The Fire & Ice Ball was a pretty serious party until Bette Midler came out from behind the curtain.

The stellar entertainer, glorying in her current hit status from the movie “The First Wives Club,” sang and joked for a major industry crowd gathered to help raise $3.5 million to benefit the Revlon / UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program.

The sound stage was one of two at Warner Bros. (referred to by Midler as the studio of “Bogie and Cagney, Daffy and Tweety and Sondra Locke”) given over Thursday night to accommodate the sold-out evening chaired by Jane Semel, Lilly Tartikoff, Patricia Duff and Ronald Perelman.

Guests arrived to a movie premiere atmosphere, strolling down a wide red carpet to spend the cocktail hour munching on Spago pizza and wandering in a real fire and ice locale, the set of “Batman and Robin” complete with stalactites and stalagmites and a mammoth dinosaur.

Naturally the heroes, Batman and Robin, were present in the guise of George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell, on this occasion somberly dinner-jacketed like most of the men. The women were much more eye-catching, particularly Vendela Thommessen in a classic Grace Kelly princess-line white gown, Goldie Hawn in one of the saris she bought during her recenttrip to India, and Tartikoff, here with husband Brandon, in sleek silver.

“I’ve stood here for seven years now in almost the same gown, and Brandon says I’ve given almost the same speech,” Lilly Tartikoff said, as she thanked everyone for their support for the fight and assured that “our science is working.”

A short film, “Hope on the Horizon,” narrated by Annette Bening, reflected Tartikoff’s belief: “This is still a frightening issue, but we are dealing with it. There is greater awareness for women’s health now, and this involvement is our ticket to health.”

Semel also stepped briefly to the stage to thank Joel Silver, one of several professional filmmakers involved in making “Hope.” She also thanked the studio honchos, Bob Daly, and her husband, Terry, for “use of the hall.”

The dinner of julienned vegetables, chicken over mashed potatoes and sorbet and fruit was served at tables decorated with bowls of acid yellow orchids. Table-hopping and hobnobbing was rife in an arena where the right word can mean a deal. Among those approaching or being approached were Barbara and Marvin Davis, Quincy Jones, Norman Lear, Barbara Guggenheim and Bert Fields, Marisa O’Neil and newlyweds Jim Carrey and Lauren Holly.

Eventually everyone had to sit still for the speeches and entertainment. The Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company performed, and then on came Midler.

She sang and dished, giving the evening the oomph it needed to be considered in the race for party of the year.

Source: L.A. Times
Author: Bridget Byrne
Date: October 21st, 1996