David Nevins serenaded by Matthew Morrison, Julianne Hough at star-studded ‘Taste for the Cure’


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In terms of talent, wines and gourmet cuisine, Friday’s “Taste for a Cure” benefiting UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation was certainly a top-drawer affair.

Matthew Morrison of “Glee” and Julianne Hough, two-time winner of “Dancing with the Stars,” came to serenade honoree David Nevins, president of entertainment at Showtime Networks. Laura Linney of “The Big C” served as honorary co-chairwoman, and Eric Stonestreet of “Modern Family” introduced the entertainment. Among the 400 guests were Michael C. Hall of “Dexter,” Evan Handler of “Californication,” Kathleen Rose Perkins of “Episodes,” and Jennifer Grey, previous winner of “Dancing With the Stars.”


Jon Holman called this year’s event “an hommage to the Willamette Valley in Oregon,” explaining that this year the committee invited the Valley’s top restaurants and wineries to set up food stations beside the ballroom at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The Holman Group’s president served as dinner co-chairman, along with Far Niente’s Chief Executive Larry Maguire; 20th Century Fox Television Chairman Dana Walden; and United Talent Agency partner Jay Sures.

And there was nothing mundane about the grazing possibilities, which included smoked pork cheek sliders from Jory at Allison Inn, Beaker & Flask’s rabbit rillette tartlets and the Lincoln Restaurant’s creamed morel mushrooms on brioche. Fifteen wineries brought the Valley’s famous pinot noir, and for those who preferred white wine, Far Niente Chardonnay from Napa Valley accompanied a cheese plate.

Some said they came to pay tribute to Nevins; others, such as Michael C. Hall, said they had also been touched by cancer. Hall said he celebrated the one-year anniversary of his last treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma on March 17.

Judith Gasson, the center’s director, said Showtime’s “The Big C” played a major role in the center’s choice of honorees. “We could see [Nevins] had a real interest in the subject,” she said.

The show’s star, Laura Linney, said the script arrived at a time when she was “mulling over the subject” and observing friends’ difficulties with aging.

“I get tired of people complaining about growing old,” she said. “We are privileged to have time that others may not have.”

-- Ellen Olivier

[An original version of this post misselled Judith Gasson’s last name as Basson.]

Photo (top): Honoree David Nevins with Julianne Hough. Credit: Vince Bucci

Photo (bottom): Honorary co-chairwoman Laura Linney, left, Jennifer Grey and Clark Gregg. Credit: Vince Bucci