first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Tony-award winning singer/actress Kristin Chenoweth headlined the concert, which also featured British thrush Julia Fordham. Fordham nearly stole the show when she teamed with 8-year-old Julia Rossotto on an impromptu duet of “I Want to Stay Home with You.” Also taking turns at the podium were Whitford’s “West Wing” co-stars Allison Janney and Joshua Malina. Peggy Dark’s Kitchen carried out the exotic theme with b’stilla, falafel with hummus; lamb satays; chicken and apricot tagine; saffron couscous; orange, date and watercress salad; roasted eggplant; all topped off with sorbets, chocolate mousse and a birthday cake for Michelle Butler, manager of Tiffany Pasadena who provided the popular raffle prizes: Tiffany blue gift boxes containing a crystal box for every donor – one of which held a blue ceramic box with a $5,000 gold and diamond starfish inside. KNBC-4 anchor Colleen Williams was the lucky winner. It was a love fest for Hollywood’s old and new. The cause, the celebration of a star whose charisma spanned generations, the late Merv Griffin. And how he would have loved it. It not only paid tribute to his career and generosity, but it also celebrated his legacy, the Young Musicians Foundation, an organization that he not only championed, but served as board chairman until shortly before his death last August. The occasion was the 53rd annual gala benefit for the orchestra held at Merv’s old digs, the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Oct. 19. Donanne Kasikci chaired the event, which raised more than $200,000. Griffin’s pal, Pebble Beach neighbor and golfing buddy Clint Eastwood took a brief break from the film set to present a special award to Griffin’s son, Tony, and his family – wife Tricia, son Donovan and daughter Farah. Choking back tears, Tony recalled, “Music was everything to my dad. When he was 4, my great-aunt Claudia taught him to play the piano and from that day forward he played every day of his life. Music had such a huge impact on him that it somehow wove its way through everything he did.” Joining in the tribute were YMF Interim Board Chairman Michael Gleason; Ryan Seacrest; Ty Treadway; Michael Feinstein; Katharine McPhee; violinist Stephanie Yu – winner of the YMF/Merv Griffin Memorial Scholarship; 16-year-old Canadian singer Cody Karey; Mort Lindsey – Griffin’s orchestra leader for more than 20 years – and the YMF Orchestra under the baton of Sean Newhouse, who performed Griffin’s hit “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” and Lindsey’s orchestral version of the “Jeopardy” theme. Among those spotted in the audience were YMF Executive Director Edye Rugolo; YMF Music Advisor David Weiss; Kenny G and his son Max; Anne Jeffreys; Ann Rutherford; Catherine Oxenberg and her daughter India; Jane Withers; Jayne Meadows; Jack Carter; Justin Chambers; Freda Payne; Pam Dawber; Laura San Giacomo; Paul Williams; Mitzi Gaynor and Lisa Williams. Charlotte Harrison, past chairwoman of the Huntington Hospital’s Fall Food and Wine event, was honored for her commitment to the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House at the third annual Shine on Monte Carlo Gala held Oct. 6 at Art Center’s South Campus (the Wind Tunnel) in Pasadena. More than 300 guests turned out for the soiree that featured country French cuisine and a showcase of vintage cars. The proceeds, which exceeded $120,000, will help fund “the home away from home” across the street from Huntington Hospital for families coming to Pasadena for advanced medical treatment for their critically or terminally ill children. For aficionados of historic California architecture, the annual Craftsman Weekend sponsored by Pasadena Heritage is a delightful wallow in the genre known as the Arts and Crafts Movement for which Pasadena is renowned. The 16th annual three-day event began Oct. 19 with tours of local Craftsman homes and continued through Oct. 21. A highlight of this year’s event was a Saturday night reception at one of Greene & Greene’s most magnificent residences, the Henry M. and Laurabelle Robinson House built in 1905-06 on the edge of the Arroyo Seco. This palatial masterpiece incorporating Japanese, English and Mission influences has been restored by its current owners, Mark Ledbetter, an electric sign manufacturer, and his multi-talented wife, Phaedra, who designed many of the home’s Craftsman-style appointments. A designer who specializes in food styling and resort photography, Phaedra is also a licensed interior designer, marriage and family therapist, horticultural therapist and is now completing her doctorate in clinical psychology. Following twilight tours of the house and garden with its stunning infinity pool, guests watched the sunset while sampling Chef Jennifer Naylor’s wine and Asian hors d’oeuvres. CELEBRATING MERV SHINE 16th CRAFTSMAN WEEKEND FOOTLIGHTERS Like many old-guard Southland philanthropic groups growing long in the tooth, The Footlighters, who will mark their 70th anniversary next year, have abandoned the lavish black-tie benefit ball format. “The cost of mounting an event like our annual Cabaret Ball and musical revue has become prohibitive,” said Footlighters President Mary Jo Blue. “The plethora of causes competing for the charity dollar, plus the challenge of filling a cavernous ballroom, and, yes, attrition in membership, has resulted in our members having to make dramatic changes in fundraising strategy.” Rather than fold their tent though, the members have launched a variety of small salon-style events to continue support of their philanthropies: the Footlighters Child Life Center at Harbor/UCLA Medical Center, A Place Called Home in South Central L.A. and a new program, Godparents for Youth, which transports children from low-income areas on educational trips out of gang-infested neighborhoods. Their most recent event, A Day at Oak Tree in the Directors Room at Santa Anita Park honoring longtime member Barbara Billingsley (a.k.a. “June Cleaver” of the long-running television series “Leave it to Beaver”), drew a slew of locals. Included were Jean and Dusty Blasiar, Marg Blasiar, Helen and Jerry Stathatos, Bea Stathatos, Dina and Bill Oldknow, Helen Lambros, Eileen and Bill Zimmerman, Beth Lochmueller, Lyn Spector, Shirley McGinley, Louise Bick, Patricia Martin, Joyce Ward and Renee Hanson. “We used to be known as the song and dance girls,” said Blue. “But as the world grows smaller, we’re focusing on broader subjects. We’ve already had a session on the role of women in Islamic; next is a seminar on stem cell research; and after the first of the year, we plan a tour of the Jet Propulsion Lab and some wild-life preserves in Southern California. “We may be the `old guard,”‘ noted Jean Blasiar, who chaired the Oak Tree event. “But we won’t be old hat. We’ve jettisoned the ball gowns and kid gloves – not to mention the taps and tights – but we will never abandon our commitment to our children’s charities.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Sam Nicholson’s Mediterranean villa in Pasadena was the setting for the second year for the annual benefit concert for Grace Center. More than 200 guests turned out for the glamorous Casablanca-themed evening honoring actress Jane Kaczmarek and her husband, actor Bradley Whitford, for their community activism. The San Marino couple has supported several local philanthropies including the center, a Pasadena-based sanctuary for victims of domestic violence. Established 11 years ago by Kitty Hall, Grace Center is now an affiliate of Five Acres, the 119-year-old child and family services agency that serves abused, neglected and at-risk children. Jane is also the founder of the Clothes Off Our Back Foundation, which auctions celebrity award-show finery to benefit children’s charities. Nicholson, who co-chaired the event along with Marilyn and John Wells and Diane Reed, noted that his shopping spree during a recent trip to Morocco was the inspiration for this year’s event. It raised more than $145,000 for the center’s programs. last_img