Fran Drescher Honored at American Cancer Society's California Spirit Benefit

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Sherry Lansing (left) and Fran Drescher

Honorary event chairs Sherry Lansing, Phil Rosenthal and Bill Chait were on hand at the annual foodie-favorite event, held on the Sony lot.

The Sony lot was transformed into a gourmet garden party on Sunday for the American Cancer Society's 32nd annual California Spirit event. Guests were greeted by a melodic harp player and flutes of pink champagne served on silver trays, and for one day the madness of a studio backlot became as serene as a country club.

A dozen tasting booths from premiere Los Angeles restaurants, including BOA, Fig and Olive, Bouchon Beverly Hills, and Roku, dotted the grounds and served guests small plated delicacies such as dry aged steak, grilled shrimp skewers and spicy Thai rib-eye salad.

Sherry Lansing, who has been involved with the American Cancer Society since its inception 32 years ago, told The Hollywood Reporter what inspires her to be a leader in the organization for over three decades. 

“It’s the survivors. When you realize everything that everyone goes through to battle this disease, and it gives you hope. You see the survivors who have incredible courage, and if they can survive, so can everybody,” she said.

Honorary event chairs Lansing, Phil Rosenthal and Bill Chait were all on hand to honor Fran Drescher, a cancer survivor who has written a best-selling book, Cancer Schmancer, as well as starting her own foundation to help combat the disease.

Drescher spoke about how her cancer diagnosis had allowed her to rediscover a sense of meaning in her own life. “One of the silver linings has been that I’ve been on this path of purpose, and turning your pain into purpose can be healing. And it helps to make sense out of the senseless.”

Drescher has made combating cancer and educating people about its causes her life's work, and she told THR about the importance of healthy eating with her trademark acerbic sense of humor.

“If you eat a strawberry that’s not organic, you might as well be eating a sponge soaked in pesticides. That fruit doesn’t even have skin on it, so whatever it's sprayed with goes right into the meat of the fruit," she said.

The former Nanny star became increasingly passionate as she spoke to the need for everyone to take responsibility for making the best preventative choices for their health: “We have to make the barometer for our consumerism to be that whatever we buy should be made with ingredients that could have been grown in your grandmother's garden 50 years ago and nothing else.”

After Drescher's rousing acceptance speech, guests were served Sprinkles cupcakes for dessert and participated in a live auction that included a cocktail party and private movie screening at Lansing's home.

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