It was James Cameron's turn to present an award at the Fulfillment Fund's annual gala Nov. 1. The recipient? Jim Gianopulos, co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, whose friendship Cameron called, "one of the great treasures in my life."
Cameron thanked the audience for their support of Gianopulos, as well as for their generous bidding during the evening's auction But he suggested to guests from Fox, "I'd like to point out that you just signed a deal with me to make two 'Avatar' movies. You might want to hang onto that money."
John Stamos as emcee, members of "Glee's" cast to sing, comedian Sinbad as auctioneer and 900 guests at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the charity netted more than $1.5 million to help disadvantaged students achieve a college education.
Gary Gitnick, the charity's founder, called Gianopulos "inspirational" for his talks with the program's youngsters.
Receiving the Gitnick Visionary Award were Chip Rosenbloom and his wife, Kathleen, a 20-year Fulfillment Fund board member. Rosenbloom, his sister, Lucia Rodriguez, and Stanley Kroenke, who came from St. Louis to attend, are owner/partners in the St. Louis Rams.
Hosts Cherna and Gary Gitnick, Melina and Eric Esrailian and Madeleine and Tom Sherak were joined by dinner co-chairs Suzy Amis Cameron and James Cameron, and Jessica Harper and Tom Rothman.
'Rising Stars Gala'
At the same hotel a few days earlier, Tom Bergeron of "Dancing With the Stars" presided over this year's "Rising Stars Gala," bringing along what he called his "dancers van," containing dancers Karina Smirnoff and Louis Van Amstel to perform for the 800 party-goers.
The Oct. 29 benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the Inland Empire honored Anne Sweeney, Ronald Tutor and Mary and Fred Willard. Sweeney, recipient of the Sherry Lansing award, is co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group.
The Walt Disney Man of the Year Award went to Tutor, who — together with other investors — just bought Miramax from Disney. ("Time will tell where it takes me," he said before dinner.) Tutor is chairman and chief executive of Tutor Perini Corp.
When Guild vice president Sarah Purcell asked the audience to help fund more big brothers and big sisters, Tutor volunteered $100,000, bringing net proceeds to more than $550,000.
Sharon Stone had no doubts about her fundraising talents. "My mother tells me I can sell ice to the Eskimos," she said, adding, as a nod to global warming, "and pretty soon, we're going to have to sell ice to the Eskimos."
Together with CAA managing partner Kevin Huvane and fashion designer Kenneth Cole, Stone co-chaired amfAR's "Inspiration Gala," which brought a capacity crowd of 275 to the Chateau Marmont.
Huvane figured he could have sold 100 more tickets to the Oct. 27 event to benefit the American Foundation for AIDS Research. In attendance were pop singer Natasha Bedingfield, actors Adrien Brody, Larry David and Ali Larter, co-sponsors Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared2, plus dinner vice-chairs Andre Balazs, David Bohnett, Tom Gregory, Larry Boland, Stephen Huvane, Dan Jinks, Sean Patterson, Alan Poul, Rich Ross and Tom Whitman. Model Alek Wek said she flew in from New York.
Kylie Minogue introduced Courtney Love, who sang Madonna and Lady Gaga tunes and encouraged guests to "donate lots of money." Sharon Stone also promoted generosity, helping to raise the evening's gross to nearly $400,000, and Dita Von Teese provided a burlesque finale.