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Chris Rock with Starlight kid, Brenda
Of all the roles he has cast, the one most coveted by Steven Speilberg is “Dad”. To this end, he serves as Chairman Emeritus of Starlight Foundation, which offers programs for seriously ill children and their families. “I’m a father myself, so I’ve tried to do whatever I can over the years for this group” he stated in accepting his Swarovski Award from several of the Starlight kids.

He even persuaded Chris Rock to serve as MC for the gala, which raised over $1.5 million. Despite stating he was more nervous than when he hosted the Oscars, Rock was his usual irreverent self and stated, “I know this is a great cause, and Steven is one of the nicest guys in the business, but be honest: A lot of you are here to kiss Steven and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s ass.”

He also congratulated American Idol’s Tamyra Gray, who belted out two scorching songs from her new album, and said, “She’s like Whitney Houston, before the crack.” Rock was so moved by the mission, he purchased a diamond ring for his Mom ($25,000) during the live auction

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Spielberg, Grey, Lauren, Hatcher
Another celebrity participant was Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives), who offered herself, and Desperate hunk James Denton, for a private lunch for four, and garnered $100,000 from an anonymous bidder. Hatcher promised: “It will be the best lunch of your life. I will make sure of it.” Sure would like to be a fly on the wall at this luncheon.

The evening was particularly rewarding to disabled teenage Lauren Henderson, who aspires to write and make movies, when Speilberg offered a six week internship on his next flick. Spielberg summed up the evening by saying “I’ve never felt so embraced and warm as I feel tonight.”

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Steven Spielberg with Teri Hatcher
Save Sunday, May 1st when the Actor’s Fund brings their classic film reading series to the Pantages with Casablanca. Tony Award winner Peter Hunt will direct, and we can’t wait to learn who will portray “ Rick” The casting is bound to be extraordinary. Last year’s all star reading of Sunset Boulevard featured Anjelica Houston, Patrick Wilson and Sir Ben Kingsley as “ Max von Mayerling”. Wouldn’t it be great if Ingrid Bergman’s daughter, Isabella Rossellini could play the role of “Ilsa?” Tickets prices begin at $250 and funds raised will assist needy members of the entertainment community. For info, please call 323-933-9244 x 54. “Here’s looking at your kid” for this one time only event on the Hollywood Beat.