Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Page 2 / IDEAS, TRENDS, STYLE AND BUZZ | Social Circuits

Living Hollywood Legends Still Partying With the Best

October 10, 2000|PATT DIROLL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Two legendary performers were in the spotlight at events last week, both octogenarians, both living proof that defying age is what becomes a legend most.

Gregory Peck, 84, is passionate about books. After all, his most memorable roles have been characters from novels like "The Yearling," "Moby Dick" and "To Kill a Mockingbird."

That's why, for the last six years, the actor has organized and hosted the Gregory Peck Reading Series, an annual event that features six literary readings by distinguished actors at the Central Library downtown. This year's gala for the series is slated for Nov. 14 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Peck and his wife, Veronique, were guests of honor Oct. 3 at a kickoff party for the series at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Gala chairman Joni Smith and Ali Kasikci of the Peninsula Hotel hosted. This year's stellar lineup of readers will include Kathy Bates, James Woods, Beau Bridges, Tim Curry, Laura Dern, Richard Dreyfuss, Sally Field, Morgan Freeman, Charlton Heston, Anjelica Huston, Jack Lemmon, John Lithgow, Kevin Spacey, Lynn Redgrave, Patrick Stewart, Shirley MacLaine and, of course, Peck. Proceeds will establish a literary endowment in Peck's name for educational programs at the Los Angeles Public Library and its 67 branches.

*

On Oct. 2, the family and friends of Nanette Fabray filled the Pasadena Playhouse to capacity for "Yes! Yes! Nanette," an 80th birthday tribute and benefit for the Musical Theatre Guild. Carl Reiner, who said he's resident emcee at 80th birthdays, co-hosted the evening with Fabray's niece, Shelley Fabares.

Colleagues from the durable star's 60-year career turned out in force: Howard Morris, Bea Arthur, Betty Garrett, Danny Daniels, Susan Egan, John Raitt, Bonnie Franklin, David Hyde Pierce, Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, Craig T. Nelson, Lillius White and Phyllis Diller (wearing a print "acquired," she said, "when I shot my sofa.")

All had tales to tell, including Barbara Eden, who recalled how Fabray was hospitalized for a month after a pink elephant knocked her down on a film set. Reiner remembered when a steel pipe fell on her backstage during the live telecast of "Caesar's Hour" and caused a concussion. Marlee Matlin and Florence Henderson spoke glowingly of her advocacy for the hearing impaired. And Dr. Howard House, Fabray's otolaryngologist and longtime friend, said that she saved his life when he suffered a heart attack in Russia by using sign language to communicate with the Russians.

Proceeds from the benefit are earmarked for the guild's Broadway in Concert series at the playhouse, according to the show's writer-director, Alan Bailey, and producer Jayson Raitt.

*

Last Wednesday's Oak Tree opener at Santa Anita under gray skies seemed like a good day to play gray horses. They're my favorites anyway. Bad decision. But the good news was my favorite jockey, Gary Stevens, is back in the saddle again after bum knees prompted him to abruptly hang up his boots last December.

Attendance was unusually low for the autumn meet's 32nd opening day. Is that a reflection of the changes at the Great Race Place? Oak Tree exec Sherwood Chillingworth said the lower turnout was probably due to the bus strike and the absence of a promotion like last year's opening day "mystery mutual ticket" that could have been worth $2 or $100,000.

Happily, chef Tom O'Connor's lavish buffet in the Directors Room is still there, and, of course, the people-watching. Among the smartly dressed ladies spotted were Santa Anita's queen mum, Betty Strub; Lynn Hirsch, widow of Oak Tree co-founder Clement Hirsch; Debbie Lanni; Diane Johnson; and Beverly Lewis, whose 3-year-old colt, Zentsov Street won the third race.

Patt Diroll's column is published Tuesdays. She can be reached at pattdiroll@earthlink.net.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|