and Ginny Sydorick are co-chairwomen. Sixteen student collections will be presented.

* The grand opening of Spago in Beverly Hills on April 11 will double as a kickoff for "The Race to Erase MS, 1997," co-chaired by Nancy Davis and Tommy Hilfiger. Barbara Lazaroff and Wolfgang Puck, Spago entrepreneurs, are hosting the Dom Perignon reception and dinner.

* "All the World's a MERVelous Fair" salutes Merv Griffin at the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary's "Odyssey Ball" on Saturday at the Beverly Hilton. The Bob Gail Orchestra will play for dancing.

* And St. John's Health Center Foundation will give actor-producer Robert Wagner its fifth annual Caritas Award at its black-tie dinner dance April 12 at the Beverly Wilshire.

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Past Perfect: Almost 900 at the House Ear Institute gala watched TV producer and studio executive David Gerber receive the Humanitarian of the Year Award from Drs. Howard and John House. The affair raised more than $450,000. Gerber's wife, Laraine, also was in the spotlight, and tributes came from Pierre Cossette, Angie Dickinson, Mike Connors and Ed Asner. Pat Moller of Sonance and Cordella Owens of the Associates co-chaired.

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