At final tally there was a surplus of 75 stars at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall for the third Night of 100 Stars, a benefit for the Actors’ Fund of America. But one of the 175 stars shone in particular. Knots Landings Joan Van Ark—hold your horses, she’s not the one!—was awestruck: “All of us are ready to go on, and there’s Katharine Hepburn, center stage, sitting there,” said Van Ark. “That’s a rush—that little piece of real estate.”
Hepburn and two other pieces of real estate, Helen Hayes and Jimmy Stewart, were chairpersons of the celebrity variety extravaganza, which raised $750,000 for the organization that runs a retirement home, an AIDS support program and other projects to assist performers.
The show, taped to air as an NBC special on May 21, featured Kid ‘n Play rapping, Brooke Shields modeling and Henny Youngman stand-upping. At the 1985 Night of 100 Stars, which Pia Zadora did not attend, Steve Allen remarked that “if a bomb fell on this place, it would be a big break for Pia Zadora.” This year invitee Pia dedicated a song to Allen.
Rue McClanahan, who spent most of the evening huddled with her fellow Golden Girls (all golden-dressed), offered a more seasoned assessment: “Nobody fell down. Nobody ripped her dress. No drunk-and-disorderlies. The audience didn’t get up as a body and leave. All went well, I think.”