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The Award for Best Party Goes to . . .

. . . the La Marches' Oscar Bash Benefiting Women-Children Shelter

March 30, 2000|KATHRYN BOLD

The event: Oscar 2000, the third annual Academy Awards party staged by Peter and Scherry La Marche at their French countryside-style estate in Laguna Niguel. Sunday's benefit raised funds for Laura's House, a shelter in San Clemente for abused women and children.

Star treatment: For those who didn't make it to the Shrine on Oscar night, the La Marches' elegant bash was the place to be in Orange County.

Upon arrival, 200 guests--dressed like movie stars in slinky evening dresses and tuxedos--strolled up a red carpet and posed with larger-than-life Oscars for photographers.

First stop: A bar set up on a terrace with an ocean view, where bartenders poured martinis down a towering ice chute into the waiting glasses of guests. After a buffet dinner, party-goers gathered in a private upstairs theater to watch the show.

Nancy Honor, event co-chairwoman and an avid film buff, said that planning the party hadn't left her much time for moviegoing. "Last week I saw three movies in one day," she said. "I was doing some catching up."

Co-chairwoman Sylvia Srigley worried that the subject matter of this year's nominees for best picture would put a damper on the bash. "We have a dysfunctional family ("American Beauty"), a corrupt cigarette industry ("The Insider") and a little boy who sees dead people ("Sixth Sense")--what wonderful themes for our party," she quipped.

Shelter from a storm: Founded in 1996, Laura's House provides victims of domestic violence with temporary housing, counseling, legal advocacy, clothing, meals and other services. The shelter can accommodate 18 to 22 women and their children for 45-day stays. The agency also offers support groups, a children's learning center and a 24-hour hotline number: (949) 498-1511.

Quote: "Some concerned friends and family members call the shelter hotline because they're frustrated the woman's not leaving" an abusive situation, Srigley said. "They don't realize the psychological hold these men can have. . . . These women come to us with absolutely nothing."

Bottom line: Oscar 2000 was expected to net $30,000 for Laura's House. Proceeds will be used for the shelter's operating expenses.

Faces: Sandy Condello, executive director of Laura's House; Pat and John Bates; Steve and Beth Apodaca; Gracie Boyd, widow of cowboy star William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy); Carl and Cynthia Nolet; Tony and Mary Carbonara; and Nyla Jones.

What's ahead: A fashion show to benefit Laura's House will be held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Dana Point on Sept. 23. Information: (949) 361-3775.

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