Tony Blair mingles with celebs at BritWeek

HOLLYWOOD — Former British prime minister Tony Blair mingled with stars and Hollywood studio chiefs during the kickoff dinner for BritWeek April 21 at the BevWilshire.

The event was a benefit for Malaria No More, the group chaired by News Corp. chief operating officer Peter Chernin to eradicate malaria around the world, in part by seeking contributions for $10 mosquito nets that could be sent to areas ravaged by the disease.

Haim and Cheryl Saban said they would match the evening’s take of $500,000, and Ryan Seacrest, who has hosted “American Idol” specials focusing on malaria, appeared onstage and pledged $100,000.

Blair said that because the nets could mean the difference between life and death, the evening “is about a precious, precious gift that we have the power to give.”

Seacrest’s presence inspired Blair to recount his own story of trying to launch a singing career — but he admitted that when he auditioned, “It wasn’t like a Susan Boyle moment.” During one tryout, he got cut off by the producers. “I said, ‘Why do you do that?’ ‘Act of humanity, mate, act of humanity.’ ”

— Ted Johnson

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