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Fergie and Andy Quips Spark Star-Studded Hollywood Dinner

February 29, 1988

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah, prayed with ordinary people in church then played with Hollywood celebrities at a black-tie dinner, where the duchess joked with a male admirer in the audience.

The Duke and Duchess of York ended a diverse day of activities Sunday with the star-studded dinner organized by industrialist Armand Hammer and Arco Petroleum chief Lodwrick Cooke.

Among the 700 guests paying $1,000 apiece to dine with British royalty at the Biltmore Hotel were Zsa Zsa Gabor, her husband Prince Frederick von Anhalt, ″Dynasty″ star Joan Collins, her date George Hamilton, Burt Bacharach and his wife, Carole Bayer Sager, actor Michael York and astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

British actor Roger Moore, the master of ceremonies, joked about the nature of the royals’ trip, quipping that the highlight was today’s visit to a supermarket.

″I couldn’t help but notice the royal couple will be there on double coupon day. And just in case you want to do a little shopping, this one’s for disposal diapers,″ Moore said, holding up a coupon for the couple, whose first child is due this year.

Their fourth day in Southern California was to start today with a visit to two British exhibits at the California Museum of Science and Industry. In the afternoon, attention focuses on promoting British trade.

They were to tour the Bullocks Wilshire clothing department store and visits a Vons supermarket in Arcadia.

For Sunday night’s black-tie event, the duchess arrived in a strapless black evening gown with a shimmery, puffy orange wrap draped around her shoulders.

Allowed to give a few remarks after two lengthy introductions and a short speech by her husband, Sarah drew applause and some cheers when she said: ″At last I have a turn to talk - all these men.″

A man from the audience shouted, ″I love you.″

″I’ll see you later,″ she quipped to more applause and cheers.

Andrew had gotten in his dig a moment earlier when he acknowledged Hammer’s remark that the couple ″could fly duets″ as they are both licensed pilots.

″You mentioned being able to fly duets,″ the prince said. ″It is a little bit difficult because we would be fighting for the controls of the plane.″

Money raised by the dinner benefits the three-month UK-LA ’88 art festival and a fund to salvage books damaged in disastrous 1986 fires at the Los Angeles Central Library. The guests dined on crepinette of salmon and white fish, with champagne chervil.

On behalf of the British library board, Andrew brought a gift, the book Wonders of Creation. Sarah presented the couple’s personal gift, two volumes of the book, ″Royal Heritage,″ bound at Windsor Castle.

On Sunday, the day began on a more common note. The couple attended services at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach.

About 300 people lined the sidewalk across from the church to see the couple.

″We love them, we really do,″ said 48-year-old Myrna Dillon, perched on a stepladder to ctach a glimpse. ″We follow their every move.″

Unknown to the royal retinue, officers sweeping the motorcade route detained a man carrying a .22-caliber rifle.

John Kasser, 30, of Long Beach, had retrieved the unloaded rifle from the police station and was headed to his car when Los Angeles city police officers spotted him, said Long Beach Lt. Rod Mickelson. The gun had been held for safekeeping for several days after officers confiscated it during a domestic dispute, Mickelson said.

Kasser was later freed and allowed to keep his gun, police said.

″There’s absolutely no relation between him and the motorcade,″ Mickelson said.

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