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Champion of cause

Dinner raises money to fight MS

HOLLYWOOD — The $3.25 million raised last week at the MS Dinner of Champions was bankable proof that industryites had been touched — or perhaps more accurately, had the touch put on them — by fundraising force-of-nature Tom Sherak.

Honoree Jim Gianopulos said his involvement with the cause came through two Sheraks: dinner chair Tom Sherak and his daughter Melissa (who has MS). “You’re touched by her courage and his passion,” the Fox co-topper said. “And you show up.”

Warren Beatty said he came because Sherak is “an honest, modest, unassuming man who understands responsibility.” Past honoree Bill Mechanic said, “Tom’s a great citizen of the film world. He’s a great exec but an even better person.”

Emceed by Byron Allen, the dinner Sept. 10 featured strong perfs from the Bangles and Reba McEntire; speeches from Rep. Henry Waxman (his remarks being a tad too long and too Republican-bashing for the aud); Olympic skiing medalist Jimmie Heuga, Billy Kidd, co-chairs Arthur and Britta Schramm, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, California first lady Sharon Davis and Fox exec/L.A. MS chapter prexy Bob Harper.

High points came from Fox-co-topper Tom Rothman, who had a wry way with the microphone, and a clever video in which Gianopulos’ mother stole the show from such luminaries as Mel Gibson, George Lucas and Nicole Kidman.

Among the 1,400 dining were Joe Roth, Annette Bening, Michael Mann, Adam Sandler, David Hasselhoff, Vin Scully, Stu Nahan, Dean Devlin, Colin Callender, Dick Cook, Kevin Spacey, Lou Pitt, Bill and Tamara Pullman, Bob Rehme, Jay Roach, Doug MacLaren, Nick Reed and Brad Ball.

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