Super Role Models at Big Brothers/Big Sisters Gala
The luminaries at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles Big Bash Gala were certainly powerful superheroes in Hollywood, but it wasn’t Superman, Batman, Ironman, or even Thor who were on hand. Instead the spotlight was on Roy P. Disney, who continues his family’s wonderful legacy, and received a special honor presented by Bob Iger who is now at the helm of the Walt Disney Company. Plus Paramount Pictures’ Megan Colligan, got The Sherry Lansing Award from former Paramount chief Sherry Lansing and vice chairman of Paramount Pictures Rob Moore, and they kidded about acknowledging great mentors while Bad Grandpa was topping the weekend box office for the studio.
Yes, the Beverly Hilton was packed with the industry’s movers and shakers, but also shapers of young lives, which is the goal of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater LA. The awards always recognize individuals who are positive role models for young people. And the dedicated people behind it are also amazing and caring superheroes, such as BBBSLA’s Mary Willard and Tiffany Siart, plus Cynthia Bengtson-Budzyn, who was honored with the Trailblazer Award for her philanthropic achievements for Big and Little Sisters.
Also enjoying the event they support so tirelessly were Pam Dawber and Sarah Purcell (who co-chaired with Sandy Bilson). Other notables included JoAnne Worley who always lights up a room with her cheery smile and warmth, Markie Post, Alice and Leonard Maltin, composer Richard Sherman and his wife Elizabeth, Rick Baker, Fred Willard, Robert Ri’chard, Victoria Ullman, and singer Jensen McRae.
OMG Insider’s super-likable co-host Kevin Frazier was the emcee for the gala at the Beverly Hilton. He praised the program that brings inspiring mentors together with at risk youths, but joked about the Big Brothers and Big Sisters not being around for “that girl Lindsay (Lohan) and that guy Justin (Bieber).”
The evening featured a performance by Jodi Benson, who sang songs from her signature role as Ariel in the Disney’s musical blockbuster The Little Mermaid. Jodi told the crowd that she was proud to have been a “Big Sister” and mentored a “Little” when she was in high school. She says, “It was an amazing experience. The memories last a lifetime.”
It was an ideal choice to give the Walt Disney Man of the Year Award to Roy P. Disney (chairman, CEO and founder of The Apogee Companies) in honor of the Disney family’s intergenerational support of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Roy’s wife Sheri was there cheering for him. “In 1955 my great uncle, Walt Disney and Meredith Wilson founded Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles to help ensure the well being of boys growing up without fathers in Los Angeles,” said Roy, the father of five. Roy now serves on the board of BBBSLA.
We chatted on the red carpet and he told me about the fun he’s had living in Toluca Lake, and a very special home he had right on the lake. “It’s always been a great neighborhood, and so close to the studio,” said Roy, who helped found the Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council, and was president of the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce. The proud son of Walt Disney Studios’ late Animation President Roy E. Disney, and grandson of studio founder Roy O. Disney, is also actively involved with the Disney Family Cancer Center and Providence Saint Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank. Roy P. Disney beamed when he talked about his passion for sailboat racing, along with helping others. What-a-guy!