GOOD MORNING: The last post-Oscar party was held at noon Tuesday — at Junior’s Deli on Westwood Blvd. These principals of the show were applauded as they arrived and owner Marvin Saul presented ’em with a special Oscar cake: Gil Cates, Mike Seligman, Louis J. Horvitz, Danette Herman, Roy Christopher and Bill Conti. They retold stories, funny and otherwise, of Monday night’s festivities. And, of course, the Barbra Streisand saga. As we know, she finally did attend with Jim Brolin; she could not have been more gracious as she came up to my Oscar platform, then they continued down the long line of press for 35 minutes. Although I constantly announced warnings of door closings, she arrived at the Shrine’s door at 6:02 and could not enter the auditorium until the first commercial break — after Billy Crystal’s hilarious opening, etc. Later, when Celine Dion was singing Streisand’s nominated tune “I Finally Found Someone,” Streisand was in the ladies’ room. Cameras had been poised to capture Barbra’s reaction at the finale when Celine was to blow a kiss to Streisand. During the next commercial break, Barbra made her way over to Dion to thank her. When Barbra had been announced as a no-show, best song presenters Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler had agreed that, should her song win, the three would fight over her Oscar! The whole Streisand-Cole-Dion saga could have easily been avoided if Barbra had agreed, at the outset when nominations were announced, to sing the song. But, then we would have missed hearing Celine’s beautiful rendition duetted with Arturo Sandoval. And what would we have had to write about? After Billy Crystal’s successful return as m.c., the obvious question: would he do it again? “Don’t ask me,” he told Cates at the Governors Ball. Cates , meanwhile, puts on another of his hats today as dean of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & TV as he presents its budget for the upcoming year. Although he leaves at the end of the summer, Cates plans to remain on the faculty — “hopefully forever.”
PRESIDENT CLINTON WAS WATCHING the Oscars and rooting for fellow Arkansan Billy Bob Thornton. The latter was wearing a royal blue ribbon on his tux to remind people to contribute to relief for tornado victims in his native town of Arkadelphia and others in the Southeast tornado and Ohio River flood areas. Another native, Harry Thomason, had spent the weekend in Arkadelphia with Disney architects to rebuild the town (pop. 12,000) in which the main street and 72 blocks were destroyed by the Force 4 (265 mph) winds. CBS-Radford Studio is loaning a stage this week where pictures will be computerized to blueprint the rebuilding. … There was a different kind of award party Saturday at Paramount Studios: the Class Act Award of 1997. It was given to Ginny Mancini by the Friends of the School Volunteer Programs of the L.A. Unified School District. Over $ 100,000 was raised with Par and Wells Fargo’s hefty support. The festivities followed a tented dinner outside the new Par theater where Ray Charles and Jeanne Hazard produced the tribute show to Mancini. Lee Hale produced a video chronicling her lifetime career and contributions. Bill Conti had even taken time away from Oscar duties to open the show, which included femcee (and singer!) Bea Arthur, Tony Martin, Monica Mancini, the new Mel-Tones, John Byner, Robert Clary, the John Rodby Trio, plus terrif youngsters from the Crenshaw High School Elite Choir and Multi-School Jazz Band. They were an inspiration. Dolores and Jerry Nemiro chaired. Par’s Earl Lestz explained how the mentoring program helps young people — Par has 123 employees who have become mentors in the L.A. public schools — and all studios should follow suit.
OSCAR NIGHT FOUND OLD FRIENDS returning to L.A. and one of ’em, Denise Hale, was guest of honor at an exquisite dinner party given by Rosemarie and Bob Stack in their Bel-Air home. Stack, an Oscar nominee for the 1956 “Written on the Wind,” exchanged stories with longtime friends about the “halcyon days” in Hollywood when superstars didn’t hesitate to appear — and perform — on the Oscar show. Like a duet between Rock Hudson and Mae West or another by Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. … Kirk and wife Anne were among guests at a final toasting, given by Ginny Mancini at her penthouse, for the late Ronnie Cowan. Warm toasts were given by friend Larry Gelbart, George Schlatter, Norman Jewison and Ronnie’s two ex-husbands, Douglas Dick and Warren Cowan A new addition to Rodeo Drive glamour tonight: Lladro opens its crystal and brass doors with a black-tie gala benefiting (a hefty contribution) the Samuel Goldwyn Children’s Center at the MPTV Fund. The party includes a BevWilshire Hotel gala dinner, with Rodeo Drive closed for the fleet of limos. The three founding Lladro brothers have chartered a 747 to bring family, friends , dignitaries from their home in Spain for the opening.