Los Angeles film czar Ken Ziffren opted for a pithy speech when he climbed onstage to receive the Tom Mankiewicz Leadership Award Saturday night at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s 44th Annual Beastly Ball.
The veteran entertainment industry attorney and co-founder of the law firm Ziffren Brittenham began by thanking the Wasserman family and the 900 people who turned out on “this beautiful L.A. night to make sure that animals continue to proper.” He very quickly moved on to thank the zoo, graciously accepted his award and rejoined the crowd, which included “NCIS” star Pauley Perette, Betty White and L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti, to name a few.
White was responsible for the single highest live auction bid of the night, raising over $50,000 for a night spent at the zoo with the actress and eight people, exploring the space and animals after hours.
Heather Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes and her husband Blake, who started the company, were also honored. They’ve entered into a partnership with the Los Angeles Zoo to exclusively carry a unique shoe inspired by the mountain gorillas of Virunga National Park, part of Heather’s larger “TOMS Animal Initiatives” program, which has begun to partner with animal-focused organizations to raise money and awareness for specific endangered species around the world.
As guests toured the zoo and the newly created Rainforest of the Americas (the river otters were the night’s crowd pleaser), they snacked on Pink’s Hot Dogs and Georgetown Cupcakes, not to mention a host other food and beverage offerings.
This year also marked the 50th anniversary of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the most comprehensive source of information on the global conservation status of the world’s plant and animal species. Well after 10 p.m., when patrons were deep on the dance floor at last year’s Beastly Ball, this time around, several experts took the stage to explain the importance of this list and its reach.
Of course, dancing then ensued.