A lot of people who love Hollywood gathered for the Hollywood Arts Council’s 26th Annual Charlie Awards (named for Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin). It was held in the heart of Hollywood where the first Academy Awards were given out — the Blossom Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. And it was hard to determine the most enthusiastic person at the event, but the emcee George Pennacchio certainly was a strong contender. The ABC-7 entertainment guru has hosted the Charlie Awards for many years, showing his support for Project S.O.A.R. (Students Overcoming All Risks), which is the council’s arts program for underserved children in the community. “They do great work and everyone should check out their annual Children’s Festival of the Arts held each August at Paramount Studios,” he encouraged.
The awards luncheon put the spotlight on great honorees who have been casting a positive light on Hollywood. James Burrows got the inaugural Television Arts Award, presented by his good friend Ted Danson, who Burrows directed throughout the run of Cheers. Danson humbly thanked Burrows for his career, and then introduced clips from the litany of great shows Burrows has produced and directed. The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Frasier, Will & Grace, and currently Mike & Molly, are just a few of the great sitcoms that have seen Burrows at the helm.
When Hector Elizondo, who is currently seen in the ABC comedy Last Man Standing, presented the Theatre Arts Award to The Ricardo Montalban Theatre, he noted, “Theater saved my life.” He then went on to praise the legacy of the theatre that is the embodiment of the late Ricardo Montalban’s dream to have a place and a foundation to promote the performing arts.
Promoting the Hollywood Center Studios, Emmy-winning actress Mariette Hartley presented their Hollywood Arts Award to the place where I Love Lucy was filmed. In recent years, Hollywood Center Studios has continued to grow and modernize to support its television clientele, which includes Disney (The Wizards of Waverly Place) and HBO (True Blood).
Singer Tierney Sutton presented the Entertainment Arts Award to Cirque Du Soleil’s show Iris, which is playing at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland. Several colorful Iris characters were on hand to delight everyone attending the event.
George Pennacchio was especially proud to proclaim “I’m Italian,” and announce that the Cultural Arts Award was going to the Feast of San Gennaro Los Angeles. He gave credit to late night host Jimmy Kimmel for promoting the celebration of Italian culture, food, and entertainment, and saluted Kimmel’s late “Uncle Frank,” and also gave a nod to “Aunt Chippy” who was at the luncheon. Lee Meriwether made the presentation, and visiting from the Feast of San Gennaro Los Angeles was Norm Panto, accordion player extraordinaire, who got the crowd singing Italian classics.
Nyla Arslanian, president of the Hollywood Arts Council, gave L.A. Councilman Eric Garcetti a special recognition honor. Nyla said, “Although this is a celebration of creative accomplishment in Hollywood, it also serves as a reminder to our community that thousands of elementary school children here do not have access to art or artistic instruction. The Charlie Awards provide support for worthy and necessary community efforts.”
Also on hand were former childstar Margaret O’Brien, councilman Tom LaBonge, and Carol Connors (Rocky theme composer), who launched the luncheon singing “America the Beautiful.”