Appropriately for a fund-raiser called the Race to Erase MS, Friday’s dinner at the Century Plaza Hotel had its key acceleration going into the final sprint.
The ninth edition kicked off with a 1970s-themed, celebrity fashion show by Tommy Hilfiger. (The invite also called for ’70s dress, which revealed how much scary disco gear gathers dust in BevHills closets.)
The high-energy runway presentation ended with co-chair Hilfiger taking the traditional designer’s bow (wearing a wig that gave him the appearance of an unusually healthy Iggy Pop) to strong applause.
The evening’s message on multiple sclerosis was delivered by co-chair Nancy Davis, who spoke about possible treatments, which surprisingly may include botox. Davis said the dinner raised a record $2.5 million.
While dinner was served, Tom Arnold, Tony Danza and Bill Maher emceed a live auction, valiantly trying to hold the crowd’s attention for the nine luxury items offered. One $16,000 bidder they nabbed was Montel Williams, who — proving you’re never too old to learn new, dangerous sports — will be taking luge lessons from Olympians at Lake Placid.
The evening shifted into high-gear with the live entertainment: Don Henley, Stevie Nicks and, especially, Smokey Robinson and Donna Summer. It’s not often a fund-raising crowd gets jiggy at a hotel dinner, but Summer had them out of their seats for her entire set.
The evening also featured remarks from Davis’ sons Alexander, Jason and Brandon, as well as hosts Sela Ward and Jay Mohr. Among guests were Brooke Shields, Sylvester Stallone, Barbara and Marvin Davis, Lisa Kudrow, David Steinberg, Brad Krevoy, George Schlatter, Lynn Palmer, Jackie Collins, Angela Bassett and Ray Romano.