A Surprise Ending

“The Lord has the last laugh,” Mother Dolores (Dolores Hart) broke up the audience in tribute to her at the Beverly Wilshire Monday night.

She had completed her remarks which were to have been the anticipated and expected closing to a program filed with nostalgia and unmatchable memories — from movie star to Mother Superior.

But then father Robert B. Lawton, President of Loyola Marymount University and Albert Koppes, Vice Chancellor appeared on stage to present her with an honorary Doctorate. She was dumbfounded, reminding how when she was a student at Marymount she was told she was a failure. That’s when she laughingly announced, “The Lord has the last laugh.”

The evening was a fundraiser for the Neuropathy Association; Mother Dolores is one of the 20 million in America suffering from the disease. At one time she was unable to walk. A donation was made to Dr. King Engel of USC for Neuropathy research.

The evening was upbeat as friends from Mother Dolores’ (Dolores Hart’s) movie past spoke glowingly about her. They included: Mariette Hartley and Brad Dillman, Sheila McGuire, Paula Prentiss, Richard Benjamin. Lois Nettleton, A.J.Carothers, Carol Burnett, Earl Holliman, They reminisced about her movies including “King Creole,” “Loving You,” “Francis of Assisi,” to her last film, “Come Fly With Me” with Karl Malden (with whom she had dinner Tuesday night). Among others at the Monday night fundraiser were Bob Rehme, longtime friend and chronicler Dick Deneut, Don Robinson to whom Dolores was engaged to marry when she changed her life and entered the Abbey. He has often visited her there. Monday night’s program also included Patricia Neal reading from Helen Keller and western songs sung by Ty Herndon.

Tuesday, Mother Dolores drove to Palm Springs to visit Dolores Hope. On Wednesday morning, she winged back to the Abbey in Bethlehem, Conn. where she still reads Daily Variety — “wrapped in brown paper.”

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