Lured by a Cause, Hollywood's in Crowd Steps Out in Style and Ends Up Dazzling Even Itself

updated 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

The Hollywood crowd knows a thing or two about parties, certainly, but oilman Marvin Davis and his wife, Barbara, just may have shown them a thing or two more last week. After all, how many Beverly Hills bashes boast two former Presidents (Reagan and Ford) and one former Beatle (McCartney), not to mention Liz Taylor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Sinatra, Jack Nicholson and even boxing champ Evander Holyfield?

All were among the 1,100 guests who anted up $1,000 to $2,500 each at a benefit for the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Dubbed the Carousel of Hope Ball, the black tie-and-diamond gala is an annual Davis fund-raiser (their daughter is a diabetic), but this was its first year in L.A. "Let's face it," joked Marvin, "this is where the money is."

Not to mention the talent. Dudley Moore played piano between dinner courses; Paul Newman donated a spin around the racetrack at the ball's silent auction (minimum bid: $5,000); and an unlikely chorus that included Walter Matthau, Roger Moore and Robert Wagner sang "We Are the World." The event raised a tidy $3 million for the cause, to which the Davises added another $2 million of their own. All of the guests received an estimated $1,000 worth of designer party favors, including a Ferragamo tie and an Ungaro scarf; writer Jackie Collins also got something more. "This could definitely be a scene from one of my novels," she mused. "And probably will be."

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