A Fete Honoring Clint, Julio and Bette Davis Turns into a Blast from the Past

updated 01/23/1989 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/23/1989 01:00AM

Today's Hollywood was introduced to yesterday's Hollywood at the American Cinema Awards Foundation dinner—and didn't always quite catch the name. Clint Eastwood, for example, didn't seem to recognize another one of those tall leading men. "Granger is my name," the man said. "Stewart Granger." Eastwood then introduced Granger to Forest Whitaker, the star of Clint's recent Bird, and to Diane Venora, who played Whitaker's lover in the movie. This time, it was Granger's turn to be nonplussed. "Should I know you?" he asked the exotic-looking Venora, whose long, dark hair was caught up in back by two red silk flowers. "No," she replied.

The dinner, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, brought together more than 250 names from A-lists past and present in a fund raiser primarily for the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Calif. (An estimated $150,000 was raised for the home.) The ACAF paid homage to the implausible trio of Eastwood, Bette Davis and Julio Iglesias with lifetime-achievement awards.

"It's great to see all the old faces," said Maureen O'Sullivan, before realizing she might be offending someone. "Well, I consider my own an old face," she hastily added. Those to whom she might have been referring included Ruby Keeler, Virginia Mayo and Eddie Bracken, while the likes of Brooke Shields, Kirk Cameron and Justine Bateman represented the younger generation. "It's a very emotional thing for many of us," said Marsha (Blossoms in the Dust) Hunt. "I've come across fellow players here that I have not seen in half a century. To have what we did so long ago remembered and relished by everyone is quite wonderful."

The assembled Hollywood veterans were treated to film clips from Clint and Bette's glory days ("If we'd known it was the Golden Age, we might have enjoyed it more," quipped Andy Hardy actress Ann Rutherford) as well as a live show highlighted by a chorus line that featured Joan Leslie, Donald O'Connor, June Allyson and George Murphy.

The emotional highlight of the evening came when Kim Carnes sang "Bette Davis Eyes" to the woman who has the originals. As they say in Hollywood, they don't make 'em like that anymore.

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