On the Town: Marilyn Monroe sings for hospital CEO

Marilyn Monroe look-alike Ruth McNevin kicked off the Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation luncheon by singing “Happy Birthday” to Chief Executive Len LaBella. The bit was reminiscent of the real Marilyn singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy. Since Verdugo Hills Hospital has its own “president” in LaBella, those in the know got the joke.

On Friday, Women's Council members carried out their Marilyn Monroe theme with a silent auction basket of Marilyn memorabilia and a touch of the old Hollywood in the council room. Prospective Women's Council member Cherie Zaun used plenty of tinsel and streamers to decorate.

Opportunity prize and silent-auction winners were announced during a lunch of soup, salad and tarts. But the true star of the afternoon was the fashion show of spring ensembles from Holiday Hats and Gowns in Montrose. First on the runway was LaBella escorting foundation President Yulanda Davis-Quarrie. She was wearing tailored white pants and top with a turquoise jacket. Next to take a star turn was event chairman and Glendale resident Jill Haines. Jill wore a beige, large-brimmed straw hat and dress. She was also escorted by LaBella.

More fashion show stars were co-commentators Lynne Raggio and Gregory Zarian, son of the late former Glendale Mayor Larry Zarian. Gregory Zarian is host of Healthline on Charter Channel 380 and a model himself. Asked why he would give his time to Verdugo Hills Hospital, Gregory said, “My father was very fond of this hospital.”

Event Co-Chairman Sue Wilder of Glendale also modeled, accompanied by husband Steve Wilder. Earlier in the afternoon Sue reminded her audience about the luncheon and fashion show's growing popularity — from 45 people to 106 supporters today. She also estimated event proceeds at $4,000 earmarked for “whatever the hospital needs.”

A contingent of Glendale Soroptimists also was out in force. They were Paula Devine, just named YWCA Heart & Excellence honoree; Mona Marcos, Jacky Hawley and Janet Hamilton. Hamilton is the chairman of this year's “Bras for a Cause,” the brainchild of Glendale Soroptimist Kathy Lefkovits, also a 2012 YWCA “Heart & Excellence” honoree. “Bras for a Cause” will be held April 28.

The Cabrini Literary Guild trotted out its literary best at its Annual Awards for Creative Writing in front of about 70 members, guests and students.

On Thursday the recently refurbished Oakmont County Club was the setting for a luncheon honoring writing students from high schools in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

The students wrote creative essays answering the prompt quoting the words of Nelson Mandela, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.”

The first-place winner, receiving a $1,000 award, was Emma Collins of Immaculate Heart High School. Second place went to Elizabeth Medina from Sacred Heart High School. She received $750. In third place was Lizvett Malespin of Bishop Conaty-Loretto High School. She received a $500 award.

A fourth-place $350 award was earned by Maura Turcotte, a student at Immaculate Heart High School.

Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader columnist Patrick Caneday was the emcee and speaker. To the students he said, “You are a writer. Claim that title for yourself.”

Caneday presented the cash awards to the award recipients, including four Honorable Mention winners. They were Erica Hillard of Holy Family High School and, for Bishop Conaty-Loretto High School with three Honorable Mention winners, Bridget Martinez, Sara Arenas and Nadia Manzano. The four students won $100 each. Their English teacher Barbara Burgan, also at the awards ceremony, deserves an A-plus.

Judging the writing competition was Colleen Williams, Channel 4 News co-anchor; Mary Alice Wollam, Glendale Public Library senior supervisor; and Katherine Yamada, Glendale News-Press columnist.

The Cabrini Writing Awards Committee was made up of Writing Awards Director Patty Szot, Heather Ghermezian, Miryam Finkelberg and Laurie Leask.

The mission of the Cabrini Literary Guild is to assist, financially and otherwise, Catholic and charitable organizations.

Through activities, the guild stimulates interest in Catholic literature, thought, action and philanthropy.

RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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