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Gala hits the sweet spot

Glitterati turn out for Carousel of Hope ball

It’s a comedian’s dream to play to a room full of people more famous than he is!” host Jay Leno shouted over the audience gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the 32nd Mercedes-Benz Carousel of Hope Ball.

And it didn’t take long for the “more famous” to trump Leno’s jokes on Saturday night, as Tom Hanks immediately bounced onstage, unexpectedly solo. “Uh, my wife, Rita, is in the ladies’ room,” he stammered, to a roar of laughter from the thesps in the glittery crowd — Halle Berry, Adrien Brody, Jane Fonda, Anjelica Huston and Mira Sorvino. Hanks and Rita Wilson (who breathlessly ran out onstage a moment later) offered up the event’s Brass Ring Award to Maria Shriver, who joked that her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, “really wishes he could be here — NOT!” after reminiscing about their first time to the venerable ball, when they were seated in the back of the room because they were “just kids” and Arnold was “just a bodybuilder.”

Rod Stewart escorted his very pregnant wife, Penny Lancaster. Paris, Nicky, Kathy and Rick Hilton took the family’s-all-here prize. And Randy Jackson handed the night’s humanitarian award to Quincy Jones, who exhorted the glamorous gang to use their celebrity to “shine a light on the things that matter.”

Barbara Davis, doyenne of the bash, could take credit for raising nearly $2.5 million to help fight childhood diabetes.

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