Very few things in Hollywood live up to billing. But those who turned out Thursday night for the Hollywood Women's Political Committee dinner, raising more than $200,000 for 1996 U.S. House and Senate races, got more than their money's worth.
Guests got inspirational speakers, movie stars who were more than just pretty faces, dinner party conversation that actually contained ideas, a program that ran on time and on track, and even a decent meal.
"That's what's special about this group, it still has passion," said former California Democratic Party Chairman Phil Angelides as the audience stood in heartfelt applause at the conclusion of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo's speech.
"I'd be very surprised if anyone in this room needed an introduction to Mario Cuomo, but here we have a man who needs no introduction being introduced by a man who might have liked to have had an introduction," said Warren Beatty as he stepped, unannounced, from behind the stage curtain to conduct the presentation to Cuomo of the Barbara Jordan Award for political courage and commitment. Beatty self-deprecatingly described his self-puffery in calling Cuomo to advise him to run in the 1992 presidential race.
Actor Mike Farrell spoke on receipt of the HWPC Award for Political and Social Activism presented to him by Ruben Zamaro, a former presidential candidate in El Salvador.
"I do think that coming together at an evening like this is more than just about fund-raising. It is about restoring inspiration, hope and passion, and reminding people why they should remain committed," said Lara Bergthold, HWPC executive director.
Among those rekindling political passions were Steven Bochco and Barbara Bosson, Tyne Daly and Clarence Williams, Chase Mishkin, Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Marg Helgenberger and Alan Rosenberg, Lynda Palevsky, Thad Mumford, Faye Dunaway, Annette Bening, Shelley Fabares and Pat Benatar, who concluded the evening with "America the Beautiful."
"Stars don't need to do this. If I was their manager I'd tell them not to, but they do it because they know it's important and as performers they understand that if you don't connect with others, your work has no meaning," said Cuomo.