Scene & Heard: ‘A Night at Sardi’s’

Special to the Los Angeles Times

The event was “A Night at Sardi’s,” and the honoree was Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger. The result? Event co-chairwoman Laurie Burrows Grad said the 19th annual event, founded in honor of her father, Broadway legend Abe Burrows, raised more than $1.6 million for the Alzheimer’s Assn.

Asked what brought him to the Beverly Hilton, producer Jerry Bruckheimer replied, “Robert Iger.”

“He’s the man,” said Nick Jonas, who came to sing Cole Porter tunes. Guests included Kristen Bell, Scott Bakula, Taye Diggs, Ken Howard, Audra McDonald and Kevin McKidd, as well as Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar and Jim Parsons of the “Big Bang Theory.”

More than 900 guests filed into the ballroom for cocktails, dinner and the musical revue. They included Jeffrey Katzenberg, Barry Meyer, Ron Meyer, Anne Sweeney, Haim Saban, Judd Apatow, Djimon Hounsou and Kimora Lee.


Patrick Dempsey, Jonah Hill, Betty White and David Hyde Pierce participated in the program, which also featured a presentation to Laura Suihkonen Jones, named Caregiver of the Year.

Seth Rogen acted as emcee for the second time, saying, “I was a little worried that they might try to get somebody else to do it for this year. But lucky for me, after the Oscars, no other actor ever wants to host anything ever again.”

But Rogen’s reasons for coming were heartfelt. His future mother-in-law suffered from the disease.

Iger accepted the award in his mother’s name. “Everything that I have, everything that I’ve ever done, I really owe to [my parents]. Everything that I will ever achieve I owe to them as well, because it started with their love and their support.” He then described his mother’s plight, saying, “It’s incredibly heartbreaking to see someone that you love so much fall prey to this disease and realize that you’re relatively powerless to stop it or to even slow it down.”

Aiding young victims

Arriving at the John Varvatos 8th Annual Stuart House Benefit on March 13, Zoe Saldana said she had to find a Build-A-Bear for her niece immediately. Inside the children’s tent, Jillian and Patrick Dempsey’s daughter, Talula, decorated sneakers for her younger brothers while Shepard Fairey’s children, Vivienne and Madeline, created artworks and frosted cookies.

In addition to children’s activities, the event offered a concert by k.d. lang and Siss Boom Bang with Franky Perez opening, and more than 1,500 partygoers passed through the tents beside the John Varvatos West Hollywood boutique.

Varvatos started the benefit because, he said, “I didn’t want to just open a store. I wanted to get involved in the community for the long term.” He said he chose Stuart House as a beneficiary after researching the program of the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, which treats young victims of sexual abuse.


“It upsets you physically to hear these children’s stories,” said Patrick Dempsey, the host along with his wife. “It’s so important to raise awareness, to make sure children know there is a place they can turn. And with all the cutbacks we’re seeing across the board, fundraisers like this are needed more than ever.”

Guests included David Schwimmer, Billy Idol, LL Cool J, Omar Epps, Melina Kanakaredes, Jayma Mays of “Glee,” J.K. Simmons of “The Closer,” and KaDee Strickland of “Private Practice,” as well as Jesse Williams, Justin Chambers, Kevin McKidd and Daniel Sunjata of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

With tickets selling for $200 each, organizers said proceeds topped $500,000.