You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tracee Ellis Ross Honors Evan Ross, Ashlee Simpson at Operation Smile Gala

International medical charity Operation Smile’s ambassadors and benefactors gathered at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Saturday evening to celebrate Evan Ross and Ashlee Simpson-Ross as the couple received the 2017 universal smile award for their philanthropic work for the organization.

NBC’s president of entertainment Jennifer Salke, who became a dedicated sponsor of the organization after her son, who was born with a cleft lip, started a fundraising page when he was seven and raised $60,000, talked about how important it is for those with a platform to get involved with charitable work. “We all get asked to do lots of things, and we all care about lots of causes — especially if you have a giving, generous spirit — but when you really lock in on something, you can make a huge difference.”

“This Is Us” star Justin Hartley, who became involved with the organization a year ago, said Operation Smile’s work resonated with him particularly because of his career as an actor. “Actors, we speak — that’s how we communicate, that’s how we make our money, that’s our art — and some of these kids aren’t able to speak.” He added that he was impressed by how much could be done with so little. Each surgery costs around $240 and can be completed under an hour.

Operation Smile’s founders Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee took the stage to thank the organization’s supporters before “Black-ish’s” Tracee Ellis Ross came forward to present the universal smile award to her brother, Evan, and his wife. “Together, Ashlee and Evan have tirelessly lent their voices to educate, enlighten, and encourage people about Operation Smile’s work,” she said. “As parents themselves to the most beautiful little niece of mine, they know that there is nothing more beautiful than a child’s smile and have advocated that someday all children will have access to this life-changing care.”

Dr. Bill Dorfman was also presented with the Medical Visionary Award from Operation Smile, and luxury Malibu realtor Susan Monus received the John Connor Humanitarian Award.

Dance duo Les Twins — who won the Jennifer Lopez-hosted NBC competition show “World of Dance” this year — brought the house down with their mind-bending routine after Evan Ross joined his friend, singer-songwriter Austin Brown, on stage to sing Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.”

During the live auction, “American Ninja Warrior” host Matt Iseman energetically took the stage to make the call for donations, eliciting a $100,000 gift from producer Mark Burnett and wife Roma Downey. Operation Smile ambassadors Brooke Burke-Charvet and her husband David Charvet also made significant donations.

More Scene

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. “I’ve seen more smiley symbolism lately, and I’ve [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content