A little arm-twisting can sure pay off. Lilly Tartikoff's relentless pursuit of guests to support her Fire and Ice Ball resulted in a celebrity-packed black-tie gala on Tuesday night at the Beverly Hilton that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the new Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program.
Tartikoff was teased (good-naturedly, of course) for her strong-arm tactics in fund raising. The evening honored no one but called attention to the need to support research into breast and ovarian cancer. Besides the money raised from this event, Tartikoff, wife of NBC Entertainment President Brandon Tartikoff, has already secured $2.4 million from Revlon.
Said Dr. Kenneth Shine, dean of the School of Medicine at UCLA: "When philanthropy supports research, the return to us is tenfold in terms of support from the federal government. The multiplier effect is enormous."
Tartikoff thanked Dr. Dennis Slamon, the research program's director, and credited him with saving her husband's life after a recurrence of Hodgkin's disease several years ago.
"Now you'll have the backing you deserve," she said.
She also mentioned actress Gilda Radner, who died last year of ovarian cancer.
"She's been in my thoughts all along," Tartikoff said. "Somehow her fight and struggle will always inspire us."
And she thanked her husband, "who taught me that there are no limitations, and taught me to follow my dreams. And if I've been accused of terrorizing this town, it's his fault."
Jazz pianist and singer Harry Connick Jr. provided the entertainment for about 1,000 guests, along with recent Grammy winner Michael Bolton. Comedian Jay Leno emceed the evening, which drew almost the entire lineup of NBC celebs (after all, who's going to turn down the boss' wife?).
Among them were Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, Ed McMahon and Doc Severinsen, "L.A. Law" stars Susan Dey, Harry Hamlin (who escorted Nicolette Sheridan), Corbin Bernsen (with wife Amanda Pays), Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry and Michelle Greene; "Night Court's" Harry Anderson and Richard Moll; "The Hogan Family's" Sandy Duncan and Edie McClurg; "A Different World's" Dawnn Lewis, Glynn Turman and Debbie Allen (with husband Norm Nixon); "Grand's" John Randolph; "The Golden Girls' " Betty White; Carol Burnett, Ann Jillian, newswoman Maria Shriver (with husband Arnold Schwarzenegger); plus Barry Diller, Tony Thomopoulos and wife Cristina Ferrare, Bob Hope, Pat and Michael York, Candy and Aaron Spelling, Douglas Cramer, Stephen J. Cannell, Wendy and Leonard Goldberg, Steve Garvey, Suzanne de Passe, LeVar Burton, Peter Guber and Jane and Michael Eisner.