Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Social Circuits

Ella Award

June 09, 2002|Patt Diroll; Ann Conway

Placido Domingo didn't have to sing a note at the Society of Singers' 11th annual Ella Awards Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. As guest of honor, he was in front of the footlights as singers from every musical genre paid tribute to the tenor's stellar career.

The award, named for Ella Fitzgerald, its first recipient in 1989, recognizes an artist whose achievements in the music world are matched by dedication to community and humanitarian causes. Domingo, who serves as artistic director of both the L.A. and Washington, D.C., operas, is the first opera singer to be so honored. Past awardees have included Julie Andrews, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra.

Domingo, whose past laurels include Kennedy Center Honors and the French Legion of Honor, described this one as personally significant "because so many talented singers have not been as lucky in their lives as I have. They have given so much; then their circumstances change and in the end they have so little. It is a beautiful thing to help them."

The event raised $500,000 for the Society of Singers, which has provided scholarships and aid for needy professional singers since its founding by Ginny Mancini in 1984. Among those who have benefited is basso James Butler, who has been aided since suffering two strokes two years ago. Butler, who came from New York to perform at the event, is now studying to become a signer for the deaf.

Others offering musical tributes included Patti Austin, Kristin Chenoweth, Nnenna Freelon, Rodney Gilfry, Julia Migenes, New York police officer Daniel Rodriguez and the Society of Singers choir, which backed the stars on "It's a Grand Night for Singing," the evening's finale. Emcees for the May 30 event were Florence Henderson and Garry Marshall; Mancini, Jeanne Hazard and Marc R. Staenberg co-chaired the event.

--Patt Diroll

*

L.A. Alive

More than 600 guests turned out for "L.A. Alive," a black-tie dinner and auction that netted $1.3 million for the Music Center's Fund for the Performing Arts. This year's extravaganza was staged June 1 in an enormous tent at the home of Anne and Geoff Palmer, a historic Beverly Hills estate built in 1913.

Joy Fein, Carolyn Miller and Carol Weller chaired the gala committee, which planned the biennial fund-raiser. Wallis Annenberg and Charles Miller served as honorary chairmen.

Fein and her crew have fine-tuned the silent auction over the years. "We take pride in our quality," said Fein. "And sometimes it requires diplomacy." If Aunt Beulah offers her hand-crocheted antimacassars, Fein and her clever crew will package them with something else that is very appealing. "We would never hurt anyone's feelings," she said.

Andrea Van de Kamp, chairman of the Music Center, emceed the evening, which featured a dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck and a live auction conducted by Sotheby's Richard Wolf.

Three couples were honored for their contributions to the Music Center: Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin, Mary and Norman Pattiz, and Maria Hummer and Bob Tuttle.

Among those in the crowd: Joanna and Sydney Poitier, Nancy and Richard Riordan, Alice Huang and David Baltimore, Lonnie Anderson, Evelyn and Mo Ostin, Ariana Huffington, Judith and Steven Krantz, Jane and Robert Pisano, Lili and Richard Zanuck, C.Y. Lee, Janis and Howard Berman, Edye and Eli Broad, Ginny and John Cushman, and Alyce Williamson--who had the winning bid on Shaquille O'Neal's autographed Laker jersey, which she wore home.

--P.D.

*

Tony Awards West

"Wow, wow, wow, fellas. Look at the old girl now, fellas," ever-avuncular Walter Cronkite said in a line stolen from "Hello, Dolly!" as he presented the Julie Harris Lifetime Achievement Award to his longtime friend Carol Channing. The award was presented on behalf of the Hollywood theatrical community at last Sunday's West Coast Tony Awards party. More than 300 attended the sixth annual event, which raised $100,000 to benefit Aid for AIDS and the Actors' Fund of America. This year's dinner and live telecast was staged at the Jim Henson Studios in Hollywood, not far from the Las Palmas Theater, where Channing first bloomed as the "gladiola girl" in "Lend an Ear" in 1945.

Surrounded by old friends (including Cynthia Corley and Al Checco, her co-stars in "Lend an Ear"; Jerry Herman, composer of "Hello, Dolly!"; and event emcee Jo Anne Worley--Channing's onetime standby as Dolly), Channing, 82, said: "I'm the happiest person in the world tonight. Four years ago, I received the Tony for lifetime achievement, but this award means more to me than anything because this is where my career began."

Event co-chairs were Ted Abenheim, J. Alexander Strautman and David Westberg. Also in the crowd: David Michaels, Gretchen Wyler, Karen Morrow, David Huddleston, Katherine and Fayard Nicholas, Bruce Vilanch, Keene Curtis, Betty Weston, Dale Olson, Ariane Shovers, Jomarie Ward, Henry Polic, Kevin Spirtas, Stuart Damon, Jason Graae and designers Jerry Skeels and Randy McLaughlin.

--P.D.

*

Art of Dining

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|