We were invited to attend a Texas Hold-Em/Casino Night Fundraiser to benefit the Caucus Foundation. This organization provides financial grants to student filmmakers to aid in completion of their work, and was chaired by Chuck and Ava Fries. Chuck is considered the "Godfather" of the TV movie; Small Sacrifices starring Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal, and Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean, are among his hits.

Movie Picture
Producer Chuck and Ava Fries

They were with their Westside friends, Denise Taylor Avchen and her attorney hubby Terry, who was featured on America's Best Lawyers. His lovely wife, Denise is very active in many charitable causes, including Westside Children's Services and on the Board of Directors of the Beverly Hills Education Foundation.

Movie Picture
Kato Kalin with actress Angel Tompkins

Meanwhile back at the poker tables, spotted Kato Kalin, and his beautiful date, actress Angel Tompkins. Kato recently was on the cover of Top Pair Magazine. Sorry folks, this wasn't a game of strip poker, which was detailed in that publication. And the winners were - as usual, Jennifer Tilly (Bride of Chucky) who won the Ladies Only No limit Texas Hold Em event at the World Series of Poker, and beat out 600 other women to take the championship. Maybe that's because her steady date is professional poker player Phil Laak (aka "the Unabomber) who she met at another charitable invitational poker tournament.

Movie Picture
Actor Richard Gilliand with his Emmy Nominated wife, Jean Smart

Also betting heavily on blackjack (perhaps to take her mind off her Emmy nomination as best supporting actress, was Jean Smart, who was with her actor hubby Richard Gilliand. Did you know he appeared with her on the hit series 24 in several episodes? But his smartest move he admits, was marrying Jean.

Movie Picture
Wolfgang Puck with Birthday Girl Madeline Gussman, Orin Kennedy & Bernardo Puccio at Spago

Madeline Gussman, Mother of 5 and grandmom to a gaggle of great kids, was given a surprise Birthday Bash at Spago by her dear friends, Bernardo Puccio and Orin Kennedy. There was no doubt which table on the sunlight patio was decorated by Bernardo, as he even brought along his own pink organdy tablecloths! Madeline and Marvin Gussman are long time Westside residents who have supported numerous charities including Save a Heart, The Thalians, and Sheba Hospital in Israel. Among the fortunate socialites selected to toast Madeline were her buddies Beverly Cohen, Joan Levine, Marianne Berman and yours truly. Even Wolfgang Puck, who is always so gracious, and greets all his patrons, was on hand to extend his good wishes.

Movie Picture
Mark Burnett, who will be feted at Operation Smile

Keep Sept 21 open for Operation Smile's 5th Annual Gala at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Honorary Co-Chairs include Senator John McCain, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the King of the Reality Show circuit. For more info, visit www.OperationSmile.org

Movie Picture
Jennifer Tilly with Poker Champ, Phil Laak

Another upcoming event of interest is the American Friends of Hebrew University's Scopus Award Gala. Jamie and Frank McCourt, owners of the L.A. Dodgers, and the Honorable Al Gore, will be honored at this black tie event at the Beverly Hilton. For ticket info, please call 310-843-3100. A most worthwhile event on the Hollywood Beat.

Cinemark Movie Club