November 09, 1998 12:00 PM

Good grub. A great cause. And Don Rickles toting a home-electrolysis kit. What more could you ask of a charity gala? “This is like prom night—everybody shows up,” observed Jay Leno, emcee of the ultraswanky Carousel of Hope Ball, held Oct. 23 at L.A.’s Beverly Hilton Hotel to raise money for the Children’s Diabetes Foundation. Besides a jokey raffle that saw Rickles win the latest in home hair-removal devices (and Dustin Hoffman cop a clock adorned with chirping birds), there was heavy-duty socializing among such celebs as Goldie Hawn, Kelsey Grammer and Sylvester Stallone, who helped raise $6.2 million through an auction and donations. Said Grammer: “There is schmoozing oozing from the pores of everyone here.” Though, perhaps, not from Lauren Holly’s. “I spent more time in the shower than normal,” said the actress. “For a night like this, you have to do the whole loofah sponge thing.”

Hosted by billionaire oil and real estate tycoon Marvin Davis and his wife, Barbara (their daughter Dana, 30, has diabetes), the event—held for the 13th time in the last 20 years—drew guests as disparate as rapper Coolio and former President Gerald R. Ford, who paid up to $5,000 a plate to hear Celine Dion croon the Titanic love theme. A total of 1,300 revelers snacked on lobster and lamb chops, fortifying themselves for an auction of artwork (including a Stallone original),-puppies and assorted oddities (such as tap-dance lessons from actor Tony Danza). A pair of Chanel diamond earrings went for $7,100 to actress Jennifer Tilly, already groaning under the weight of gems from Harry Winston. “I’ve passed the $1 million mark in borrowed jewels,” she said.

For suitably dazzled actor Greg Kinnear, being surrounded by such star power was as good as it gets: “Hey, I’m just resisting the temptation to go up with my little autograph book and try and nail some of these people.”

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