Rodney’s Respected by Tim

Tim AllenHumor is contagious. “UCLA Neurosurgery Goes Hog-wild Over Actor-Comedian Tim Allen.” That’s how the very serious Division of Neurosurgery at UCLA announces they will present Allen, the star of “Wild Hogs,” etc. with its “2007 Rodney Respect Award.” It will be given Oct. 4 at the division’s Visionary Ball fundraiser at the Beverly Wilshire.

Tim Allen tells me, “All of us (comedians) adored him. He never forgot where he came from. He taught us humility, integrity, honesty in comedy.” Allen recalled he’d been given his first break on Rodney’s “Young Comedians” show — and then was bumped from it. “He confided to me he made a mistake and a great relationship developed between us. He was endearing — and insecure.”

Rodney Dangerfield had undergone rare and technologically difficult “brain bypass surgery” in April 2003 at UCLA’s Medical Center. The Rodney Respect award presented by his widow Joan Dangerfield “recognizes comedians who embody her late husband’s extraordinary professional legacy and devotion to making a difference in the lives of others.” (Jay Leno received the first award in 2005). Tim Allen recently wound “Redbelt” for director David Mamet — “a great departure for me,” says Allen who is also about to start “The Six Wives of Henry Lefay.”

The Visionary Ball will raise money to help advance neurological research, education and patient care in the future home of the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The latest technology, including the remote-presence robot used by doctors in UCLA’s neurosurgical intensive care unit will be on display at the ball.

Also to be honored are Peter Morton and Michael Phelps, M.D. Restaurateur Morton is honored as a philanthropist and environmentalist. Phelps, is the inventor of PET, the molecular imaging technique in the early detection and evaluation of cancer.

Rodney Dangerfield’s widow, Joan, adds: “Both Tim and Rodney were kindred spirits who overcame insurmountable odds to attain legendary success. We are honored that he is accepting this award. The Rodney Respect Award is UCLA’s way of honoring visionaries who symbolize the kind of courage and commitment Rodney demonstrated in his life and career.

Joan Dangerfield serves on the Advisory Board of the Division of Neurosurgery and there will be a Rodney Dangerfield Operating Suite at the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.