Those White House crystal ball-gazers who put together state dinner guest lists have done it again.
Tonight's name-in-the-news celebrity at President Reagan's party for Ecuador's President Leon Febres-Cordero is likely to be Pia Lindstrom, daughter of the late Ingrid Bergman, whose biography by former Washington writer Laurence Leamer currently is being excerpted in People magazine.
"I hope it's only a coincidence," Lindstrom said yesterday of the invitation's timing.
Reached in New York at WNBC-TV where she reviews movies and theater, Lindstrom said she hasn't read Leamer's book, "As Time Goes By: The Life of Ingrid Bergman," to be published in March by Harper & Row, though she once talked to him "briefly."
Bergman's love affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini in 1949 scandalized moviegoers in the United States and Europe when she abandoned her husband, Dr. Peter Lindstrom, and then 10-year-old Pia. Indignation was so high that Sen. Edwin C. Johnson of Colorado took the Senate floor to denounce Bergman as "one of the most powerful women on earth today -- I regret to say a powerful influence for evil."
"The experience of having my mother go from being a saint to a tramp in a few days was traumatic," Leamer quotes Pia as saying. "Both my father and I suffered a tremendous sense of loss. The publicity was monstrous. I think she went through the rest of her life carrying a profound guilt."
Lindstrom said yesterday that tonight's dinner is a "first" for her, although she once was invited to another only to get a telegram telling her it was canceled. "I remember thinking, 'What have I done?' and hoping that somehow my name would get on another list," she said.
Others invited tonight include singer Barbara Mandrell, New York Times Executive Editor A.M. Rosenthal, golfer Nancy Lopez, New York City Ballet stars Heather Watts and Peter Martins, David Hasselhoff of TV's "Knight Rider," Susan Howard of TV's "Dallas," jockey Angel Cordero, author Irving Stone and opera star Jessye Norman, who will also entertain later in the East Room.
He was 18 years old at the time, undisputably (even today) the youngest person to receive his U.S. Navy wings. Who better, then, than Vice President George Bush, 61, to kick off the 75th anniversary of naval aviation?
He'll do just that on Jan. 22 when a nearly life-size portrait of him is unveiled at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum to a gathering that's beginning to sound like a Who's Who of Naval Aviation.
Commissioned by the Hearst Corp. through Popular Mechanics magazine, the portrait by Ted Wilbur shows a very young Bush in the cockpit of his TBM Avenger. It was the same plane he was flying in the South Pacific when he was shot down in September 1944.
White House farewells aren't always so chummy, but you couldn't prove it by Nancy Reagan's chief of staff, whose last day on the job is today. After Herself had James S. Rosebush upstairs yesterday afternoon, supposedly to confer about some public service announcements she was taping, Himself had the Rosebush family over to the Oval Office for a photo session.
Meanwhile, in Rosebush's East Wing office, Mrs. Reagan's staff set up a second surprise party just in case he'd been expecting the call from the first lady. "He can't have expected two parties," said Elaine Crispen, Mrs. Reagan's press secretary.
Guests included some former staffers and Rosebush's successor, outgoing Undersecretary of HUD Lee Verstandig, who takes over tomorrow. Among the gifts were a winter scene of the White House, autographed by both Reagans and Rosebush's coworkers, and an engraved sterling silver beaker.
The White House social office takes no responsibility for planning the menu -- Rosebush favorites and pure pigout: pasta, chocolate chip cookies and hot fudge sundaes.
First Dog Rex Reagan romped around the room during Mrs. Reagan's party for Rosebush, but as it turned out he was only putting on a brave front. Today he checks in to a veterinary hospital to have a tonsillectomy, Crispen said.
Despite medication, Rex has been suffering from infected tonsils ever since he moved to the White House last month, Crispen said. She declined to reveal where the surgery would be performed ("That's privileged information between the doctor and patient"), but said Rex is expected to be released and return to the White House Wednesday.
Oil tycoon Armand Hammer is too going to that exclusive dinner Walter and Lee Annenberg are giving for Britain's Prince Charles at their Rancho Mirage, Calif., estate next month.
Hammer, who is probably the other very best friend Charles has in California, wasn't just among the first 40 (out of 150 prominent Americans invited) to respond to the Annenbergs' $25,000-a-couple invitation.
A spokesman called The Post to say that last week's word that Hammer wasn't invited was incorrect, and that he was the first to accept.
Well almost, anyway. "He was one of the first two or three," said Lee Annenberg, who expects the event to raise $1 million dollars for Charles' pet youth leadership project, called "Operation Raleigh."
Hammer and his wife Frances are due at Sunnylands, the Annenbergs' estate, tomorrow for a luncheon. An exhibition of Hammer's art collection, "Five Centuries of Masterpieces" (the same one that goes to the Soviet Union this spring), opens Thursday at the Desert Museum. Lee Annenberg is honorary chairman of festivities celebrating the 10th anniversary of the museum's "new" building.
Hammer's life is a social whirl. On Thursday in Los Angeles, he'll host a World Affairs Council reception for Ecuador's President Leon Febres-Cordero. In the past week, he has crisscrossed the Atlantic to attend the opening of a restored theater in Marseilles, renamed Theatre du Gymnase Armand Hammer in his honor.
Hammer gave 2 million French francs to the project and said he'd be happy to come back when it opened if "La Dame Aux Camelias" by Alexandre Dumas fils was the first play. Explained a spokesman: "Dr. Hammer's father named him Armand after Armand Duval, the hero of the play. Marseilles' mayor, Gaston Deferre, was a driving force in support for his request."
More name-droppings: Britain's Princess Margaret and Princess Michael of Kent, arriving soon on separate visits . . . Este'e Lauder's son, Ronald, now deputy assistant secretary for European and NATO affairs at the Defense Department, slated to succeed Helene von Damm as U.S. ambassador to Austria . . . Ambassador Margaret Heckler off to Dublin at the end of the month, but not before representatives of several dozen women's groups give her a sendoff at a Federal Reserve Board reception on Jan. 23 . . . Richard V. Allen's firm and Burson-Marsteller in a joint venture to handle public affairs and public relations for the Seoul Olympics Committee and the 1988 games.