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Regally Blond

October 06, 2002|ANN CONWAY

There were no last-minute regrets from this star. Not only did Reese Witherspoon host a benefit that raised $600,000 for the Rape Treatment Center of Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, she did it with a broken foot and on the weekend her new film, "Sweet Home Alabama," broke box-office records. "It's a testament to her character that she's here," said "Friends" star David Schwimmer as he introduced the winsome actress to 800 guests during the brunch last Sunday at the Beverly Hills estate of Ron Burkle.

As a "mother of a 3-year old girl, recent media attention on the sexual abuse of children has been at the forefront of my mind," Witherspoon told the crowd. "I've asked myself, 'How do people seek treatment?' 'Where do they go?' " She said it has been an "amazing" discovery to learn about the Rape Treatment Center and the Stuart House program for child victims.

Since it was established in 1974, the center has treated 26,000 rape survivors, founder Gail Abarbanel told attendees who included Ryan Phillippe (Witherspoon's husband), Jim Belushi, Corbin Bernsen and Susan Dey. Only recently, patients at the center's Verna Harrah Clinic ranged from a "3-month old baby to an 87-year-old woman," said Abarbanel. "Most [rape victims] go to hospital emergency rooms and wait for hours to get care while the evidence deteriorates." The center is working with local, state and federal agencies to ensure that evidence in rape cases is processed in a timely way. The most prevalent form of rape is called "acquaintance rape," she said. "Eighty-percent of rapes are committed by someone the victims know."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Monday October 07, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 74 words Type of Material: Correction
*"One World, One Child"--A phone number for the "One World, One Child" benefit concert Thursday in Beverly Hills was incorrect in Sunday's Southern California Living. The correct number is (310) 899-9191.

Museum Awards

Surrounded by friends, family members and fellow industry leaders, actor Ted Danson and producer Dick Wolf were honored for their contributions to prime-time entertainment at a benefit that raised $625,000 for the Museum of Television & Radio. "Both have had extraordinary careers. Both are respected for their work," museum president Robert Batscha said as he stood on the red carpet at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Attending with his wife, actress Mary Steenburgen, Danson said he would use the opportunity to "go onstage and thank everybody who has helped me and tell them I love them."

Wolf, creator of such television blockbusters as "Law & Order" and "Crime & Punishment," called being singled out by the museum a "thrill." "The museum has been a part of my life for a long time," he said.

With locations in New York and Beverly Hills, the museum that has preserved more than 110,000 programs is "the only place in the world where the public can come and see historical performances," Batscha said at last Sunday's gala.

The museum's most popular TV show? " 'I Love Lucy,' " he said.

Guests included Dennis Franz, Mariska Hargitay, John Ritter, George Lopez, Catherine Bell, Doris Roberts, Tom Schlamme, Christine Lahti, Larry David and Dennis Weaver.

Gourmet Fests

To cap the 20th anniversary of the American Wine & Food Festival on Sept. 28 at Universal Studios, Wolfgang Puck and his wife, Barbara Lazaroff, hosted a Chef's Grand Tasting Dinner the following day at Spago Beverly Hills. The two events raised $500,000 for the Meals on Wheels programs of Los Angeles.

"We support Meals on Wheels because we always see the people who have enough money and food and we need to take care of those who don't--who can't get out of their homes," said Puck, as he mingled at Spago with 200 guests, including Priscilla Presley, Suzanne Somers and Lionel Ritchie. Among items on the mouth-watering menu: truffle soup prepared by Paul Bocuse, who came from Lyon, France; medallions of veal with mango glaze from Paul Prudhomme; and twice-baked almond croissants with Santa Rose plum ice cream from Nancy Silverton and Kimberly Boyce.

More than 1,500 people attended the festival staged on the back lot of Universal that showcased the specialties of 31 chefs, including New York's Tom Colicchio of Craft and Gramercy Tavern restaurants, Jonathan Waxman of Washington Park, and San Francisco's Michael Mina of Aqua.

"We started this event in the parking lot with four chefs," said a festival spokeswoman. "We've grown because chefs really love this cause."

Romancing the Stone

The ruins of its Great Stone Church lighted for the first time, historic Mission San Juan Capistrano provided the backdrop for a benefit raising $100,000 for its preservation projects. Presented by the Friends of the Mission, the Sept. 27 gala gave guests the chance to view the restored ruins--sometimes referred to as "the American Acropolis"--and dine on a tequila-laced feast in the main courtyard prepared by chefs John Sedlar and Christian Rassinoux. The church was completed in 1806 and devastated by an earthquake in 1812. "We are on holy ground--one of the most beautiful sites in California," said Janet Curci Walsh, co-chairwoman with Cecilia Nott and Ann Raney. Honorary chairpersons were Sandra Segerstrom Daniels, John Daniels, John Dravinski and Nora Webster.

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