“Celebrity allows us to shed a light on those who need it,” Quincy Jones modestly said when he was honored, along with Clive Davis, at the Carousel of Hope Ball, Saturday night. Barbara Davis once again transformed the Beverly Hilton Hotel into a glamorous venue to raise another $4 million for the Children’s Diabetes Foundation. Over the years, Hope Ball has raised over $70 million. The event started at 6:30 p.m. with the silent auction spreading over the rooms adjoining the international ballroom. Tables ex-tended all the way to the entrance doors. They even boasted tablecloths and napkins designed and do-nated by Missoni, adding to the glamour of the night. Barbara Davis, who never gave a sign she is still recouping from an auto accident, emphasized the night’s purpose — to cure the disease through research, including stem cell. She received a heart-felt standing ovation after a dramatic introduction by Sidney Poitier.
Jay Leno, again the master emcee, made it all seem so easy. He is super-generous with his talents for charity. The night before, he had hosted an Autism benefit in Las Vegas and said he has already agreed to host Bill Austin’s So the World May Hear gala, June 23 in St. Paul. Austin was on hand for Barbara, Saturday night. On Sunday, he and wife Tami flew to Turkey, Africa, Panama and other points to create hearing for 25,000 underprivileged children– by March, 2007. Leno interspersed his comedy reper-toire with “Tonight Show” clips in which no one — the President, of course — and nothing was spared his razor-sharp observations, wit and wisdom. Whatta joy he is.
The show’s participants included Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, David Foster, a musical director who brought on Baby Face, and Katharine McPhee, to name a few. Usher performed “Razzle-Dazzle” from “Chicago” and was backed with 10 equally-terrif dancers flown out from N.Y. Sharon Stone, in a glowing, pewter-colored décolletage gown, gave the Brass Ring Award intro to Quincy Jones, enumerating all that “Q” stands for. He said children worldwide are his raison d’etre. He’s proven it in his global treks for them.
It was then Barry Manilow’s turn to introduce, in song, his lifelong friend Clive Davis, another recipient f the Brass Ring Award. Davis interrupted his acceptance remarks to announce the presence of Whitney Houston, whom he called, “The best singer in the world today.” She received an ovation. Davis told of the reunion with Manilow on the (Arista) album, “The Greatest Songs of the Sixties,” in stores on Oct.31. Barry proceeded to sing some of them to everyone’s delight. Everyone agreed, “What the World Needs Now Is Love.”
The pleasure-packed show was produced by George Schlatter. He’d returned from producing a 10th anni show for the Mohegan Sun. It included a 40th anniversary of “Laugh-In” with the original cast on hand. The show’s announcer, Gary Owens, was at our Carousel Ball table and regaled us with some of the memories. Also added joy to our table was: Joan Van Ark and husband John Marshll, Marilu Henner and hubby, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Vanna White and her fiancé.
Mercedes-Benz was a sponsor-of the evening, and donated a $195,000 item in the live auction portion of the generous night.