The event: The Anti-Defamation League entertainment industry dinner, honoring power couple Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, who together produced the History Channel's hit series “The Bible” and the movie “Son of God,” with plans for two more miniseries in 2015: “The Dovekeepers” and “A.D.: Behind the Bible.”
The crowd: Kellan Lutz of “The Twilight Saga” was among those attending the May 8 gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. He said he is a lifelong fan of Downey, known for her starring role in “Touched by an Angel.”
Others on hand to show their support were Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation; Jim Gianopulos, chief executive of Fox Filmed Entertainment; Gary Barber, chief executive of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures; Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer; Jeff Probst, host of “Survivor”; Ty Pennington, host of “Extreme Makeover”; TV personalities Brooke Burke and David Charvet; and Sebastian Knapp of “Son of God.”
The program: After noting Burnett’s handsome new beard and calling him “Moses,” host Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” introduced the band Raise, which sang gospel versions of pop tunes. Also on the bill: Jamaican-born Tessanne Chin, Season 5 winner of “The Voice,” and the Tenors, accompanied by composer David Foster.
Katzenberg introduced Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, as a leader in the fight against anti-Semitism, bigotry and discrimination, but not until after heaping accolades on Downey and Burnett for “building bridges of understanding around the globe.”
Foxman next introduced Downey and Burnett, who said, “Abe taught us how to make ‘The Bible’ and ‘Son of God’ totally sensitive, that there would never be any misunderstanding in our work to make anyone feel anti-Semitic at all.” He then turned the podium over to Downey, saying, “As always, as a smart husband, my wife will have the absolute last word.”
“The Bible series and the movie were passion projects for Mark and myself, and very important to us," Downey said. "We wanted to tell them as a story of love, of God’s love for all of us.”
The numbers: More than 500 people attended the dinner, buying tickets from $500 or tables up to $100,000 and raising $1 million for the organization.
Ellen Olivier is founder of Society News LA