Desert Sun, Number 166, 15 February 1982
Nearly 200 top stars shine at benefit show
“Night of 100 Stars”
NEW YORK (AP) Elizabeth Taylor flubbed a line and said Queen Victoria celebrated her diamond jubilee in 1997. Liza Minnelli did “New York, New York” backed by a chorus line of seven New York Yankees. And the likes of Al Pacino, James Caan, Roger Moore, Robert De Niro and former New York Mayor John Lindsay high-kicked and sang with Radio City Music Hall’s famed Rockettes. Sunday’s one-night stand featured one of the greatest casts in show business history, which was assembled for a $2 million benefit for the Actors’ Fund of America. Billed as the “Night of 100 Stars,” featuring nearly 200 celebrities and a 36-piece orchestra, the show lasted five and half hours, and played to a sell-out crowd of 5,882 people who paid from $50 to $1.000 a seat to see the glittering extravaganza at the huge midtown Manhattan theater.
Despite the show’s length the program was taped and will be edited to a three-hour telecast scheduled for an ABC airing March 8 the audience generally remained cheerful during delays between the more than 40 segments in Sunday’s big show. But they occasionally groaned at repeated scenes in which a huge birthday cake commemorating 100 years of the Actors’ Fund was rolled on stage and candles on it were lit as Helen Hayes, Princess Grace and James Earl Jones ticked off major and minor events in each decade.
The audience jumped to its feet, applauding, when an ailing Jimmy Cagney, seated in a chair, was saluted along with other Hollywood superstars from Gene Kelly to Lillian Gish, who joined him on stage. Showcasing the top names of stage, screen, TV and music, “Night of 100 Stars” aimed at raising $2 million for the Actors’ Fund, created in 1882 to help needy members of the entertainment community. President Reagan, a former actor, is to be awarded the fund’s special medal of achievement later. The award last was given to President William Howard Taft in 1910.
GLAMOUR GALS Miss Piggy of the “Muppets” backs up longtime actress Lillian Gish, during finale of the “Night of 100 Stars” gala benefit Sunday night at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.