Sunday, March 13th was the Professional Dancers’ Society annual fund raising luncheon at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. Several of us drove in from Palm Springs.
My date was Lynne Stuart, Broadway singer and actress, and with her late husband Dick Horner, also a producer. Lynne was in the original Kismet, New Girl In Town and High Spirits. When we arrived we ran into Svetlana McLee (sp? – it’s too much trouble to dig out the original Me & Juliet program to find it!). Then the three of us saw Eddie Weston who we had known in New York when he was in Gus Schirmer’s The Boyfriend at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Later he was the head of the West Coast Actor’s Equity Assoc. Thence, Turk with John Frayer (we were all in the 1960 revival of Showboat). Larri Thomas who was one of the two beautiful blondes who were in everything movie and TV wise in the late “50s and the “60s. Don Chrichton, a stalwart of the Carol Burnett TV show who Lynne and I had both know in the late ’50s in Tabu Revue (Hugh Martin & Timmy Everett).
At our table were Bob Turk and two friends, Kevin Carlisle, Alton Ruff (Randy Doney had a matinee of the Palm Springs Follies), Carl Jablonski. Next table had Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke. Next to them was choreographer Bob Sidney. The table in the other direction had Dom DeLuise, his wife Carol, two sons and some grandchildren and Burt Reynolds. Dom (we worked together in summer stock in the early ’50s) was one of the honorees. The others were Jane Powell with whom I’d danced on a Victor Borge TV Spectacular at NBC in the early ’60s and hadn’t seen since and,posthumously, Janet Leigh and Rita Hayworth. Wonderful film clips of all of them. Dom’s clips had us a hysterical – they were mostly from TV, showing his dancing (?).
Mitzi Gaynor, in a smashing turquoise suit and mucho jewels ,is the current president and was the emcee. She stepped out from behind the podium to show off her suit and jewels “by Howard Hughes”! “I’m the last one” she added. Debbie Reynolds introed Jane Powell and was funny and raunchy both. Said they were both small girls at MGM “because all of the actors were so short”. Said they were both young and dumb and got into romantic problems – “One of hers was a skier, one of mine was a singer!” (Eddie Fisher). She said that Jane had lucked out marrying Dickie Moore, a long happy marriage while she, Debbie, had always “had trouble with Dicks”. (The place fell apart). “Of course, I always marry Jewish ones………I hear there is a large difference!”. Jane finally got on and said she was sorry about Debbie’s problem with Dicks but was even sorrier that she hadn’t got in on some of the jewels!. In between there were two terrific dance numbers featuring young people – one a tap number and the other a sort of Cirque Soleil type adagio. Alan Johnson was one of the producers.
Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner, Burt Reynolds and a screen writer (Silent Movie) did a mini-roast of Dom, who admitted he was rather nervous about the whole afternoon. I also saw (but don’t know) Nanette Fabray, June Haver, Margaret O’Brien and Jane Withers. On the way out ran into Carol Bryon, the other beautiful blonde who often worked tandem with Larri Thomas and who is the widow of Buddy Bryan who is the prince Audrey dances with at the ball in My Fair Lady. Quite a wonderful afternoon. Hundreds in attendance.