It seemed like half of Hollywood turned out at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital mark a milestone.
The facility, which was founded by the late Danny Thomas, celebrated its 40th birthday in grand style with a new generation of friends.
Locals Kelsey Grammer, Cindy Crawford, Lisa Rinna, Harry Hamlin and David Geffen served on the dinner committee, while Terre and Tony of the Thomas clan hosted the black tie bash. Marlo was out of town and missed the event for the first time in 22 years, but hubby Phil Donahue didn’t have any trouble keeping her seat warm.
Jim Carrey zipped past eager autograph seekers during the cocktail hour while Amber Valetta, Shannen Doherty and Daisy Fuentes vamped for the paparazzi. The “West Wing’s” Bradley Whitford was pressed into service, holding his wife’s rhinestone handbag while she posed for pics.
Outside, primetime heartthrob Dylan McDermott stood by Lara Flynn Boyle, who needed a little practice in the art of staying up late. “I’m s-o-o-o- tired,” she sighed, “and I have to get up at five. Do they serve cappuccino in there?”
“Not usually,” I replied, assuring her that, in her case, they’d probably make an exception. If not, rocker Melissa Etheridge would be by later with a little shake and wake.
The gala raised more than $1 million for the hospital, which is recognized as one of the leading centers for the research and treatment of catastrophic childhood diseases. Since 1962, St. Jude’s has provided free treatment to thousands of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Its growth from a modest facility to a world-class institution has been a point of pride for the Thomas kids.
“Forty years ago, those children had been given death sentences,” explained Tony Thomas. “Today they are living healthy, happy lives and having children of their own.”
After putting in an Oscar appearance to praise old pal Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand is getting accolades of her own. The diva’s Streisand Foundation will be honored by the Santa Monica BayKeeper for its ongoing support of local and national environmental issues.
Last year’s Beach Ball bash at David Foster’s place featured an all-star lineup including surprise performances by Cher and Kenny G.
This year, the keepers of the kelp are getting downright historical. They’ll host a turn-of-the-century-style celebration on the grounds of an old Victorian home on Main Street.