Scene & Heard: Carousel of Hope gala draws a starry crowd

Special to the Los Angeles Times

From onstage at the 32nd Carousel of Hope, emcee Jay Leno surveyed the crowd before him, describing the gala as one where “the audience is more famous than you.”

The Oct. 23 affair at the Beverly Hilton had no shortage of star-power onstage or off. Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Randy Jackson came to present awards to Maria Shriver and Quincy Jones; Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Gladys Knight and the rapper Akon performed; and the audience included Raquel Welch, Stevie Wonder, Sidney Poitier, Adrien Brody, Don Johnson, Rod Stewart, Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez.

Guests credited the gala’s drawing power to Barbara Davis, chairwoman of the event, which raised nearly $2.5 million for the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Davis is the widow of Marvin Davis, the former owner of 20th Century Fox.

“If there is a fairy godmother in Los Angeles, it is Barbara Davis,” said Angelica Huston, on the arm of her stepson Steven Graham. “Everyone loves her; she elicits great loyalty.” Graham’s father, the late artist Robert Graham, designed the event’s Brass Ring award.


During the reception, Kathy Griffin shared a moment with comedy legends Don Rickles and Bob Newhart, noting to all nearby, " Jane Fonda is watching over me,” and lest there be doubts, added, “Just ask her.”

A few feet away, as event producer George Schlatter helped Fonda adjust her necklace, the actress concurred, saying, “She was coming alone, so we drove her here.” Fonda came with music producer Richard Perry.

Some guests, such as Daisy Fuentes, Mira Sorvino and Mimi Rogers, sported short frocks. Yet Fonda opted for a floor-length gown, as did Vanna White, Tamala Jones of “Castle,” Leah Rimini of “The King of Queens” and Garcelle Beauvais of " NYPD Blue.”

With formal attire in the majority, guests had to tread carefully to avoid stepping on trains trailed by Susan Lucci, Paris Hilton, Frances Fisher and Brandy, there with her “Dancing With the Stars” partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.


The 1,250 guests paid a minimum of $1,000 each for dinner and the 2-hour, 4-room, 447-item silent auction and a brief live auction, which fetched $170,000 for a 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG. Some of those “behind the camera” attendees included biotech entrepreneur and new Lakers part-owner Patrick Soon-Shiong and his wife, Michele Chan; TCW Group Chairman Robert Day and his wife, Kelly; Carole Bayer Sager and former Warner Bros. CEO Bob Daly; and CBS CEO Les Moonves with his wife, Julie Chen.

Sisters Joan and Jackie Collins posed for snapshots, the latter saying she added her novel, “Married Lovers,” to the abundant party favors. “I always donate to the gift bag,” she said. Stuffed to capacity, the bags also boasted a Guess watch, scarf and sunglasses; and beauty products by WEN, MAC and Nick Chavez.

On accepting the Brass Ring trophy, Shriver addressed “Mrs. Davis,” saying, “This really belongs to you. Everybody’s here this year because of you more than anybody. If anybody has grabbed the brass ring, it’s you.”