Kate Edelman Johnson has always been a "Show Business Baby". Her late father, Louis Edelman produced such series as Make Room for Daddy, The Real McCoy's and The Big Valley, and she is the widow of Deane F. Johnson, the legendary entertainment attorney, who later became President of Warner Communications.
|Leonard Maltin and Phyllis George|
Kate is also a successful producer, and has worked as an entertainment consultant to Hallmark Television and Radio. She currently is producing Cuba and the Night, based on the novel by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Pico Iyer. To top this all off - she sure knows how to throw a party! Since her late husband loved Africa (he was partners with William Holden in Mt. Kenya Safari Club) she invited us to "Melodies and Memories" at the L.A. Zoo.
|Lorenzo Lamas, Kate Edelman Johnson and actor Jason Allan Smith|
We dined in a huge tent set up near the African elephants, adorned with jungle spotted tablecloths, African artifacts and wall hangings. In the background,(mixed with the wails of the animal residents) was a steel band, playing their jungle drums and exotic music. Even the weather was African inspired, as it was probably the hottest day in L.A. history.
|Michael Feinstein and Linda Eder who performed at Greek Theatre|
Edleman hosted the event which supports prevention and cure of Alzheimer's disease. She created the Deane F. Johnson Neurotherapeutics at UCLA in her husband's honor, as he succumbed to the disease in 1999. Among the celebrity guests was former Miss America Phyllis George, whose Mom was a victim of Alzheimer's, and a slew of singers, including Neil Sedaka, John Schneider, George Chakiris (West Side Story) and the sisters of Barbra Streisand (Roslyn Kind) and Liza Minnelli (Lorna Luft). Wonder why so many songsters were in attendance? Well, after the banquet, we all trekked off to the Greek Theatre to hear Michael Feinstein and Linda Eder perform. Eder, who recently released an album "By Myself - The Songs of Judy Garland" has been touring the country with Feinstein, and appears regularly with him at The Regency on Park Avenue in New York.
|Paul Williams and wife Mariana|
We were pleased to be seated with our friend Paul Williams (recipient of an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe Awards) and his bride, Mariana, who told me she has written her second novel. Currently the Evergreen Paul Williams's new show Happy Day is at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, which you can catch until August 13. This Family Musical (words & music by Williams) is directed by Gary Marshall, who also wrote the book.
Restaurateur and Architectural Designer Barbara Lazaroff (Spagos) was recently honored at the Triumph of Spirit Gala benefiting the Aviva Family and Children's Services. This organization provides life saving services to over 1,000 children and their families. Over one million dollars was raised that evening to help provide a safe haven where abused children can heal and grow.
|Barbara Lazaroff with her family at Aviva Event|
Lazaroff was with her entire family, including her Mom, who spoke glowingly about her accomplished daughter. Also lauded that evening were Carolyn Strauss (President HBO Entertainment), philanthropist Susan Casden and actress and recording artist, Raven-Symone. Melissa Manchester performed during dinner and Macy Gray rocked the room as a special desert treat. A most worthwhile event on the Hollywood Beat.