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Shoah Foundation hosts fundraiser

Steven Spielberg enjoys Bette Midler perf

HOLLYWOOD — Who else but Bette Midler could pull off a song called “Pretty Legs & Great Big Knockers” at a fundraiser for an organization dedicated to preserving the testimonies of Holocaust survivors?

Oct. 22 the Divine Miss M backed by 17 musicians and singers brought the crowd at USC’s Shoah Foundation Institute dinner to its feet with a five-song set that was as rocking as it was ribald.

“We needed that,” said Shoah founder Steven Spielberg of Midler’s perf. “We’ve never had that kind of sauce served with the main course.”

What could otherwise have been a gravely serious night was kept light by Midler and emcee Billy Crystal, who noted that USC had it roots as a Methodist college but things have changed so much “there are now five Jews on the football team — three doctors, one accountant and a statistician.”

The keynote of the night came from Spielberg who presented the org’s Ambassadors for Humanity Award to Kirk Douglas who still suffers impairment from a stroke. He said a major motivation for recovery came form his wife, Anne, who told him: “Kirk, get your ass out of bed and start speech therapy.”