“It’s a good day with good friends enjoying good golf,” George Lopez told me as soon as I arrived to support a great cause, the Seventh Annual George Lopez Celebrity Golf Classic presented by Sabra Salsa. It was a beautiful day at Lakeside Golf Club, which is just a nine iron away from George’s Toluca Lake home. The comic star said, “I’m here all the time, but today’s special.”
What made it special is that on a sunny Cinco de Mayo a whole bunch of buddies came out to play a round of golf to benefit the Lopez Foundation. Looking super-cool in plaid Bermuda shorts ready to play was Samuel L. Jackson who said he was happy to support Lopez and his efforts to help “the kidney kids.” Toluca Lake neighbors Andy Garcia and Joe Mantega were on hand. Other celebrity golfers included Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Pesci, Anthony Anderson, Tommy Chong, Dondre Whitfield, actor-comic (and 23-year Marine veteran) Rob Riggle, The Apprentice alumna Omarosa Manigault, producer Ken Corday, musician Jeffrey Osbourne, and baseball great Tony LaRussa.
There was a mini reunion of the Home Improvement castmates with Tim Allen, Richard Karn, and Debbe Dunning, swapping hugs before the shotgun start. The tournament format was “Two Man Modified Best Ball” of five-somes with full handicap.
Probably the best golfer swinging that day was Alfonso Ribeiro, of Fresh Prince fame who is now in demand as a director. Alfonso bragged. “I’m a two handicap and I love playing Lakeside. I love its Hollywood history and I make my home here.” More of a duffer, but equally as happy to be part of the fun day was Wilmer Valderrama, who got his start on That ‘70s Show. Now Wilmer is racking up some impressive credits as a producer (including the kids show Handy Mandy). He explained, “I’ve played in George’s tournament before. I’m not a good golfer but I want to help a great cause.”
There was a lot of support for the sold out golf classic that will help the Lopez Foundation’s mission “to create positive, permanent change for underprivileged children, adults and military families confronting challenges in education and health, as well as increasing community awareness about kidney disease and organ donation,” according to George.
Lopez was especially grateful for the longtime support of Gavin Keilly, founder of GBK Productions which was hosting a very sporty luxury gift lounge in Lakeside’s grand dining room. The celebrity golfers were treated to special gifts and gourmet treats from the luxury brands including: awesome sportswear from Margaritaville Apparel; dazzling custom cufflinks from Made-Of-Stone, Luxury Men’s Shirts; MOCSOCS’ clever No-Show anti-slip socks; Burke Williams exclusive H2V skin care line; Millenium International Travel; Alandales Men’s Clothing gift certificate; GloDea’s stylish X36 lounge chair; Herringbone restaurant at the Mondrain; Mukul Beach Golf & Spa on the Emerald Coast of Nicaragua; Milena’s Candles; David Barton Gym memberships; BestofLegacy, the ultimate scrapbooks for celebrities; and Curtis & Co.’s limited edition time pieces with a special design for the George Lopez Celebrity Golf Classic.
Golfers sampled delicious treats from gourmet sponsors including: the ultra-yummy Barry’s Gourmet Brownies; a selection of savory snacks from Sabra; Ripped Cream; North Shore Goodies Home of The Original Coconut Peanut Butter; RealBeanz all natural iced coffee drink; Le Pop Shop’s delicious Macarons and Cake Pops; and Stafford’s Famous Chocolates. Following the tournament, there was a silent and live auction benefiting the Lopez Foundation.
Since its beginning the George Lopez Celebrity Golf Classic has raised over two million dollars to fund The Children’s Summer and Fall Transplant Camps, San Fernando Elementary School Toy Drive, and military programs.
George also keeps busy with his career. A multi-talented entertainer, Lopez’s career encompasses television, film, and standup comedy. He just wrapped up the sitcom Saint George for the FX Network, and before that he hosted the late-night television talk show Lopez Tonight for two seasons. He did The George Lopez Show for six seasons on ABC, co-creating, writing, producing and starring in the groundbreaking sitcom that is now a hit in syndication.
Lopez most recently released his second book, the memoir “I’m Not Gonna Lie and Other Lies You Tell When You Turn 50,” where he tells the unabashed and hilarious truth about aging. What helps the 53-year-old funny man feel young nowadays? “There’s nothing better than hitting a good golf shot.”