Celebs come to Ted Kennedy’s aid

GOOD MORNING: Showbiz and politix mixed — with Whoopi Goldberg and David Crosby entertaining — at the Monday night party to help erase Sen. Ted Kennedy’s 1994 campaign debt — and also to celebrate his and wife Vicki’s birthdays. Celeb guests and Kennedy supporters included Barbra Streisand, Lauren Bacall, Peter Boyle, Marlo Thomas, Marvin Hamlisch, Dennis Hopper and fiancee Victoria Duffy and Chevy Chase sans wife Jayni. The party was held at N.Y.’s Plaza Hotel Ballroom and hosted by Caroline and John Kennedy Jr. Ted’s sister Pat Kennedy Lawford was there as well as sister Eunice Shriver, Maria Shriver, Joe Kennedy (already talking about running for governor of Mass.), Robin and Christopher Lawford (next seen in “Drunks” directed by Peter Cohn (Sam’s son), and Bobby Kennedy Jr. It’s a preview of the celeb-politico bash upcoming in D.C. in April for the president and vice president. Others at the N.Y. bash that raised between $550,000 and $600,000 were Dirk Ziff, Hazel Bishop CEO Jack Rosen and Marvin Rosen, chairman and co-chairman of the finance committeee for the 1996 re-election of Clinton-Gore, Mathilde Krim, Lew Rudin, John Hess, former Mayor David Dinkins, Donald Trump and Bobby Zarem … Meanwhile, here in L.A. attacks on Hillary Clinton were among subjects discussed at Tuesday’s Wilshire Ebell lunch hosted by New Yorker editor Tina Brown. It was headed “Lunch With Conversation” for 170 leading L.A. ladies in conjunction with the current double issue saluting women. Tina told of the challenges women face and urged all those there to help others up the ladder. Suzanne de Passe intro’d Brown and Wendy Wasserstein moderated as the guests spoke from their tables. Among those on hand: Angela Lansbury, Sherry Lansing, Anne Archer, Lois Chiles, Candy Spelling, Gloria Allred, Jennifer Tilly , Jennifer Jones Simon, Gates McFadden, Rabbi Laura Geller, Dawn Steel, Jane Eisner, Peg Yorkin, Lucie Salhany, Wendy Finerman, Judith Krantz, Martha Coolidge and Julie Delpy. Roseanne was not there. Monday night, the mag’s West Coast editor Caroline Graham dinner-partied Brown with guests here including Anthony Hopkins, Michael Ovitz, Jane Seymour and husband James Keach. Today the New Yorker contingent dittoes the distaff discussion in SanFran.

IT’S NO “DALLAS”— but CBS is going back to Texas for their new, hourlong “The Texas Graces” series. And Richard Crenna, who stars, is not another “John Ewing”– Larry Hagman character, he assures me — although he plays the patriarch. “We’re working people,” Crenna says. Georgann Johnson (“Dr. Quinn”) plays his wife in the WB series. A son, daughter and grandson are to be cast. “I’m an ex-captain on the Austin police force. I have a son who left the N.Y. police force after his wife died and he returns home to us with his 6-year-old son.” Crenna, who has been in radio-TV series since he was 10, says he was attracted back to series by the script of James Duff (“Doing Time on Maple Drive” among his credits). Crenna will be seen March 19 in the CBS telefilm “Searching for Sarah” with Patty Duke … CBS is also going all out to get the proper Dolly Parton half-hour sitcom on the air next season, sez Gail Berman, president of Dolly and Sandy Gallin’s Sandollar banner. She says Les Moonves is determined the new series will be a hit. Gallin and Parton were dining at Dan Tanna’s as she readied a Nashville return. CBS is also determined to get a perennial Easter and Christmas telefilm starring Dolly completed this year. She’d play an angel in the plotted Christmas show. The Easter telefilm, “The High and the Mighty” bears no relation to the John Wayne-l954 Bill Wellman feature … Some of the the Grammy gang will look especially glamorous tonight — Giorgio Armani is dressing many — Mariah Carey, f’rinstance, with six nominations, will change into four Armanis — one, for a spectacular entrance, she performs in another, and wears yet another gown when seated — and (hopefully) to accept. And then, the post-party Armani gown.

EVA GABOR’S JEWELRY — valued at over $500,000 — many of the pieces gifts from Merv Griffin — will be auctioned by Christie’s here at the Peninsula March 21 … Harry Winston on Rodeo Drive exhibits the Napoleon necklace and Marie Antoinette’s earrings from the National Museum of Natural History in a rare loan from the Smithsonian on Thursday and Friday … Ann Miller receives the Women’s Intl. Lifetime Achievement Award on March 9 at the Marriott in San Diego. Ginger Rogers was last year’s recipient, Mother Teresa the previous year … Among those already set to serve homeless Easter Sunday (April 7) at the L.A. Mission: Steve Allen and Jayne Meadows, Shadoe Stevens, Beau Bridges, Jonathan Silverman, Jean Smart … Britain’s Millicent Martin’s back in L.A. after a yearlong U.K. tour in “Noises Off” and “Love, Julie”… Bill Haber, back from his Save the Children trek through ex-Yugoslavia, next visits the Indian Nations children in the U.S. in his new life working for Save the Children. Haber visits friends in L.A. briefly next week.