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Picture Pioneers fete Paramount’s Lansing

The Motion Picture Pioneers circled the wagons Wednesday night at the Century Plaza hotel to honor Sherry Lansing as the charitable organization’s first female Pioneer of the Year.

“Mother” director Albert Brooks kicked off the 58th annual Motion Picture Pioneers Dinner, joking that he had responded to the request to speak at the event with a heartfelt, “Will it affect the release of my movie?'”

Tony Bennett – whom Lansing described as her favorite singer – swung lightly through a half-hour of jazz and pop standards backed by his trio. He concluded the set by serenading Lansing with a microphone-less version of “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Other presenters included Sharon Stone, Harrison Ford and Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, who paid homage to Lansing’s career at Paramount from 1987’s “Fatal Attraction” – which she produced – to this year’s “Mission: Impossible” – which she oversaw as Motion Picture Group chairman.

A filmed tribute to Lansing featured kudos from the likes of Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, Howard Stern and Fran Drescher. The evening was emceed by Tom Sherak, Fox Filmed Entertainment senior exec VP and president of the Foundation of the Motion Picture Pioneers.

Among the nearly 800 guests who dined on rack of lamb at the black-tie event were Michael Douglas, Kurt Russell and Hawn, Jonathan Dolgen and the MPAA’s Jack Valenti.

The event raised nearly a half-million dollars for the Motion Picture Pioneers, which was founded in 1939 to help members of the entertainment industry who have fallen on hard times.

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