Malibu Seen / By Kim Devore

THE WAY HE IS

He’s long preferred scenic Utah to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but Robert Redford made a rare stop in the spotlight to support the USC School of Theatre and pick up a new award that has been established in his honor. The legendary actor and celebrated director was on hand at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to accept the “Robert Redford Award for Engaged Artists” at the school’s inaugural fundraising gala.

The Santa Monica native has more than 60 films to his credit, including unforgettable roles in “The Horse Whisperer,” “Indecent Proposal,” “Out of Africa,” “All the President’s Men,” “The Sting,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “The Way We Were” with Malibu leading lady Barbra Streisand.

The award recognizes artists who have not only made outstanding contributions professionally but who are also committed to social causes and global issues.

“The Robert Redford Award for Engaged Artists honors an individual who increases public awareness of issues that are of vital importance to us all,” said Madeline Puzo, dean of the USC School of Theatre.  “Robert Redford truly embodies all that an Engaged Artist represents.  He is a distinguished actor, an Academy Award-winning director, an ardent conservationist, philanthropist and environmentalist, a man who stands for social responsibility, political involvement and uncompromised creative expression.”

Redford said he was honored to be the inspiration for the new award. “I’m happy to think that the scholarships enabled by this award will benefit a new generation of artists who embrace the role of art in social change and in nurturing national conversations in new ways,” said Redford.  “That this program is associated with such a prestigious school as USC’s School of Theatre, makes it all the more meaningful.”

A host of famous faces and industry heavyweights were among the 500 guests who turned up for the impressive affair including Edward James Olmos, Nancy and Sid Ganis and Steven and Dayna Bochco. The evening’s program opened with a special musical performance featuring USC School of Theatre alumni. Former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences prez Sid Ganis introduced Redford’s film tribute featuring everyone from Meryl Streep to Sally Field and even Madeleine Albright.

Gala guests grooved to the sounds of a jazz quartet as they dined on mesclun greens with Bosc pear and fresh sea bass with haricot verts topped off by a trio of sweet treats.

The evening raised more than $200,000 in scholarship support for the next generation of artists who are committed to a cause as well as their careers.

Got a hot happening or cool event? Send the 411 to kimdevore@malibutimes.com.

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