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Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas receive Courage Award at annual celebrity event that raises $1.5 million for cancer research.

April 04, 2001|PATT DIROLL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A surprise finish that brought the audience to its feet--Robert Downey Jr. harmonizing with Sting on "Every Breath You Take"--capped off last week's stars-at-every-turn event that raised $1.5 million to fight cancer.

Held just two days after the Academy Awards, the stars donned red-carpet glitz again for the black-tie event to benefit the Women's Cancers Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

At its fifth annual "An Unforgettable Evening," the center presented its Courage Award to Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. Past honorees have been Anne Douglas, Rita Wilson, Rosie O'Donnell and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"One must wonder why we were selected," said Michael Douglas. "At first we were reluctant, but Anne [Douglas] asked us to accept this award on behalf of all families who must deal with cancer. Both my own mother, Diana, and my stepmother, Anne, are cancer survivors, thanks to early diagnosis. Also, we all know what happens when you don't listen to Anne . . . just ask my father. That's why we share this award with every family that has supported a loved one through this terrible disease."

Underwritten by Saks Fifth Avenue since its inception, the annual fund-raiser for the Women's Cancers Institute has already raised $7 million for breast and ovarian cancer research, said Anne Douglas.

Jay Leno emceed the program at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

A special "Unforgettable" award was given to Natalie Cole; Cedars-Sinai staffers Dr. Lawrence Platt and Dr. Beth Karlan made the presentation. Cole was honored for her work on behalf of the Nat King Cole Award, established in 1996 and given in recognition of commitment to women's health issues.

This year's Cole award went to Saks Fifth Avenue for its involvement in "Fashion Targets Breast Cancer," the annual nationwide shopping weekend that has raised more than $5 million in the last three years.

Kelly Chapman Meyer and Jamie Tisch co-chaired the event; Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, along with Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, were honorary co-chairs. Anne Douglas, Marion Laurie, Sandra Krause, Renette Ezralow and Margie Peterson co-chaired the executive committee.

Spotted in the crowd were Janet and Wayne Gretzky, Denise Rich, Trudie Styler, Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Flavin, Kirk Douglas, Shawn and Larry King, Tom Arnold, Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin, Jeri Ryan, Rosemary and Robert Stack and Constance and former ambassador John Gavin.

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The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising presented its Advanced Fashion Design and Theatre Costume graduates at its L.A. Fashion Gala staged at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Along with showcasing the debut collections of future trend-setters, the pre-Oscar event traditionally features costumes from the year's Academy Award-nominated films. Among the nominees in attendance for costume design were Tim Yip for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," Jacqueline West for "Quills" and Janty Yates, who won an Oscar for "Gladiator."

Broadcaster Johnny Grant, who says he'll be off on another USO tour to the Balkans in May and to Korea in July, emceed the March 23 event, which raised money for scholarships.

Coming Up

* Hearts on Track for Kids IV, an event sponsored by Para Los Ninos and KTLA Charities, takes place Friday at Staples Center. The honorees will be Henry Cisneros and, posthumously, Julian Dixon. Tickets are $250. Call (213) 623-8446.

* Los Angeles artist Robert Jensen will be the honoree at the National Arts Assn.'s annual gala, "April in Paris," on Saturday at the Bel-Air Country Club. Tickets are $225. Call (310) 858-3071.

* John Lithgow will emcee the Music Center's 13th annual Spotlight Awards and Gala on April 17 in Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Gala tickets are $250. Call (213) 202-2246.

* Arthur C. Bartner, director of the USC Marching Band, will be guest of honor April 17 when Town and Gown of USC hosts its annual spring scholarship luncheon featuring spring fashions by David Hayes. Tickets are $85. Call (818) 886-9289.

* The 10th annual HELP Fore Children golf classic and dinner will be April 17 at Simi Valley's Lost Canyons Golf Club. Cost per player is $500; awards dinner tickets are $50. Call (818) 779-5212.

* The Los Angeles Women's Foundation will honor Willie Grace Campbell of the African Development Foundation; Dorothy M. Tucker, psychologist and president, National Conference of Bar Foundations; and Eugene R. Wilson of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation at its annual Mentor Awards Luncheon on April 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Tickets are $150. Call (310) 855-9233.

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Patt Diroll's column is published Wednesday. She can be reached at pattdiroll@earthlink.net.

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