The death last week of JFK confidant Ted Sorensen stirred up memories for L.A.’s Carl Terzian – and thoughts of what might have been.

Here’s the story: Back in 1957 when he was president of the student body at USC, Terzian appeared on Groucho Marx’s “You Bet Your Life” quiz show. Marx asked the articulate young Terzian if he if planned to go into public life. Terzian thought for a moment and said he wasn’t sure, but he aspired to be a good citizen, as we all should.

Soon thereafter, Sorensen showed up at USC and visited Terzian. He explained that his boss, a young senator named John F. Kennedy, wanted to meet him because he was impressed by Terzian’s TV appearance. At that meeting, Kennedy pressed him to serve on his staff. Sorensen – whom Terzian remembers as brilliant and gracious – made some follow-up entreaties.

A few years later, of course, Kennedy became president. So if Terzian had chosen to join the Democrat’s staff, he could have worked in the White House and – who knows? – may have gone on to become a Washington operative, perhaps even a political figure.

“Life would have been much different,” said Terzian, now 75, who has headed his eponymous PR firm for 41 years.

So, why did he decline Kennedy’s offer? Well, there was graduate school to attend, and “I wasn’t much of a risk-taker back then,” he said.

One more consideration: Even as a student, Terzian was a Republican.

A Taste of Italy

Hollywood celebrities and executives stepped out two weeks ago to celebrate the opening of Scarpetta at Montage Beverly Hills.

The debut of the Italian eatery by celebrity chef and restaurateur Scott Conant drew about 400, including numerous entertainment executives and agents; entrepreneur Sam Nazarian; attorney Robert Shapiro; restaurant critic Sophie Gayot; and actors Jason Lewis, Molly Sims and Marla Maples.

Guests sipped Scarpetta’s signature cocktail, the San Remo, while nibbling on platters of Italian-inspired vegetable salads, tomato and basil spaghetti, and hand-carved meats.

During the evening, Alan Fuerstman, chief executive of Montage Hotels & Resorts, was spotted chatting with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Meanwhile, Hermann Elger, who recently joined the Montage Beverly Hills as general manager, mingled with guests who packed the restaurant’s main dining room; bar; courtyard; and open kitchen, which features a 12-person chef’s table.

Stamp of Approval

Michael Levine wants to see his late friend and former client Charlton Heston on a postage stamp.

The founder of show biz PR firm Levine Communications Office has launched an online petition that he plans to present to the Citizen Stamp Advisory Commission. The petition requests that Heston, the actor in “The Ten Commandments,” be featured on a future U.S. stamp.

When Heston died in 2008, Levine told media outlets that “if Hollywood had a Mount Rushmore, his face would be on it.” That started Levine to think of ways to honor Heston, which led to the stamp option. Levine kicked off the campaign Oct. 4, which would have been Heston’s 87th birthday.

Levine, 56, was the actor’s publicist for more than 20 years.

“I have represented 58 Academy Award winners and hundreds of celebrities, but he was the first,” Levine recalled. “There was a camaraderie with him. There was an emotional connection I still feel.”

Levine said the online petition has received a good response, especially after Bill O’Reilly, another former Levine client, talked about it on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.” A person must be dead at least four years before appearing on a stamp, so Levine plans to keep promoting Heston until at least 2012.

Staff reporters Alexa Hyland and Joel Russell contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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