Kirk and Michael Douglas took back seats to their wives, and were they ever proud. Anne Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones were the stars at both industry and civic events. No one was ever more dramatic or emotionally effective as a speaker than honoree Anne as Friendly House named her “Woman Of The Year.” In demonstrating the needs for caring and sharing, Anne unveiled what has been her silent-to-the-public sorrow — the emotions of losing son Eric, who died of an overdose “after 20 years of alcohol and drug abuse.” The Saturday afternoon audience at the Beverly Hilton also heard emcee Ed Begley Jr., a longtime supporter of the Midnight Mission, reveal his past problems with alcohol. And Clancy Imislund, Managing Director of the Midnight Mission, also revealed his own recovery after receiving the org’s “Excellent Service Award.”
The Douglas men also had an opportunity to applaud another family member. This time it was Catherine Zeta-Jones, who hosted the third annual “A Fine Romance” concert, which benefits the MPTF. Zeta-Jones serenaded the SRO-filled audience, rocking the house on Sony’s Stage 30. Event chair Jim Gianopoulos announced that one million dollars was raised at the star-filled event, for which Hugh Jackman flew out from Australia, only to return the same night for filming. Michael Douglas continues the family tradition of working with the MPTF next year with another televised celeb golf tourney. “A Fine Romance” was directed by Bill Condon while John Mauceri kept it all musically moving. IATSE International President Thomas C.Short received the Silver Medallion from Taylor Hackford who was there with wife Helen Mirren, who he next directs with Joe Pesci as husband and wife in “Love Ranch.” The “Fine Romance” cast included Jamie Campbell Bower, Kristin Chenoweth, Raul Esparza, Jennifer Hudson, Audra McDonald, Shirley MacLaine, Chita Rivera (who brought down the house), Dick Van Dyke, (standing ovation), Vanessa Williams and Anika Rose. Darcie Denkert was thanked for inspiring “Hollywood Loves Broadway” with her book, “A Fine Romance.”
Hollywood family honors continued as the Young Musicians Foundation paid tribute to its late Chairman of the Board and past Gala host, Merv Griffin. Merv’s son, Tony, accepted a baton from friend and music lover Clint Eastwood at the BevHilton. The YMF played “I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts,” orchestrated by the L.A. Philharmonic, and sung with Merv’s original recording. Ryan Seacrest hosted and Hilton g.m. Denny Fitzpatrick conducted the YMF orchestra in David Rose’s arrangement of “The Stripper.” It was the kind of musical night Merv would have loved. He is sorely missed.
It was also family night at the Arclight as “Music Within” preemed to hefty applause Oct. 19 in advance of its release this Friday in nine markets. Director and producer Steve Sawalich was first inspired to do the story when he saw its lead character, Vietnam vet Richard Pimentel, being examined and treated for his war-caused deafness by Bill Austin at the Starkey Hearing Foundation in Minneapolis. Austin’s wife is Sawalich’s mother. Bill was unable to attend the premiere as he was in India on another mission to fit 3000(!) needy children with hearing aids. His wife left the preem party to catch a red-eye to India to join the mission. Also in attendance were Sawalich’s wife, Trevi, who has a role in the film. As Richard Pimental (also there), actor Ron Livingston received plenty of applause. He’s been working non-stop since the trio of “Music Within,” “Pretty Persuasion” and “Winter Solstice.” Also receiving applause was his amazing co-star Michael Sheen, who plays the cerebral palsy-afflicted Art Honeyman. The versatile Sheen won awards for his portrayal of Tony Blair in “The Queen,” and will portray David Frost in Ron Howard’s adaptation of “Frost/Nixon.” Sheen will again disguise his handsome looks when he heads to Australia to star in the third “Underworld.” The duo of Sheen and Livingston were a delight on-and-off screen at the preem.