Jeffrey Katzenberg knows about being mentored — his mentor was the legendary agent Lew Wasserman.
“Lew was the one who took me by the hand and said, ‘This is the one we all need to be behind,’” Katzenberg remembers. “To have him as a mentor in this only makes it that much more important for me to be here.”
Here was the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s NextGen summer party for young Hollywood talent both in front of and behind the camera, held on Thursday at the Paramount lot in Hollywood.
“MPTF is our family,” Katzenberg said. “It’s my family. I’ve grown up in this town and so blessed by it, and this is a chance to give back to the industry that’s given me everything.”
MPTF provides financial support and other resources for members of the entertainment industry in need. The organization operates the Wasserman Campus, a residential retirement community in Woodland Hills.
Hosted by “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” star Clark Gregg and “Community’s” Yvette Nicole Brown, the NextGen event included the premiere of a Funny or Die PSA featuring Chris Pratt talking about couch surfing and relying on the kindness of others during his early days in Hollywood, after being discovered by Rae Dawn Chong while he was working as a waiter in Maui.
Following a performance by “Nashville” actress Clare Bowen and her husband Brandon Robert Young, Brown asked the crowd to quiet down, even walking to the bar to corral everyone to the stage.
“I want to talk to you about something very important,” Brown said. “It’s called service. Everybody know what service is? It’s the opportunity to pay your tithe for being on the earth.”
“Who here is blessed in some way?” she asked. “I see a lot of nice dresses and fresh haircuts and beautiful shoes and bags. Everybody is doing well in here. MPTF is the kind of organization that steps in when you’re not doing well.”
Gregg told Variety that he and his wife Jennifer Grey sought MPTF’s help when his mother-in-law, actress-turned-real-estate-broker Jo Wilder, decided to move to a retirement community. “Jen and I had an amazing experience with them,” he said. “They stepped up and provided all kinds of support in an area we knew nothing about. We went from kind of being really frustrated and lost in about three days to getting so much support and so many ideas, and with someone who could really deal directly with Jen’s mom and help her figure out what she wanted.”
Brown urged guests to walk over to the Delta table and enter a raffle for $100 for a chance to win two first-class tickets to Amsterdam.
She also suggested attending a tour of the Wasserman Campus taking place on Sept 29.
“It is full of wonderful people who years ago did everything that you’re doing now,” Brown said. “I think sometimes we forget that the wealth of older people is that they have lived a life that is rich, and guess what? They’ve been to places you’re trying to get to. They’re kind enough to share what they know. … Whatever you want to do in the industry, there is somebody there who has walked that path.”