White House State Dinner Draws Hollywood-Heavy Invite List

The guest list for the White House state dinner for French President Francois Hollande includes a greater-than-usual number of entertainment industry figures, many of whom have connections to France.

The standout on the list is undoubtedly Stephen Colbert, whose treks to D.C. in the past have usually been infused with a faux seriousness. Others on the list including a mix of donors and supporters, including director J.J. Abrams, HBO’s Richard Plepler, actress Cicely Tyson, Comcast’s David L. Cohen, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tennis Channel’s Ken Solomon and singer Mary J. Blige. Also among the expected attendees: actor Bradley Cooper, Viacom’s Philippe Dauman, producer Ken Ehrlich, actress Mindy Kaling, and CNN’s Jeff Zucker.

Charles Rivkin, the former head of the Jim Henson Co. and WildBrain Media who became U.S. ambassador to France, also is among the guests. He left the post last year to take a new job in the State Department, and that position is still unfilled. It’s likely to go to a non-career appointee, i.e. a major donor or fundraiser, although lately some of the administration’s picks, including two from Los Angeles, have had rough confirmation hearings, to put it mildly.

Also on the list: Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the legal challenge that ended with the Supreme Court striking down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act last summer.

Update: Some color from the event, per a pool report: Abrams said his connection to France is that he spent his junior year of college there. Blige said he last name is French. Kaling said her connection was “my love of French food.”

Colbert didn’t say much when he entered with his wife, Evie. But he and his wife will be at the head table, as will Dauman and his wife. Dauman is, ultimately, Colbert’s boss. Colbert was seated next to First Lady Michelle Obama.

Louis-Dreyfus was seated next to her real-life counterpart, Vice President Joseph Biden.

Update: Mary J. Blige performed, and it was during a gospel rendition of “One” that brought many in the crowd to their feet. One attendee said that at one point, Abrams, Valerie Jarrett, Cooper, Secretary of State John Kerry, Rivkin, David Stern, Louis-Dreyfus and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) were dancing together to the U2 standard.”I came to Washington thinking I was here for serious meetings, and I ended up at a night club with friends,” Hollande quipped, per the attendee.

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