How many men once had Farrah Fawcett’s iconic swimsuit poster pinned to their walls?
Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” threw out that question as he hosted the Farrah Fawcett Foundation’s Tex-Mex Fiesta benefit for Stand Up to Cancer on Wednesday. And he answered it too: “Not me. I had mine on the ceiling.”
“Listen, I’ve known guys whose relationship with that poster lasted longer than their marriages,” Bush quipped.
The foundation — named for the actress who died of anal cancer in 2009 — honored Fawcett’s “Charlie’s Angels” costar Jaclyn Smith, the immunotherapy company Advaxis Inc. and Renata Helfman, founder of Lipstick Angels, which provides beauty makeovers for cancer patients.
“We’re all aware of (Fawcett’s) singular beauty, her million-dollar smile, and that hair, that gorgeous mane of hair,” said Smith, as she talked of Fawcett’s legacy in sacrificing her cover girl image to let people understand her struggle with cancer. “What greater gift could she have left us with than to push beyond personal pain in the hope of bringing healing and health to the world? This is what Farrah did.”
Alana Stewart of the reality show “Stewarts & Hamiltons” followed Bush onstage, keeping formalities quick and moving, she said, so guests could “go out and have one big, Texas-style … party.”
And so, a few awards, videos and short speeches later, all adjourned to the patio at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Center in Beverly Hills for country-style entertainment and El Cholo Restaurant’s elaborate Mexican buffet of enchiladas, tamales, flautas, guacamole and more south-of-the-border specialties.
Lest anyone forget the party’s theme, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett launched into his set with a Texas tune, albeit one that began, “That’s right, you’re not from Texas,” yet ended, “But Texas wants you anyway.”
The audience filled with familiar faces included Ryan O’Neal, George Hamilton, Ashley Hamilton, Kimberly Stewart, Frances Fisher, Kate Flannery, Cheryl Tiegs, Nigel Lythgoe, Jo Anne Worley, Doris Roberts, Mary and Fred Willard and Risa Binder. Wallis Annenberg and Dr. Lawrence Piro chaired the event, alongside committee members Melanie Griffith, Wendy Stark, Marianne Williamson, Wendy and Leonard Goldberg, Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly, Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin, Monica Horan and Phil Rosenthal, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, and others.
More than 400 guests celebrated the evening, raising more than $550,000 from tickets beginning at $500 and sponsorship packages ranging to $100,000.
Ellen Olivier is founder of Society NewsLA