Howard, Grazer net recognition

The March of Dimes saluted Ron Howard and Brian Grazer Friday night, presenting them with an award for “their outstanding contributions to the motion picture industry.”

About 1,000 members of the entertainment industry, including numerous celebrities and execs, turned out at the Century Plaza Hotel to pay tribute to the Imagine Entertainment co-founders.

Grazer and Howard have turned out such films as “Splash,””Kindergarten Cop, “”Parenthood” and “Backdraft.”

The organization’s Entertainment Industry Salute, established to recognize comedian Jack Benny’s efforts in raising money for the March of Dimes to cure polio, honors outstanding entertainment professionals. Past recipients include Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett and George Burns.

Co-chairs of the event include Wendy Finerman and Mark Canton, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, Robert Daly, Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin, Lynda and Peter Guber, Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Keaton, Cindra and Alan Ladd Jr., Fay and Frank Mancuso, Steve Martin, Patricia Duff and Mike Medavoy, Judy and Michael Ovitz, Margie and Jerry Perenchio, Peggy and Tom Pollock, Sandy and Jack Rapke, Christy Welker andJeff Sagansky and Lorraine and Sid Sheinberg.

The tribute portion of the evening was kicked off by renowned opera singer Beverly Sills, also chairman of the March of Dimes Board of Trustees, who served as the evening’s emcee.

The evening also included video appearances including researcher Dr. Jonas Salk, Woody Harrelson and Kiefer Sutherland (on location for Imagine’s “The Cowboy Way”), Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton.

The event also showcased a new March of Dimes PSA featuring Howard and Grazer as spokesmen for the organization’s new campaign, “Men Have Babies, Too,” which is aimed at the male’s role in childbirth.

Howard and Grazer took the stage to a standing ovation. After Grazer told the audience they were “glad to be the catalyst in helping to raise money for the March of Dimes,” Howard got laughs when he announced that the duo had just bought Paramount Pictures for $ 60,000.

“We cashed in Ron’s video library,” Grazer said. “He has tapes of all of the ‘Andy Griffith’ and ‘Happy Days’ episodes.”

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