By Tina Daunt, Times Staff Writer
October 13, 2006
Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong mingled with former diplomat Joseph
C. Wilson IV and his wife, outed CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Comedian George Lopez tried to rouse support for gubernatorial
candidate Phil Angelides. (Not an easy task these days among some
members of the celebrity set.)
And former president Bill Clinton came to town to raise money for
There's been so much going on in Hollywood this week, you needed
that cloning doctor from "Multiplicity" to keep up with it all —
salons, charity balls, award banquets, political fund-raisers, book
signings (Arianna Huffington's) and exclusive dinner parties where
politics is the main topic of discussion.
"It's fall," said actress Samantha Mathis, who hosted a salon at
Creative Artists Agency on Wednesday evening to raise awareness
about the serial murders in Guatemala, where 2,200 women have been
killed since 2001.
"This is the time when people in Hollywood get dressed up and come
out," she said.
On Saturday, more than a thousand people gathered at the Beverly
Hilton Hotel for the second Noche de Ninos Gala to benefit Childrens
Hospital Los Angeles. The event was started in 2004, under the
stewardship of media mogul Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, who have
pledged more than $40 million to the hospital in recent years. Now,
Noche de Ninos is considered one of the city's most exclusive
fund-raisers, where there's a waiting list of people willing to pay
$10,000 for admission.
Over a matter of a few hours, the Sabans — along with DreamWorks
co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and TV personality Giselle Fernandez-Farrand
— raised more than $4.5 million for the hospital, where seriously
ill children receive care from some of the country's best doctors
regardless of their families' ability to pay.
Actor Johnny Depp, McDonald's Corp. chief operations officer Ralph
Alvarez and Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and his wife,
Debbie, each received the "Courage to Care" award for their
commitment to children and children's charities.
Actress Jennifer Lopez, who was recognized last year for her efforts
at the hospital, was there to present the award to Depp. "His
commitment to children really sets him apart," Lopez said. Depp, who
rarely makes public appearances, said he was "thankful and so
touched" to receive the award.
Access Hollywood's Billy Bush hosted the evening's festivities,
actor Ray Romano performed stand-up comedy and comedian Billy
Crystal hosted the evening's live auction. (Crystal opened the
action by offering to sell his valet parking ticket. Haim Saban
offered $50,000. Crystal joked: "I'll throw in the car," a Ford
On Monday evening, director Paul Mazursky held a small dinner party
at his Beverly Hills home to discuss the state of the world with
Amnesty International USA's new director, Larry Cox.
"This is an incredibly important time in the fight for human rights
around the world," Cox told the group, which included actor Leonard
Nimoy, Mathis and Bonnie Abaunza, director of Artists for Amnesty.
"The idea of human rights has come under attack like I've never seen
before. And never would I have anticipated that the attack would
come from our own government. Secret detentions without access to
courts. Subjected to all techniques and means of torture.
"Our task at the moment is to turn the country back," Cox said.
The issue of human rights was also a big topic of discussion on
Tuesday evening at the People for the American Way's awards dinner
at the Beverly Hilton.
The event served a dual purpose: to commemorate the organization
that was started 25 years ago by television producer Norman Lear and
to encourage Hollywood activists to stay involved in efforts to keep
religious extremism out of government. "It is both a high calling
and a profound responsibility to defend society in which we are
privileged to live," Lear said.
George Lopez hosted the gala, attended by director Rob Reiner,
Warner Bros. Entertainment head Alan Horn, political blogger
Huffington (who has been traveling the country promoting her book,
"On Becoming Fearless … in Love, Work and Life), "The West Wing" and
"Studio 60" creator Aaron Sorkin, former Motion Picture Assn. of
America head Jack Valenti and Angelides (whose candidacy has divided
people in Hollywood. A number of the industry's Democratic
heavyweights, including Saban and Horn, have come out in favor of
Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.).
Joseph Wilson gave the keynote address. "Our rights, privileges and
responsibilities, enshrined in the constitution, are today all too
often taken for granted by a docile citizenry or worse, undermined
by a cynical political class in the name of security but, in fact,
for the sake of power," he said, as wife Plame listened.
"We should never forget the prophetic words of Benjamin Franklin:
'They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety deserve neither.' "
The group honored the work of "The West Wing" and "Studio 60"
producer Thomas Schlamme, his actress wife Christine Lahti, MPAA
president Dan Glickman and the band Green Day. Lead singer Armstrong
strode to the podium with his two bandmates to accept the award.
"My gut reaction was always to lash out in anger ... under the
current president and the corporate blowhards he calls his
administration," Armstrong said. "Then I decided to wake … up."
After the band left the stage, George Lopez closed the event. He
mimicked: "OK, everyone, have a nice … evening."