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Oscar Would've Fit Right In

October 31, 2000|PATT DIROLL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

One would have been hard put to rent a limo on Saturday night. The armada seemed endless as it rolled under the Beverly Hilton's porte-cochere for the 14th biennial Carousel of Hope Ball to benefit the Denver-based Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.

It happens here every two years in October, and it's always a paparazzi feeding frenzy that rivals Oscar night. The glare from jewels, sequins, chemically enhanced smiles and flashing cameras is enough to cause temporary blindness.

This bash is the equivalent of a royal command performance. The queen of the event, Barbara Davis, held court this time in a fairy godmother cloud of pink tulle set off with a triple strand of jawbreaker pearls, and a Judith Leiber "carousel" minaudiere.

Davis founded the ball 23 years ago, two years after her youngest child, Dana, was diagnosed with diabetes. Over the years, the Carousel of Hope has become the fund-raiser at which to be seen; this year, proceeds are expected to exceed $6 million.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday November 1, 2000 Home Edition Southern California Living Part E Page 4 View Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
Handbag Designer--In Tuesday's Social Circuits column about the Carousel of Hope Ball, the designer of the minaudiere carried by Barbara Davis was incorrectly identified. The bag was designed by Katherine Baumann.

"It's Barbara's first love," said her proud husband, Marvin Davis. "Dana was 7 when she was first diagnosed. When she was older, she started to lose her eyesight. We helped perfect a laser procedure, and 17 operations later her vision is perfect and she teaches school. You can invest a lot of money and accomplish nothing, but this time, it worked."

Later in the evening, Dana joined Sidney Poitier and Dustin Hoffman on stage to present her mother with the first Brass Ring Award, a sculpture created by Robert Graham, to be given at successive balls to someone who has made significant contributions to the fight against juvenile diabetes.

Who was there? Are you kidding? Have you ever seen Barbara's Rolodex? More than 1,500 Tinseltown, political and social types, including President Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty; L.A. Police Chief Bernard Parks, Merv Griffin, who hosted; George Schlatter, who produced the show; David Foster, who directed the music with assistance from Clive Davis, Quincy Jones, Peter Lopez and Angelo Medina; Tony Danza, who oversaw the silent auction, and emcee Jay Leno--in rare form with a fusillade of election jokes and a hoked-up raffle.

"Rich people love to get free stuff," Leno noted. (Hoffman was bummed when he won an automatic potato peeler and asked to trade it for the beef jerky and yogurt maker won by Michael Clarke Duncan.)

However, it was President Clinton's video message that drew the most guffaws: "I really wish I could be there with you tonight," said the president somberly. "But I'm here on the job."

Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson came late and slipped in through a kitchen door to join the Davis' table. Prior to dinner, Poitier, U.S. Postmaster Gen. William Henderson, Larry King and Olympic gold medalist Gary Hall, who is diabetic, gathered with the Davis family in the hotel's Rodeo Room to unveil the new "Know More About Diabetes" postage stamp to be released in March 2001.

Following dinner and dessert--individual baked Alaskas topped with a fondant carousel horse--the young Welsh thrush Charlotte Church and Toni Braxton entertained along with Ricky Martin, who had Barbara Davis dancing on the stage and many more dancing in the aisles to "Livin' la Vida Loca."

As guests headed for their cars, Chrissy Lerner, executive director of the Children's Diabetes Foundation, dispensed Guess tote bags packed with "free stuff" and doughnuts for the ride home. "Not everyone has to avoid sugar," she said with a wink.

diroll can film. let me know when you have hed for candy (INFANTE D, 10/30/00 14:26)

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