Paid to Party

Among Jacobson's stars: Anson Williams; Linda Blair from "The Exorcist, who "won't leave the house for less than $5,000 and that will go up anywhere near Halloween"; Jamie Farr, "Klinger" from "M.A.S.H.," starts at $5,000; and "Leave It to Beaver's" Eddie Haskell ($2,000 to $5,000) and Jerry Mathers ($4,000 to $6,000).

When corporations want to impress their employees, they sometimes pay more than six figures to get the right talent.

"When companies want somebody from a popular show like 'Desperate Housewives,' they'll be dropping like six figures to get talent to come to their party," Gerard said.

"They all want the biggest star to be there," said Mike Esterman, who runs Esterman Entertainment.

"We just had Jeremy Piven do a lady's birthday party at a home in San Francisco, where he brought out the dessert tray. They paid him $50,000 for one hour. I heard that Justin Timberlake did a girl's birthday party overseas for $1.5 million," Esterman said.

And as CEOs' wallets get fatter, their appetites get bigger.

In the late 1990s, a major Swiss-based financial group hired an Elton John impersonator to perform at its Christmas party.

When business improved a few years later, they upped the ante by hiring the real thing.

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