At the National Tribute Dinner for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance on Thursday, guests learned three things about
1. Jeffrey Katzenberg revealed that in forming DreamWorks back in 1994, he and his partners, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, asked Moonves or “more accurately … begged” Moonves to become a fourth partner. Given his television successes at the time, however, Moonves passed on the opportunity.
2. Moonves is the great-nephew of
3. Moonves started his career in entertainment as an actor. “It’s true,” joked event host James Corden. “Les is the poster boy for failed actors all across Los Angeles, showing them they can do so much more than just drive for Uber,” adding, “although I will say his acting career was not a complete failure. He did once play a small role in ‘The Six Million Dollar Man,’ and now look at him. He is literally the $6-million-a-month man.”
The dinner, which was at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, raised a record-breaking $2.6 million for the organization’s mission to confront anti-Semitism, bigotry and racism; defend Israel’s legitimacy; and protect the safety of Jewish people worldwide.
Hollywood elite filled the ballroom, among them dinner chairs Bob Bakish, president and CEO of Viacom; Jon Feltheimer, chief executive of Lionsgate Entertainment; Jim Gianopulos, chairman and chief executive of Paramount Pictures; Katzenberg, partner in new media company WndrCo; Ron Meyer, NBCUniversal vice chairman; Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and chief executive of Warner Bros.; and Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures. There, too, were noted producers
Following remarks by Katzenberg and others, the Wiesenthal center presented medals of valor to Alon Ben-Gurion, who accepted on behalf of his grandfather, and to outspoken human rights advocate Raheel Raza, who shared that she’s listed as the sixth most-hated Muslim activist on an extremist website, “and you know what,” she said, “I plan to be No. 1.”
After accepting the Humanitarian Award, Moonves spoke of the center’s importance at this moment. “We live in a world today where there are forces, powerful forces, that are tolerant all right. They’re tolerant of the wrong things. Tolerant of racism. Tolerant of anti-Semitism — of violence and hatred …” he said. “This organization battles that and stands up for true tolerance and celebrates and teaches genuine tolerance for each other’s beliefs for our differences, and in doing so, it has taught millions to reject hatred, violence and racism. There is no more important lesson as we stand here today.”
Tickets for the 800 guests began at $1,500 for two and ranged up to $250,000 for two tables.
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