Sold! To the Highest Bidder

updated 11/20/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/20/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

Getting Goofy for Children's Sakes
At a $125-per-head London soiree last March 15 to benefit Fergie's favorite charity, Children in Crisis, the Duchess of York came up on the shorts side of public relations. Emcee Jeremy Beadle, a British TV host, demanded that the 250 guests compete for dinner for two on the Orient Express by standing on their chairs until their numbers were called. At that point, the men, including Ivana Trump's fiancé Riccardo Mazzucchelli, were asked to drop their pants. Fergie "was shocked," said her spokeswoman, "to find herself in a room full of men with their trousers down." Ivana was irked too at what she called Riccardo's "misjudgment to follow a silly prank." But Mazzucchelli waved off criticism, saying, "I'm just very glad I was wearing a double-breasted jacket."

A Blind Date to Benefit Big Brothers
Erlene Levis, a 60-year-old grandmother, thought 18-year-old actor Ryan Francis of NBC's Sisters was so cute that she bought him for $450 last Feb. 9 at a Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles Bachelor Auction. Ryan was one of 37 hunky good sports (including General Hospital's Sean Kanan and Mike Burger from Mike & Maty) who offered themselves for a daylong date to eager bidders. "Ryan seemed so sweet," says Levis. "I didn't know what these gals' expectations were." Levis had no expectations of her own. She passed Ryan along to a 27-year-old friend, Amy Diamond. Chaperoned on March 15 by his mother, Linda, the Beverly Hills High School senior and Amy, a public relations consultant, jetted off for a day of fun in Vegas. The couple played the slots at the MGM Grand, visited the hotel's theme park and dined at Planet Hollywood (pizza for him, grilled ono for her). On the way back to L.A., Ryan fell asleep. His mom drove his date home. Had Amy ever gone out with a boy so young? She laughed. "Not this young."

Flying High at an Auction for AIDS Patients
Talk about sweet deals. Dinner for 30 with Joan Rivers ($6,000) and lunch for two with author Dominick Dunne ($1,100) were among the plums auctioned off Feb. 13 to benefit Manhattan's Bailey House, which provides shelter for AIDS patients. Author Fran Lebowitz helped bid the evening's take up to $285,000. Before the original six-foot-wide wings from the Tony-winning Angels in America were snapped up by antiques dealer Harry Poliner for $3,000, Angels playwright Tony Kushner expressed the hope that the winner had "a very big apartment." Not to worry. Poliner donated the feathery props to New York City's Cornell Medical Center, where they will hang in the hospital's AIDS unit.

Bidding on a Private Fantasy
Stars, do you ever wonder where your old movie costumes end up? It's possible that they're on display in the overstuffed Hollywood apartment of celebrity-photo-shop owner and superfan Charles Moniz. By scouring auctions, he has amassed hundreds of items, including a Judy Garland Wizard of Oz dress (for $10,000) and the suit Bette Midler wore to last year's Emmys ($1,000). A pal who works at the Hollywood Wax Museum made Moniz a lifelike head of Bette Davis for a mannequin; Whatever Happened to Baby Jane costumes are among his favorites. "I've always wanted to get a little closer to the stars," says Moniz, who estimates he has spent $250,000 on celeb mementos. "I don't want to have lunch with them or anything. But it's one step beyond an autograph."

Taking It on the Chin for MS
"There was a man bidding against me, and that made me want it all the more," says Suzan Hughes, wife of multimillionaire Herbalife founder Mark Hughes. At a Vail, Colo., event to benefit multiple sclerosis research on Feb. 11, the 5'2" Hughes, a former Miss Petite U.S.A. and karate student, paid $4,300 for a boxing lesson from onetime middleweight champ Sugar Ray Leonard.

Wearing pillowy 12-oz. gloves in L.A.'s Paolina Boxing Club before their half hour of sweating and sparring, a nervous Hughes asked, "You've given lessons before, right?" Replied Leonard: "All my fights were lessons." Not to be outdone by Leonard's good-natured generosity, the Hugheses raised $30,000 at a fund-raiser for D.A.R.E., a drug-awareness program, by auctioning off a week at their vacation house in Maui.

She's Not Over Exposure
It may have gone to the land of syndication, but Northern Exposure (1990-95) lives on for Marianne Ojurovich. The native of Roslyn, Wash. (where Exposure was filmed), owns a gift shop dedicated to the show, and her home is crowded with Exposure relics. At a July auction of 6,397 items to recoup studio expenses, she and son Stephen, who was an extra in 35 episodes, bought a Welcome to Cicely (the town's screen name) sign, a stained-glass painting from a monastery set and a stuffed mountain-goat head, among other items. "It was filmed in my hometown," says Marianne. "I've got a sense of pride about it." And a long memory. She blames star Rob Morrow, whom she calls "the putz," for sinking the show when he left it for a film career. She hopes for a sequel because "there's nothing else worth watching."

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