Aileen Getty receives leadership award at Angel Awards Gala

Kate Burton, left, Aileen Getty and Sharon Stone attend Project Angel Food's Angel Awards Gala.
(Araya Diaz / Getty Images for Project Angel Food)

The event: Sharon Stone presented the inaugural Elizabeth Taylor Leadership Award to philanthropist Aileen Getty at Saturday’s Angel Awards Gala, which celebrated the organization’s 25th anniversary. Originally founded to bring meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, Project Angel Food has delivered more than 9 million meals to men, women and children suffering from a variety of critical illnesses.

The award: Dinner co-chairs Faye Moseley and Jeff Valenson said the organization named the award for Taylor’s long continuing support, not only because she bestowed the organization’s first grant, but also because, at times, she “very discreetly” joined them in delivering meals.

A family affair: Getty is Taylor’s former daughter in-law. Kate Burton, who kicked off the award ceremonies, also has ties to the legendary actress. As Richard Burton’s daughter, the three-time Emmy nominee -- most recently for outstanding guest actress in “Scandal” -- is Taylor’s former stepdaughter.

“[Taylor] put AIDS research into the national conversation,” said Burton before the dinner at the charity’s Hollywood headquarters. “Let’s face it -- she’s the one who said, ‘Enough. Let’s do something.’ She was a great actress, a really phenomenal stepmother and an important champion of AIDS research.”


After calling Stone “amazing,” “gorgeous” and “heavenly,” Burton added, “the fact that these two fabulous women have chosen to make this their life’s work is thrilling.”

The crowd: Balthazar Getty of “Brothers & Sisters”; couple Eric Dane of “The Last Ship” and Rebecca Gayheart; comedy writer Bruce Vilanch; Marg Helgenberger of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation;” Michael Ritchie, artistic director of the Center Theatre Group; and author-lecturer Marianne Williamson joined more Taylor relations: Marjory and Chris Wilding, Naomi Wilding and Anthony Cran; Caleb Wilding, Tarquin Wilding and Lowell Wilding. Celebrity chef Govind Armstrong created the night’s menu; Andrea Fiuczynski of Sotheby’s conducted the live auction.

Quotes of note: Of Taylor, Stone said, “She changed the world in an important way.”

“There would be no AIDS fundraising movement in America without Elizabeth,” said Vilanch, a former Angel Award recipient. “After Rock Hudson got sick, she was the first one to step out and say we’ve got to do something about this. She was so famous that everybody would take her call -- even the Pope -- and if only to talk about jewelry.”

The numbers: Counting 420 guests, tickets priced from $350 each, tables ranging up to $50,000 and the live and silent auctions, the gala reportedly netted more than $515,000.

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