Lionel Richie, Katie Couric, Tyrese Gibson face off at Global Gourmet Games, which raised $3 million

Fresh from a pool party to celebrate “The Fate of the Furious” hitting the $1-billion box-office mark, actor Tyrese Gibson (a.k.a. Roman Pearce in the smash film series) went to another shindig on Saturday: the Global Gourmet Games, benefiting the Milken Institute’s FasterCures and kicking off the Sunday through Wednesday Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills.

In a conversation during dinner, Gibson said that no sooner had he left fellow celebrants Vin Diesel and director F. Gary Gray, hopped out of the car at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and spied the suits and ties and everybody looking “extra fancy with their best haircut,” he decided to step up his sartorial game, by changing from jeans and loafers into something more formal.

“I ran up the street to Barneys, full sprint,” he said in his just-acquired, elegant $4,600 dark suit.

“I did a real Superman,” Gibson added, referring to Clark Kent transforming into the Man of Steel, as he recalled his quick change in the luxury store.

Later, after Mike Milken, who founded the Milken Family Foundation in 1982 with his brother Lowell, brought the film star to the podium to re-tell his tale, Gibson turned to the evening’s host and said, “This is real commitment, Mr. Milken.”


Unique among fundraisers, this annual soireé pits table against table, testing people’s knowledge of foods, wines and assorted trivia during a three-course meal, which offers a bonanza of appetizers, main courses and desserts to judge according to calorie counts, fat content and other considerations.

Singer/songwriter Lionel Richie, accompanied by girlfriend Lisa Parigi, said he came to learn. “This is better than a seminar on nutrition,” said the Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winner.

Life is all about new experiences.

— Katie Couric

Entering on the arm of her husband, banker John Molner, Katie Couric said she felt a bit guilty about missing the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night. However, she said she attended that affair many times, and this would be her first Global Gourmet Games. “Life is all about new experiences,” she said.

An homage this year to the Golden Age of Air Travel, Milken presided over the party in an airline captain’s uniform, although just as he wears many hats in life, he later switched into a stovepipe hat, conductor’s cap and feathered headdress.

He introduced a woman dressed in a flight attendant uniform to explain the scoring, before jokingly adding, “There’s a new rule this year. No complaints.”

As far as we could tell, there were none. Guests appeared happy to indulge in an abundance of gourmet cuisine as they battled it out over questions about Brussels sprouts, beets, the best way to board an airplane and more.

The Santa Monica-based Milken Institute, an affiliated organization of the Milken Family Foundation, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank whose goal is to increase global prosperity so more people have access to money and other assets, jobs and improved health.

Saturday’s affair raised more than $3 million for FasterCures, which is dedicated to eliminating roadblocks to medical progress, from tickets beginning at $2,500, sponsorships ranging up to $100,000 and additional contributions. FasterCures is a center of the Milken Institute, this year focusing on opioid addiction, antibiotic resistance, triple-negative breast cancer, sickle cell anemia and lupus.

Among others in a crowd thick with business leaders were Hyatt heir Tony Pritzker, United Talent Agency chief executive Jeremy Zimmer; Cindy and Robert Citrone, part-owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers; South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, owner of soccer’s Mamelodi Sundowns; Heritage Provider Network Chief Executive Richard Merkin; human rights activist Kerry Kennedy; and Las Vegas resort co-founder Elaine Wynn.

Ellen Olivier is the founder of Society News LA.