Mike Gravel was the guest speaker Monday night at Beverly Hills’ Peninsula hotel for the first of three round table dinner discussions with Democratic hopefuls. Th event was hosted by Phoenix Books publisher Michael Viner and chairman Kenin M.Spivak. Another upcoming dinner is planned with Dennis Kucinich and hopefully the third with Bill Richardson. Gravel’s upcoming book on the media for Phoenix is tentatively titled “The Making Of A Real Liberal” and Kucinich’s autobiography is “The Courage To Survive.” (There is no book deal, as yet, with Richardson). Guests Monday night included Larry FLynt and wife Liz. (He had unsuccessfully campaigned as a Republican presidential hopeful vs. Ronald Reagan).
The candidly informative talk by Gravel was rudely interrupted by Abbe Lane (Mrs. Perry Leff), a former night club singer with then-husband Xavier Cugat, who loudly said, “I wouldn’t vote for you for dog-catcher.” And when it was noted that Gravel served in the Korean War, Lane shouted, “On whose side?” Guests were shocked. As Gravel continued, it was difficult to hear him speak because she continued talking so loudly with husband Leff. Eventually, others at the table asked her to leave. People Magazine’s Frank Swerdlow called her “shameless.” Guest Dominick Dunne, tired of Lane’s tasteless tirade, departed. Lane and Leff finally left and the evening continued in a civil manner. Gravel was also asked if he would be a “Nader Factor” in Democratic ranks during the final election campaign and vote. His answer was vague.