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Chapman to Honor Elder Bush

March 30, 2000|ANN CONWAY

Former President George Bush will receive Chapman Universi-

ty's inaugural Global Citizen Medal on April 15 at a black-tie gala held on campus in Beckman Hall.

Bush will also be the keynote speaker at the $500 per ticket dinner--$1,000 a pop for those who want to get their picture taken with him and sit up front--for 400 people.

The medal will be awarded annually to recognize leaders who had a positive influence on the world during the Cold War era, from 1948 to 1990, says Sheryl Bourgeois, assistant vice president of university relations.

"We have just opened a new Center for Cold War Studies and we want to bring attention to that period of history," she said.

The gala dinner will be preceded by a two-day academic symposium at the university focusing on the Bush presidency and the end of the Cold War.

Chapman President Jim Doti is co-chairing the dinner with alumnus George Argyros of Newport Beach.

Bush will waive his usual fee for a talk about the impact his administration had on ending the Cold War, Bourgeois said. According to reports, Bush has been known to charge as much as $100,000 for speeches he makes around the world.

"Normally, President Bush can be very expensive [on the speaker's circuit], but because of his long friendship with George Argyros, he is doing this for free."

The events are open to the public. For information: (714) 997-6521.

It's All in the Family

Television talk-show host Leeza Gibbons and her husband, actor-architect Stephen Meadows, received the Parents of the Year Award on Saturday during a black-tie gala sponsored by the Olive Crest Abused Children's Foundation.

Hundreds of foundation supporters packed the Disneyland Hotel's Grand Ballroom for the benefit, which raised more than $600,000.

Olive Crest boosters actor Dick Van Patten and his wife, Pat, presented the inaugural award.

"Olive Crest wanted to honor parents who clearly model the power of love and commitment in keeping a family strong and heathy," Dick Van Patten said.

Added Pat Van Patten: "As I know, firsthand, trying to raise well-adjusted children in Hollywood can be a very challenging experience.

"It takes commitment, patience, a great sense of humor and unconditional love. And that is exactly what Leeza and Stephen supply on a daily basis" to their children, Alexandra, Troy and Nathan.

For Art's Sake

Actor Richard Chamberlain declined an invitation to attend the late-night bash at Maggiano's to celebrate the recent opening of "The Sound of Music " at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa.

After spending more than a year on the road starring in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, he tries to conserve his energy, he says.

But the 65-year-old Broadway performer--who has also starred in TV blockbusters such as "Shogun" and "The Thorn Birds"--managed to drop by an afternoon reception in his honor at the Sutton Place Hotel in Newport Beach last week.

There, in the hotel art gallery, members of the Center Stars--a center support group--attended an exclusive showing of four of his original artworks.

They raved about Chamberlain's scenic depictions in oil of his beloved Hawaii--where the actor has lived for nearly 11 years--but the works remained unsold.

Maybe the price--$150,000 each--had something to do with it.

Why so pricey?

"Mainly because I don't really want to sell them," he said. "They're my first babies. And now I'm in a fallow period because I'm working so much."

Chamberlain, who studied art in college, never fancied he would become a serious painter. "But after I began to paint about seven years ago, I became absolutely enthralled with it. I find it as exciting as acting."

During his stay in Orange County, Chamberlain has remained close to his hotel. "When you're on tour, there's almost no time--or energy--to go exploring," he explained. "And I already know Orange County--my parents used to live in Laguna Beach. I've spent a lot of time around here."

Chamberlain's appearance marks the second time he has appeared in Segerstrom Hall.

"That hall works like a dream, " he said. "I played it first in 'My Fair Lady.' For its [3,500-seat] size, it's the most intimate theater I've ever played in."

People still flock to see "The Sound of Music" because it "touches, in some mysterious way, our deep memories of life when it was simpler and warmer," Chamberlain said. "It reminds people of what they wish their families were like and their love affairs were like and what their children were like."

Chamberlain looks forward to returning to Hawaii in May. But he won't remain there long.

"A friend has written a play called 'The Shadow of Greatness.' I'm going to do that next at the Berkshire Playhouse in New York."

"The Sound of Music" continues through Sunday. For information: (714) 556-2122.

Hosting Hillary

It isn't every hostess who must allow a dog to sniff out her home for a bomb before she can welcome guests.

But it isn't every hostess who entertains the first lady of the United States.

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