Who knew that the best audience for a joke about a doctor would be a ballroom full of physicians and hospital personnel? But that’s what director Richard Donner found out when he told this rib-tickler. “A man walks into a doctor’s office and says, ‘Doctor, I think I’m a moth.’ The doc tells him, ‘You don’t need an MD, you need a psychiatrist, why did you come here?’ The man replies, ‘Your light was on!”
There were roars of laughter from the medical community folks and celebrities who came to the Beverly Wilshire hotel to support the annual gala for the Women’s Guild Cedars-Sinai. Donner wasn’t doing a stand-up routine for the crowd, he was there to be honored, along with his wife, mega-producer Lauren Shuler Donner, both receiving the organization’s Hollywood Icon Award.
Both Richard and Lauren have been “energetic philanthropists supporting women’s health and children’s safety, the environment and other vital causes,” according to Cedars-Sinai’s chairman Lawrence Platt and president-CEO Thomas Priselac. The Hollywood Icon Award was well chosen for the Donners. Lauren Shuler Donner has been producing genre-defining films for thirty years, from the original Brat Pack movies to the super-hot X-Men franchise. And fun-loving Richard Donner is a director and producer renowned for creating classics like the Superman and the Lethal Weapon series.
Super-cool actor Gerard Butler presented the honor to the Donners. “Their films have grossed multi-billions at the box office. On a personal note, I wouldn’t be standing her if it weren’t for them. With the movie Timeline they gave me my first big-budget leading role, and in return I gave them the biggest flop of their impressive careers,” Butler said, clowning around with his good friends.
Everyone was having a good time at the event hosted by Will Arnett, star of the new sitcom The Millers on CBS. Entertainment flowed throughout the evening, opening with the UCLA Gospel Choir, and then a special showcase by the Los Angeles Ballet featuring a pas de deux from The Nutcracker. The exquisite night ended with a concert by Grammy-winning artist LeAnn Rimes, who rocked the ballroom with a powerful performance of her hits. She dedicated the great country song “Life Goes On” to all the doctors in the room. And one special doctor stood out among them, Robert McKenna, Jr. MD, director of thoracic surgery who was honored with the Medical Visionary Award, presented by Dr. Paul Noble.
Notables on hand were gala chair Wendy Goldberg, and co-chair Barbara Herman, plus Women’s Guild president Loretta Gross. Among celebrity guests were actress Jennie Garth, announcing lucky raffle winners, stunning Jane Fonda, handsome Eddie Cibrian, Morgan Fairchild (The Bold and the Beautiful), Ali Fedotowsky (E! correspondent), Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty, Covert Affairs), and his lovely actress wife Anel Lopez. The event raised over a million dollars to benefit hospital projects, and Dr. McKenna, known for his pioneering efforts in the field of lung disease and thoracic surgery, appreciated the Women’s Guild support of Cedars’ Lung Institute.
The best line of the night came from host Will Arnett who quipped, “Richard and Lauren Shuler Donner’s thrilling movies take your breath away, and Dr. McKenna fixes your lungs so you can breathe again.” And the hunky star of Olympus Has Fallen and 300, Gerard Butler, with his charming Scottish accent and ladies’ man reputation, had every gal swooning as he mingled around long after the concert ended. Talk about taking your breath away.