By Kim Devore/ Entertainment Writer
It seemed like half of Malibu turned up at the Century Plaza for this year’s star-studded Race to Erase MS fundraiser. Kelsey Grammer, Lisa Rinna, Harry Hamlin, John Lovitz, Tony Danza and Suzanne Somers were just a few of the notable names in the crowd.
Grammer played the role of emcee, Rinna and Hamlin took to the runway as supermodels, while Danza got everyone to open their hearts and wallets for a good cause.
Glitzy guests sailed in on the red carpet amid a sea of strobe lights as staffers and security scurried around with clipboards, headsets and cell phones.
Larry King braved the congested reception area with statuesque wife Shawn clearing the way, Aaron Spelling caught up with old pals at the entry, while Daryl Hannah and a gaggle of fabulous friends eyed the silent auction.
Among the more popular items-a colorful collection of jean jackets fashioned by the likes of Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, Ray Romano and Lisa Kudrow. Many were mystified by Grammer’s creation, which had a strange-looking critter that posed the question, “Am I a Pig or a Hippopotamus?” To find out I went straight to the source. “It’s a pig,” Grammer assured me, “but, he’s a little confused.”
Celebrity scribe Jackie Collins passed up the pig and went straight for a Picasso-esque number designed by sculptor Robert Graham. “Oh this is absolutely wonderful,” she said as she plunked down a $700 bid.
This year’s theme was “Dancing in the Streets,” a soulful tribute to the swinging ’60s and the magic of Motown. The psychedelic stage was awash in day-glow colors and animal prints complete with prancing dancers. It was the perfect setting for Tommy Hilfiger’s go-go fashion show-quite the hullabaloo with enough ankle booties, crushed velvet, bell bottom slacks, gold medallions and minis to make Austin Powers weep with envy.
After a gourmet feast, Tom Arnold, Danza and Montel Williams took the stage to preside over the live auction. The tremendous trio raised more than $100,000 in a matter of minutes.
Rocker Rod Stewart was doggone generous shelling out seven grand for a chocolate Lab. Other big-ticket items included a one-on-one basketball game with Laker Rick Fox, a beautiful 7-carat diamond bauble and a dinner party for 50 prepared by Wolfgang Puck.
With David Foster in charge of the entertainment, the lineup was sold gold. Malibu’s music man orchestrated a rousing Motown sing-along: Disco queen Thelma Houston belted out “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” Eric Benet followed with “Love and Happiness” and The Four Tops topped it off with “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch.”
The unforgettable evening is all thanks to Nancy Davis, who has been a dynamic force in the battle against Multiple Sclerosis for more than a decade. She was lauded as a woman who knows there “ain’t no mountain high enough” to get in the way of her cause or a cure, and when a cure comes, “there will be dancing in the streets.”