Hollywood Party Line
Parties, parties, parties and one standout preem this month. But so many soirees, large and small, I fer sure won’t have room for all of ’em!
The biggest, most lavish shindig tossed hereabouts since the famed Marion Davies hoop-la was given by wealthy charitable Elsinore Macris and groom, George Gilliland. The thirty-thousand-dollar (yep, $30,000! ) ball they tossed saw Mocambo decorated with six thousand dollars’ worth of gardenias—three hundred dozens of ’em! Champagne flowed from fountains carved from ice that also encased hundreds of American Beauty roses. Guests enjoyed nibbling on eighty pounds of caviar, provided by the hosts at $25 per pound; a four-foot high wedding “cake” fashioned of flowers; a wonderful dinner and dancing to Perez Prado’s crazy Mambo band, along with the usual orchestra. To say nothing of Harold Stern and his 17 violinists who “serenaded” diners as they passed among the tables. And seeing the $5,000 French lace gown on Mrs. Gilliland, created by Dan Loper!
Among the more than 300 guests were Paul Brinkman and Jeanne Crain, sporting a “diamond” tiara, Eva Gabor, dangling a few diamonds and Marion Davies, dangling a few thousand diamonds, plus Noreen Nash, in pink satin with bustle and Marie McDonald, whose flimsy gown caught fire from a cigarette. Kay Williams, in pale blue chiffon and wearing a fabulous diamond and emerald necklace, the Vic McLaglens, Estelita and Grant Withers, Ginny Simms, Jon Hall and Linda Danson, Mari Blanchard and Greg Bautzer, the Bob Cummings, Dan Dailey and Gwen O’Connor were among the cinema set present. And Arlene Dahl, who decided that her bridal nightie (she has planned to become Mrs. Fernando Lamas before you read this) will be of pale pink chiffon and delicate lace—with yards and yards of the transparent, floaty stuff falling very, very softly from the waistline.
More “traditional” was the anniversary party Judy Garland and Sid Luft gave in the new Crown Room atop Romanoff’s. The glass-enclosed setting gave sixty guests a gorgeous view of the city while dining and dancing to a three-piece musical combo. The Lufts seated a lot of studio execs and various chums at individual tables for eight. One of the special dishes served was rock Cornish game hen, supposedly raised just for this occasion. Judy wore a beige chiffon gown, its short sleeves banded with sable, and her brand-new (and first) diamond ring—a big marquis from Sid. Guests included Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, the Gary Coopers, the Tony Martins—Cyd Charisse gorgeous in rather short, very full-skirted white organdy dress, with a black top and the maddest black and white striped shoes of a glossy fabric! Evie Johnson with Van was in stunning white pique trimmed with multitudinous bits of vivid turquoise and rhinestone beading. The Peter Lawfords, the Bill Goetzes, Jack Warner, Ethel Merman (in starched black organza) were there too. Late, late, the Merm, Judy and Van Johnson did some fancy chirping together—natch!
Judy’s use of sable on her filmy gown reminds me to note how “little furs,” not necessarily trimming, have greatly replaced last summer’s overworked dressy cardigans and will undoubtedly continue to do so way into fall. Teitlebaum, the furrier who bedecks most of Tinseltown’s celebs, says he can hardly fill his orders for tiny (real tiny!) white mink or ermine capes and hug-me jackets. And note the many pastel shades in which he’s turning out such duds. Elizabeth Taylor has a “little” pink mink cape. And we caught Mona Freeman (dining with Frank Sinatra) at La Rue one eve, wearing a wee pale blue mink capelet over a stark white cotton lace cocktail dress. Teitlebaum adds, “I used to design these things for Christmas. Now everyone wants them to wear over summer party dresses.” And gals, if you’re lucky enough to have an old hunk of beige or gray fox lying around, do something with it! Just as chic!
A different sort of divertissement, and much talked about, was the Hawaiian luau for 200 that socialite George Cameron gave on his spacious hill-top lawns, with both Eddie Oliver’s band and a Hawaiian outfit strumming Island melodies. A ripple occurred when Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Wilding were inadvertently seated at the same table with Liz’s ex: Nicky Hilton. Fortunately, perhaps, this was not one of Nicky’s drinking nights. Guests who gorged themselves on exotic food and sipped wonderful rum concoctions included Jane Wooster with John Lindsay; John’s ex, Diana Lynn, with Bob Neal; Merle Oberon, back with Dr. Rex Ross; John Carroll, Anita Ekberg; Steve Crane and Kathy Marlowe; the Hoagy Carmichaels; Jeanne Crain and Paul Brinkman.
Then there was producer Bert Friedlob’s (he’s Eleanor Parker’s ex) goodbye party for Tay Garnett and Mari Aldon, returning to England. Shelley Winters was with John Carroll; Yvonne DeCarlo with Bob Clark; Richard Egan with Diana Mills; Jon Hall with Linda Danson; Jackie Loughery with Vince Edwards. George Raft, Rhonda Fleming, Walter Pidgeon and Casey Robinson were some of the very few who “stagged it.”
For a good cause, Ciro’s was turned into a veritable ranch house when Share, Inc., sparked by Yvonne Hover, Doris Day and a few other gals gave out with a fund-raising whoopee. The place was mobbed with famous people in western attire, and the hatcheck gals were busy checking rifles, guns, slingshots and ten-gallon lids into a big covered wagon parked outside the cafe! Ann Blyth (who became a Momma a few days later) and Dr. McNulty; Pier Angeli with Allan Pearl; the Gordon MacRaes; Debbie Reynolds; Keefe Brasselle; Ida Lupino and Howard Duff; Lance Fuller with a magazine girl; Miriam Nelson with Neils Larsen; Mitzi Gaynor and Jack Bean (who say they’ll wed the moment “No Business Like Show Business” is finis); Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, who panicked everyone, were among the fun-makers.
The Dean Martins tossed a lovely dinner dance to celebrate Dean’s birthday—but we’ll wait till next time to tell about that one. There were no photogs there, anyway, so we’d better get on with events you might learn about meantime. One of these was the unique preview and party M-G-M tossed to show “The Student Prince.” Both screening and dinner were held in the Rheingold Brewery here; Ann Blyth, Ty Power, Angela Lansbury, Richard Anderson, the Edmund Purdoms, the Dennis Days were just a few of the many “student” stein-raisers on hand . . . Then there was Donald O’Connor’s party for his TV associates. Don took over the Rodeo Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel and jammed it. Late stayers got a great free show put on by Don, his pal, Sidney Miller, Ethel Merman and others. Joan Crawford was wearing a bright green cocktail dress; and Yvonne de Carlo sported unusual jewelry she’d bought herself in Europe . . . Few eves later, the Crawford tossed a shindig at the same hotel for sportswear tycoon, David Haft. In the big crowd was Gloria De Haven, who wound up holding hands with Milt Rackmil, who used to rush Joan. Gloria also “caught up with” guest-of-honor Haft, whom she used to date before she married Marty Kimmel, whom she’s now divorcing. Are you still with me?
And then there was the party Jimmy McHugh gave for Eddie Fisher, heralding his opening at the Cocoanut Grove. Debbie Reynolds was there, looking very grown up, Vera-Ellen (a standout in high-necked silk and white lace), Pier Angeli and Anna Maria Alberghetti, Ethel Merman, Danny Thomas, Jane Wyman and the Mickey Rooneys.
Now for the big preem of the month, meaning “The High and the Mighty.” It brought forth the old-time glamour on Hollywood Blvd., with celebs’ galore streaming past the Egyptian theatre’s blazing lights, and massive floral decorations. John Wayne and co-producer Bob Fellows hosted stars for their TV and radio appearances in the foyer. Among the first to arrive was Terry Moore, in a white net, ballerina-length gown, and fluffy white fox stole, on the arm of Robert Stack. Not far behind were Wanda Hendrix with Bob’s brother Jim—who soon after announcing their engagement were married. Also a rather subdued Betty Hutton was with Alan Livingston, Vera-Ellen (in a bouffant pale blue gown sprinkled with star-shaped brilliants) was with Richard Gully; Eva Gabor (who started dating Guy Madison a few days later) was with Bundy Solt. Also glimpsed: Jane Wyman in red taffeta and dark mink stole, June Haver and Fred MacMurray, Pier Angeli with Bob Neal, Hugh Marlowe and K. T. Stevens, the Pat O’Briens, the Ronald Reagans, the David Brians, Joan Bennett and Walter Wanger, Pat Wymore (leaving the next day to join Errol Flynn abroad), Barbara Ruick and Bob Horton, the Louis B. Mayers, Jan Sterling and Paul Douglas, Claire Trevor and Wilton Bren, Shelley Winters with Carlos Thompson (!), Richard Anderson with Jack Warner’s pretty sprig, Barbara, and Susan Cabot with Cliff Brown—and miwyons more!
June Haver’s gown was low-cut, halter-necked white crepe with a tricky all-over beaded design, topped by long white mink stole. There were many other lovely ensembles worth describing but none more charming than that of tiny Pilar Palette, whose dark beauty was set off by pale blue satin, even more flattering to brunettes than to blonds, I’ve always thought. The way John Wayne sopped up Pilar’s “color-scheme” gave people a ringing in their ears. Wedding bells!
—BY EDITH GWYNN
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 1954