‘Best of the Best’ party raises $$ for children’s foundation

Jay Leno, Mary Hart and Bill Curtis, CEO of Robb Report. Hart and Leno auctioned off the "Best of the Best," nine items that had been donated by car and motorcycle manufacturers, resort owners and individuals. Joel Ball / TMT

Nine prizes touted as the “Best of the Best of Los Angeles” sold for big bucks at an auction to benefit the Malibu-based nonprofit Children’s Lifesaving Foundation during a star-spangled event in Santa Monica

By Susan Reines/Special to The Malibu Times

The rich blue-black August night with its nearly full moon was a picture perfect backdrop for the party Saturday night at Santa Monica Airport’s famed Hangar 8, where George W. Bush held a fundraiser a few weeks ago and celebrities are rumored to store their luxury car collections and private helicopters. It was the scene of the Robb Report’s “Best of the Best of Los Angeles” fundraiser to benefit the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation.

The décor was black and white, and the likes of Sylvester Stallone and James Caan entered on a white carpet that was placed on top of a sequined black floor covering. Guests paused to chat at small, black-draped cocktail tables as they meandered past the boggling collection of machinery displayed in the middle of the hangar-from the chunky Rolls-Royce100EX convertible to shining Ducati motorcycles and a pearl-colored 2005 Hummer H2.

Next to a silver Mercedes SRL, a private plane reflected the moonlight. Guests were allowed a glimpse of the designer art, dining table and luxurious seats that graced the inside of the aircraft.

The party was hosted by Bill Curtis, CEO of the Robb Report, the magazine “for the luxury lifestyle” that gives real estate and home décor tips to society’s crème de la crème. Malibu Mayor Pro Tem Andy Stern presented Curtis and his wife, Lisa, with a certificate of appreciation from the city of Malibu to recognize the Curtis’ extensive charity work, and listed the Curtis’ various efforts to help low-income children.

The Curtis’ tradition of giving was furthered as guests bid a total of more than $600,000 in the auction to benefit the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation, a Malibu-based organization that runs enrichment programs for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties’ homeless and at-risk youth. The foundation also runs an “Adopt-a-Family” program that gives homeless families financial help to move into homes.

Talk show host Jay Leno zoomed between the tables of guests on a motorcycle to serve as co-auctioneer with “Entertainment Tonight’s” Mary Hart.

“I sense that I’m not the only one that feels a little guilt when they read the Robb Report and see that they own one or two items in it,” Hart said. “This is our chance to give back, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Hart and Leno auctioned off the “Best of the Best,” nine items presented by car and motorcycle manufacturers, resort owners, and individuals, beginning with the customized “White Diamond” 2005 Hummer H2. The winning bidder, at a price of $80,000, not only drove away with the hulk of steel but also received a trip to the Hummer Driving Academy.

A Ducati ST4-S Sport Touring Motorcycle went for $25,000, and a chance to serve as a Robb Report “Car of the Year” judge alongside its editors at a Napa Valley resort was sold for another $25,000.

Another Napa getaway that featured a dinner, prepared by chef Randy Lewis, with famed winemaker Chris Carpenter, also went for $25,000.

A seven-day stay in a 5,000-square-foot private villa in Los Cabos, Mexico went for $40,000; a two-night stint in “The Mansion” next to the Las Vegas MGM Grand went for $17,500. The Las Vegas package included a one-year membership to Mint Lifestyle private concierge service.

Three days and two nights of either skiing or golf at what is touted as “the world’s only private ski and golf community,” the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana, was auctioned for $35,000.

A two-day excursion for six people to Catalina Island on a Sunseeker yacht garnered a bid of $25,000.

To top it all off, fashion mogul Fred Segal donated $350,000 for a Rolls-Royce Phantom, one of only 1,000 that are built each year.

After Leno gave the “Going once, going twice … sold!” cry for each item, the singer/dancers who provided the night’s entertainment rushed down to the winning bidder’s table, formed a circle, and sang and clapped to the song “Celebrate.”

Maria D’Angelo, founder, president and CEO of the Children’s Lifesaving Foundation, tearfully professed her gratitude. “To see everyone here, all these wonderful stars, I feel like a star myself,” she said. “I’m just so awed tonight by all of you being here. I’m just so grateful.”