During the day, all day Monday, it was the Beverly Hilton Grand Ballroom packed with families and their 169 children in need — children unable to hear.
When they left, they heard, many for the first time, the sounds of joy and laughter. They ranged in age from infants to teens. The Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Bill Austin, his family and staff who had flown in from Minneapolis, fitted each of the children as they paraded up to the stage for examinations and then received their hearing aids.
Among the celebs working with Austin and company was Nicolette Sheridan, who had been on another mission with Austin. Her fiance Michael Bolton, along with Paul Williams, had written the Foundation’s theme, “No Greater Gift Than Giving.”
Also on hand, Leslie Nielsen who portrays Bill Austin in the upcoming (Oct.26) feature, “Music Within” directed by Steven Sawalich and staring Ron Livingston, Melissa George and Michael Sheen.
Also in attendence: Marion Ross, who plays Nielsen’s wife in “Super Hero” for the Zucker brothers (She’s also Sally Field’s mother in “Brothers & Sisters,” and will costar with Paul Michael on the San Diego’s Globe stage in Joe Di Pietro’s “The Last Romance”). Also there, Robert Culp, who had been present at another Starkey mission for needy children
And Monday night at the Century Plaza Hotel, the 33rd annual Dinner Of Champions to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society honors Rob Moore, President of Marketing, Distribution and Home Entertainment of Paramount Pictures and Kelly Sutton, driver in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Once again Byron Allen hosts. Idina Menzel and the Manhattan Transfer entertain.
Tom Sherak reports these industry-supported Dinners of Champions have advanced research for a cure for MS. In his “thank you” to the industry Sherak reports, “In 1993, there were no medications available to those suffering from MS. Today, there are six FDA-approved disease modifying drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis” and “there is a great deal of hope for all of those living with MS.”