Friday, May 30, 2008

George Hamilton's book party

It was a crush of crepey cleavage and vintage Hollywood royalty Thursday night at George Hamilton’s book party at Il Cielo in Beverly Hills. We nibbled on porcini ravioli and tiny lambchops from hand-grown, organically fed micro sheep. We swilled house Chianti and watched as vintage 1980s television superstars paraded, air-kissed and lined up for photo ops.

There was leonine Loni Anderson, newly remarried and glowing behind her majestic cheekbones. She spooned chicly shagged and laid-back Stefanie Powers, who cocked a knee beside Linda Gray, still radiant nearly 20 years post-“Dallas.” Plumped lips curled into super-pro camera smiles all around. New York publishing lackeys watched in awe; this is why it’s good to hold Book Expo America in L.A.: star power, baby.

Suddenly the crowd parted and there was Hamilton himself, radiant in a bespoke suit and his signature 500-watt smile. His hair was shellacked to perfection, his teeth adazzle, skin burnished to the sheen of a fine, old wallet. The man, on the brink of 70, is still a total chick magnet. Women of all ages flocked to him, pulling wee cameras from tiny evening bags and jockeying for a photo, letting their hands linger in his as he smiled down at them.

It was an anticipatory party for his October book, “Don’t Mind If I Do,” an intimate look at behind-the-scenes Hollywood, and if his ghostwriter (William Stadiem) did his job right, it should be a pip. Hamilton was at the "Cleopatra" wrap party where Richard Burton declared his love for Elizabeth Taylor in front of Eddie Fisher; he witnessed one of Judy Garland’s suicide attempts and, apparently, skinny-dipped with JFK (giving new meaning to the phrase “I knew John F. Kennedy and you’re no John F. Kennedy").

“I came on the scene in the '50s, and I didn’t want to be stuck in that plastic era,” Hamilton told me as I tried to stay focused on his words and not be hypnotized by his animal magnetism. “I wanted to write about what really happened.” He was inspired by David Niven’s books “The Moon’s a Balloon” and “Bring on the Empty Horses,” which brought the insider Hollywood memoir to a giddy new level in the 1970s.

There’s hope for similar fun from "Don't Mind If I Do" because Hamilton clearly knows everyone -- and is in on the joke about himself. The promotional goody bag was an assemblage of personalized M&Ms, sunglasses and exotic tanning products. The book's cover photo has him posed in a leopard-skin chair, in ascot, nonchalantly gesturing toward the camera. He has a reality show in the works, also called “Don’t Mind if I Do,” in which he freeloads his way around the world on his charm and good looks without ever having to touch money.

In this new age of the stubbled, rude and tattooed, Hamilton is old guard Hollywood. Back in the 1950s, Hamilton told me, his idols were Rudolph Valentino and the Duke of Windsor. “I was 30 years out of date back then!”

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stefanie Powers Honored

Warren Cowan PR presented a Hollywood Salute to Veterans on Armed Forces Day, as Wayne Newton and Hollywood’s USO Entertainers are honored at the launch of Step Up 4 Vets, a non-profit organization benefiting Veterans. The Peace One Earth Medallion, designed by Step Up 4 Vets founder Patricia Kennedy, was unveiled.

Los Angeles, CA, May 23, 2008 -- The stars came out on Armed Forces Day to attend a benefit promoted by Warren Cowan PR at the Beverly Hills home of Patricia Kennedy, founder of Step Up 4 Vets and the designer of the Peace One Earth Medallion. Wayne Newton received the first Peace One Earth Medallion, and Stefanie Powers and Kate Linder were honored for their years of service to the USO. Brigadier General Michael R..S. Teilman, Executive Director of the USO of the Greater Los Angeles Area, served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. In addition, legendary Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and World War II veteran and actor Hugh O’Brian (who at age 17 was the youngest Drill Sergeant in Marine Corps history) were honored.

The visual highlight was an aviation presentation from The Condor Squad of six vintage World War II planes flying over the home in the lost man formation. Other highlights included speeches from Congressman Bob Tilner, Chairman of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, and Shad Meshad, founder of the National Veterans Foundation.

Special presentations were made to the many Veterans in attendance, including four who recently returned from Iraq: SSgt. Paul McQuigg (Marines), HM1 Aaron Q. Seibert (Navy), HN Phillip A. Mishaga (Navy) and Cameron White. A special presentation was made on behalf of Mark Metherell, the former Navy Seal who was recently killed in Iraq. Accepting for the Metherell family were his parents Alex and Pamela Metherell, sister Alison Metherell, and former Navy Seal and friend of Mark Metherell, Tony Duchi.

Towards the end of the evening, all guests were presented with Peace One Earth Medallions, which were designed by Patricia Kennedy and which will be available to the public via the website. A portion of the proceeds of these medallions, which the public is encouraged to purchase and inscribe to honor Veterans they may wish to recognize, will go towards Step Up 4 Vets (, a non-profit organization aiding returning vets as the readjust, redirect and rebuild their civilian lives.