The Word of Mouth on Ted Danson's Hawaiian Celeb Bash: It Was a Ball

updated 10/16/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/16/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

What better place to inspire people to save the oceans than the island of Kauai, surrounded by the flowing Pacific tides? And who better to serve the cause than Marlee Matlin, Sonny Bono, Cheryl Ladd and 300 others in the traveling celebrity golf and games tour? Such was the synergy imagined by Cheers's Ted Danson, who used the pleasures of Hawaii to raise consciousness—and cash—for the American Oceans Campaign, a group dedicated to preserving clean and plentiful seas, which he founded in 1987 with his wife, Casey. "Our job is to inspire people so they can make a difference," Danson exhorted, thus kicking off a spirited weekend of golf, tennis, boat racing and all-sport celeb gawking at the Westin Kauai Resort.

On the links, former Chicago Bear and leading rusher Walter Payton continued to break records, nailing the weekend's longest drive of 310 yards. His Brobdingnagian blasts prompted rival Wayne Rogers to sigh to Kris Kristofferson, "Well, we could always go swimming."

The outdoor sports were just a warm-up for the main event, a fund-raising auction of items such as airline tickets and a walk-on role on Cheers. LaToya Jackson tried to go for broke in the bidding on a diamond, emerald and sapphire necklace donated by Harry Winston. Alas, Robert Conrad bagged the bauble for $18,000 (about $500 more than it was worth).

While his guests one-upped each other on and off the playing fields, Danson, who netted about $140,000 for his campaign, remained on the sidelines, explaining, "It would be rude to host an event like this and then win all the awards."

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