The portals of the historic Paramount Pictures gate were awash in rosy light to set the festive mood for the Henry Mancini Institute's tribute to music legend Quincy Jones last weekend.
The Hollywood landmark was the backdrop for the fifth annual Mancini Musicale, which honored Jones with its Hank award for distinguished service in American music. A dinner concert, conducted by Patrick Williams, showcased the young musicians who have completed the institute's summer program at UCLA.
As the event began, institute president Ginny Mancini stepped up to the microphone to share sad news with the 500 guests: Jack Elliott, the institute's music director, had died that morning. Elliott, who established the institute in 1997 in memory of Mancini, died of a brain tumor at UCLA Medical Center.
"Jack was the driving force behind the institute," said Mancini. "There would not have been an institute without him, and we will endure. This celebration is dedicated to Jack."
Sidney Poitier presented the Hank award to Jones, who has had 76 Grammy nominations-more than any other artist-and won 26 of them. He has also been the recipient of an Emmy, seven Oscar nominations and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Accepting the award, Jones made some eyes misty when he recalled his long friendship with Elliott and Henry Mancini. "This honor comes from people who are like my family. That's why it means more to me than anything else. Jack and I were expatriate musicians in Paris 40 years ago.
"And Hank was like my brother. He was my idol, my colleague and the kind of friend that if you made a damn fool of yourself, he didn't think it was a permanent condition. Back in the '60s, when I got into a racial discrimination situation at Universal, Hank called them up and said, 'Guys, wake up. It's the 20th century!' There were no black composers on screen credits then. I was there at the beginning, and it was a killer.
"A black composer breaking through was tough, and I will never forget the people who carried me on their shoulders. Now, at 67, I'm happy to be vertical. My only problem is trying to keep my earring from giving my hearing aid feedback."
Margie and Jerry Perenchio served as honorary chairmen of the gala, which raised more than $450,000. Kelsey Grammer emceed the concert, which featured performances by Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride, Dianne Reeves, Billy Childs and Abraham Laboriel.
Spotted in the crowd--along with the Jones and Mancini clans--were Lisette Derouaux, Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Hilma and Benny Carter, Bernice and Ray Charles, Naomi Campbell, Gwen and Arthur Hiller, Bambi Holzer and Charles Schatz, Alexandra and Sidney Sheldon, David Raksin, Lloyd Rigler, Barbara and Marvin Davis, Joan and Allan Burns, Shirlee Fonda, Corky Hale and Mike Stoller.