Thursday’s Millennium Ball did nothing if not span Hollywood’s political/cultural spectrum: a fundraiser for a building named after Ronald Reagan at a medical school named after David Geffen.
Disney topper Bob Iger was honored at the event co-chaired by Par’s Brad Grey and the William Morris Agency’s Jim Wiatt that raised $5 million for the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center at the David Geffen School of Medicine.
Much was made of how the $1 billion I.M. Pei-designed hospital will offer extraordinary medical care in a spacious, airy atmosphere when it opens next year.
“This is going to be the most amazing hospital in the city of L.A.,” said Wiatt before dinner. “This is beyond state of the art.”
“If you’re going to be sick on the Westside,” said Grey, “it might as well be here.”
The ball itself was held in a tent set alongside the new hospital where more than 850 guests including Peter Chernin, Jerry Perenchio, Ron Meyer, Dick Cook, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Anne Sweeney, Jerry Bruckheimer, Mike Medavoy, Eli Broad, Haim Saban and Jim Berkus were seated for the three-course Along Came Mary dinner.
The night was emceed by Jimmy Kimmel who joked that the motivation for industyrites supporting the hospital was “so that none of us have to go to a hospital with a Spanish name.”
Speakers included Grey, Wiatt, UCLA Chancellor Norman Abrams, major donor Lynda Resnick (“I learned I was a hypochondriac before I could spell it”); and med school dean Dr. Gerald Leveywho had an impressively long list of people to thank.
When Kimmel came back he got the night’s best laugh with the line: “Not since Lance Armstrong’s victory at the Tour d’ France has so much been accomplished by one ball.”
Entertainment came with a full-throated, two-song set from Alicia Keys before the presentation of the Mercury award by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to Iger.
In his acceptance, Iger spoke of his mother’s treatment for Alzheimer’s disease at UCLA and how “proud I am of the entertainment industry when it opens its hearts and wallets on an occasion like this.”