The 2016 annual Carousel of Hope Ball brought out legends in entertainment for a great cause: battling childhood diabetes.
The event — which celebrated its 30th anniversary Saturday night — honored individuals who have made significant contributions in the fight against the disease.
The night began with a silent auction in the Beverly Hilton ballroom, where hundreds of items — from luxury trips to jewelry to autographed memorabilia — were up for bid. The proceeds of the auction went to the Childhood Diabetes Foundation and to benefit the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes.
As the silent auction wound down, guests — including Nigel Lythgoe, Judge Judy Sheindlin, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Warren, and Clive Davis — made their way to the gala.
Leno couldn’t help but crack a few jokes about the upcoming presidential election. “Have your heard about Donald Trump’s new reality show, ‘The Amazing Racist’?,” the funnyman quipped. “Approval rating for President Obama is 55%, the other 45% being taxpayers,” Leno later joked, playing to both sides.
As the theme of the night was charity and celebration, the political humor was kept to the introduction.
Davis invited a young diabetes patient, Margo Rea, to lead the room in prayer. As guests dined on beef tenderloin and chicken, Leno was joined on stage by the glamorous Sharon Stone, who served as auctioneer for the live auction. More incredible destination packages, including Dubai and Aspen, as well as a VIP experience at David Foster’s Miracle Gala, netted nearly $200,000.
The recipient of the Inspirational Lifetime Achievement Award — Sir Sidney Poitier — was introduced by Denzel Washington. Poitier humbly accepted the award, thanking Davis and her late husband Marvin, who started their fight against diabetes 37 years ago when their daughter Dana was diagnosed. “I stand here to thank you to forgive him for having left us so early,” Poitier said of the charitable couple.
Broadway superstar Idina Menzel provided a musical interlude. Menzel was introduced as the voice behind “Let It Go,” but joked she wouldn’t sing the “Frozen” hit. “I’m not going to sing that song. It’s not on the set list.” Menzel did perform a mini set that included “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked” and two songs from her new album.
The three Brass Ring Award recipients followed: Carole Bayer Sager introduced David Foster, Anjelica Huston presented Sherry Lansing, and Quincy Jones welcomed Jane Fonda.
All three recipients paid tribute to Davis in their acceptance speeches. Foster said, “You are sunlight. There’s not a person in this room that your light hasn’t touched in a positive way.” Lansing was inspired to create her own foundation by Davis, and Fonda described Davis as “generous and fiercely dogged.”
The night ended with a rousing musical performance by Jamie Foxx. Davis and her family took the stage to thank all the participants, where she was presented with a carousel cake.
The Carousel Ball has raised over $100 million to fight childhood diabetes since its inception.
Underwriters and angel sponsors for this year’s event included Activision Blizzard, the Coca Cola Company, St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, American Airlines, Robert Day, Vista Equity Partners, Tina & Rick Caruso, Dexcom, and the Walt Disney Company.