By Frank Barron
Greeting guests as they arrived at the Hollywood Arts Council’s 25th annual Charlie Awards luncheon was a life-like wax figure of Larry King. At the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the real Larry King was soon standing next to his wax double, and his beautiful wife Shawn joked that it was hard to tell them apart. The statue was flown in from Madame Tussauds in Washington, D.C., and will be on display at Tussauds’ Hollywood Museum for awhile.
There was also a Charlie Chaplin wax figure on the stage for the namesake Charlie Awards, which honors individuals and companies for their significant contributions to the arts and to the Hollywood community. President of the Hollywood Arts Council Nyla Arslanian said the organization believes that the arts revitalize people as well as communities. And the council has sponsored the Project S.O.A.R. after-school art programs in elementary classes, as well as the annual Children’s Festival of the Arts in August.
It takes a lot of good people and good companies to make it all happen, and some of the best were on hand. The event’s emcee was George Pennacchio, KABC Channel 7’s “Entertainment Guru.” Pennacchio was the master of keeping the classy awards ceremony running smoothly, and giving everyone a wonderful moment of recognition. He even gave a shout out to The Tolucan Times and Margie Barron’s column. The inaugural presentation of the Literary Arts Award went to L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future, which encourages creative young talent, according to the dedicated Joni Labaqui of Author Services Inc.
Alec Mapa gave the Theatre Arts Award to the Celebration Theatre, its artistic director Michael Sheppard and managing director Michael Kricfalusi. Michael Cory Davis presented the Architectural Arts to the LaBelle at Hollywood Tower. Stunning former “Catwoman” Julie Newmar handed out the Community Arts honor to the Nine O’Clock Players/ Assistance League of Southern California.
The wonderful team of Joseph Bologna and wife Renee Taylor gave out the Entertainment Arts Award to Hollywood’s Starline Tours, making it a proud moment for Starline’s president Vahid Sapir and v.p. Fred Sapir. LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge appeared and hopped on stage to praise the head of Hollywood’s Starline Tours. Connie Stevens gave the Hollywood Arts Award to Sunset Gower Studios’ president of Hudson Pacific Properties Howard Stern, and Christopher Barton.
Human Target star Mark Valley presented the Media Arts Award to Larry King, who regaled the crowd with great stories from his 54 year career in broadcasting. With “New York, New York” playing in the background, the Brooklyn-born King told everyone “I’m so proud to be part of the Hollywood community. I love seeing the Starline Tours. I see them and wave to the tourists. I want to thank the Hollywood Arts Council; it’s really a joy to be here. I know it’s an older group, and I’m one of the younger members here. By the way, my CNN people are here, my senior executive producer Wendy Walker who will be producing my specials.” King added that he has a lot planned for the future.
Oscar Arslanian, publisher of Discover Hollywood Magazine, produced the Charlie Awards, and composer Carol Connors wearing a “Rocky” prizefighter hoodie (remember she wrote the “Rocky” theme), kicked off the ceremony by singing “America The Beautiful.” Also on hand were Chamber of Commerce chairman Sam Smith, Kate Linder, Deanna Lund, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Kat Kramer and Karen Sharpe Kramer, among other notables. Publicity was handled by Steve Moyer who was everywhere, working hard to corral everyone to make sure the special moments were captured by the band of photographers.
Congratulations to all the Charlie Award recipients and the Hollywood Arts Council for their contributions to our community through the arts.