There was more than one drama in the house when Mother Dolores (Dolores Hart) was welcomed back to L.A. last Saturday dressed in the Habit of her order of Saint Benedict of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn.
A chic straw hat topped her cowl, her still beautiful face shown as she greeted longtime friends and family in the house that Gary Cooper and wife Rocky built. The hostess for the tea was Dolores’ longtime school hood friend (since 1958), the Coopers’ daughter Maria (Mrs. Byron Janis).
One of the guests was Patricia Neal. When Neal made “The Fountainhead” with Gary Cooper, a love affair ensued. Cooper went back to his wife and died in that house. Neal had never been in the house before last Saturday. She had become close to Dolores at the Abbey.
“It became a refuge for her,” says Maria “and Pat and I have a relationship now too.”
She also spoke at the N.Y. dinner and will also speak at Monday’s dinner at the Beverly Wilshire hotel. It is a fundraiser for the Neuropathy Association. En route to L.A., Mother Dolores stopped in Washington D.C. and appeared before the House subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services pitching funds for neuropathy research. I have been told she was magnificent in her appearance before the Congressmen.
Among those welcoming Mother Dolores at tea, Saturday, was Earl Holliman who said he had dated her. He joined this group in singing around the piano as Marilyn Berglas played show tunes with Mother Dolores chiming in on “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby,” “As Time Goes By” and “Love Me Tender.”
Other guests included Carol Burnett, Paula Prentiss and Dick Benjamin. The house is owned by David Bohnett whose partner Tom Gregory recently made news when he bid and won ownership of shirts won by the costars in “Brokeback Mountain.” His collection of autographed photos by historic stars adorns one entire ceiling-to-floor wall of the spectacular house once owned by Gary Cooper.