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Prez praise for Lew

Clinton presents philanthropist with Shorenstein Award

Monday might have been Bill Clinton’s valedictory night at the Demo convention, but it was Lew Wasserman’s chance to shine at the DNC Finance Committee’s Presidential Dinner hosted by Par brass on the lot’s Studio 20.

Wasserman was presented with the party’s Walter Shorenstein Award by Clinton, who praised him for his “astonishing generosity” and “being a good Democrat without being a negative partisan.”

(Afterward, Wasserman was asked by Daily Variety “if he’d ever gotten an award at Paramount before?” The former MCA topper laughed and said, “No, but I did once have a free lunch with Charlie Bluhdorn when he owned the place.”)

Clinton, who was accompanied by first lady Hillary and daughter Chelsea, joked he’d been to so many fund-raising events at Wasserman’s home “I half expect him to pro-rate his property tax and send me a bill.”

After he spoke, the president had come down off the stage to embrace Wasserman, who now uses cane and would have had difficulty ascending the stairs. The 1,000 guests went silent as Clinton first hugged Wasserman, then turned to the pressing crowd and said “You guys sit down” as they chatted for a few moments.

The event followed Clinton’s convention speech, which Viacom topper Sumner Redstone said “was fantastic. He’s a real star.”

Hosting the event for Par were Redstone, who was with Christine Peters, Sherry Lansing (who’s a convention delegate), and Jonathan and Susan Dolgen. Guests included Jack Valenti, Sid and Nancy Ganis, Joni Mitchell, Faith Ford, Lawrence Bender, Noah Wyle, Steve Stabler and Alfre Woodard.

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