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On the Town: Stars compete with pets for ‘Best in Show’

On the Town: Stars compete with pets for ‘Best in Show’
Loretta Swit was among the 350-plus who paid tribute to the Search Dog Foundation during Saturday’s Celebration of Caring fundraiser.
(Photo by David Laurell)

In homage to the 2000 feature film “Best In Show,” Actors and Others for Animals presented a parody of the hit movie at its annual “Celebration of Caring” fundraiser luncheon held at the Universal Hilton Hotel and Towers this past Saturday.

Stars of the film, Fred Willard and Jim Piddock, reprised their roles, serving as commentators as the animal welfare organization staged its own best-in-show competition that pitted the pets of numerous celebrities against one another with their owners making comedic pitches and showing video presentations on their behalf.

More than 350 members and supporters were welcomed to the event by the group’s president, JoAnne Worley, vice president, Loretta Swit, and executive director, Susan Taylor.

Following a cocktail reception, lunch and a performance by the Plaids of “Forever Plaid,” the assemblage enjoyed the program emceed by television personality Michael Burger and starring celebrity pet owners Leonard Maltin, Susan Sullivan, Ed Begley Jr., Allie MacKay, Jay Johnson, Bernie Shine, Tippi Hedren, Chuck McCann, Charlotte Rae, Ruta Lee and Earl Holliman.


The day also saw the Search Dog Foundation presented with the 2013 Actors and Others for Animals Betty White Inspirational Award and the Award of Caring bestowed upon Kathleen Riordan and Bonnie Garner for their work in protecting and caring for companion animals.

Among the Burbankers and supporters from all over Southern California who made Saturday’s event a success were George Pennacchio , Harlan Boll, Michael Stern, Steve Bluestein, Cory Carter, Larry Fazio, Kelly Lange, Richard Horvitz, Jackie Joseph, Joyce Miller, Wink and Sandy Martindale, Page Layne Miller, Hope Mulbarger, Julia Szkiba-O’Connor, Adriana Quinn, Paul Sassa, Clara Tortomasi, Jaime Monroy, Mary Willard, Parker Williams, Greg Wilson and members of the Burbank Jaycees including Kevin Alson, Elana Helgesen, Jacqueline Lewis and Amy Dalton.

Founded in 1971, Actors and Others for Animals provides spay/neuter and medical subsidies for low-income pet guardians, along with pet-assisted therapy, humane education and other needed services.

It also runs SpayCalifornia, a statewide, low-cost spay and neuter referral service. In 42 years, Actors and Others for Animals has been responsible for altering more than 500,000 animals and continues to influence the protection and care of companion animals.


For more information about the North Hollywood-based organization, its future events and how you can be of help to its cause, visit


DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at or (818) 563-1007.