Holly Robinson Peete in high spirits at DesignCare Gala

Holly Robinson Peete in high spirits at DesignCare Gala
Holly Robinson Peete, left, Chris Spencer and singer Jussie Smollett appear onstage at the HollyRod Foundation's 17th annual DesignCare Gala. (Tiffany Rose / Getty Images for HollyRod Founda)

The event:  Actress Holly Robinson Peete came sashaying down the runway on the arm of her husband Rodney Peete to the strains of Janelle Monae's "Yoga," with its lyric "let your booty do the yoga."  Looking great, no question, yet she reminded the former NFL quarterback, "I just turned 50, hon. I just don't move it like I used to."

So began Saturday's high-spirited 17th annual DesignCare Gala, benefiting the HollyRod Foundation, which is dedicated to providing care for people living with Parkinson's disease and autism. Originally begun after Robinson Peete's father contracted Parkinson's disease, the charity's mission expanded after the couple's eldest son, Rodney, was diagnosed with autism.


For the Record

Aug. 13, 11:30 a.m.: An earlier version of this post said Rodney Peete was a former NFL champion. He was never on a Super Bowl-winning team. Also, the photo caption identified the man next to Holly Robinson Peete as Rodney Peete. The man is Chris Spencer.


The scene: At the Lot in West Hollywood, guests checked out silent auction items, indulged in a dinner buffet and sampled French macarons, mini-tarts and other desserts under the watchful eyes of Oprah Winfrey Network cameras. "For Peete's Sake," a reality show featuring the family, will debut in the spring and is to include scenes from the fundraiser, said producer Shannon Demers, since the event is "so close to their hearts."

"I now wake up to 35 people in the morning," said Robinson Peete, known for her roles in "21 Jump Street," "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper" and "For Your Love."

The program: Jussie Smollett, aka Jamal Lyon of "Empire," headlined. Kimberly Nichole,  "the rock ballerina" from "The Voice," performed too. Adolfo Sanchez presented a full runway show; and awards went to Stella & Dot CEO Jessica Herrin, philanthropists Amy and Russell Meyerowitz, Dillan Barmache and Vincente King.

The crowd: Eva Longoria of “Desperate Housewives,” Amy Yasbeck of “Wings,” Alex Meneses of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Salli Richardson of “Eureka,” Dondre Whitfield of “Mistresses,” Charlotte Ross of “NYPD Blue,” TV personality Star Jones, “Real Housewife” Gretchen Rossi, boxer Laila Ali and celebrity hairstylist Chaz Dean were seated beside the runway.

The numbers: Tickets ranged from $500 for individuals to $50,000 sponsorship packages for 10, with final proceeds still being tabulated.

Quote of note: "I feel honored to be asked to be part of this," said Nichole, taking a break before her turn to perform. "It's a cause that Holly and Rodney are definitely passionate about and it's about something I believe in too."

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