Lena Dunham, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Constance Zimmer Unite for Michael J. Fox Foundation
The event, sponsored by United Talent Agency and Management 360, raised over $96,000 for The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Lena Dunham, Constance Zimmer, Andrew Rannells, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Dana Delany, Michaela McManus and more headed to Sherman Oaks, Calif. on Saturday night to help raise money for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. The event, Raising the Bar to End Parkinson's, was hosted at Public School's fifth outpost, Public School 818, which opened to the public Monday, March 9.
Since its creation in 2001, The Michael J. Fox Foundation has raised over $450 million to speed a cure for the more than 5 million people living with Parkinson's disease.
"I have no idea who will be here yet, but I made sure to come for Michael and this great cause," Harry Hamlin told The Hollywood Reporter.
Although Michael J. Fox did not make it to the event, his closest friends joined together to reach their fundraising goals.
Many of the guests in attendance had a personal connection to the foundation, having family members living with Parkinson's disease, including Dunham's uncle, whom she cites as her hero. The Girls star took to Instagram after the event to share her appreciation for The Michael J. Fox Foundation and the awareness it has created.
Chelsea Kane (Baby Daddy) told THR, "My uncle is living with Parkinson's disease, and I've seen it progress over the past couple of years. It's not easy, and now just this last year, my nana was diagnosed, so it struck our family again."
This past year especially, film and television have been huge platforms for telling stories of people suffering from illnesses that are still without cures, including Still Alice focusing on Alzheimer's and Empire featuring a character with ALS.
"You can bring it right to their living rooms," added Kane. "If you're telling this about characters they care about, it's the next best thing to affecting them, if they're not dealing with it with a real family member."
McManus (Aquarius) said of using an illness to further a storyline: "If it's done really well and accurately, it's a great way to reach an audience."
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl), whose stepfather suffered from Parkinson's disease for years and recently passed away from other complications, said: "It really has to be portrayed accurately. There are so many stories to tell, but when it's done accurately, that's what really makes it effective and emotional. There's so much to tell — my stepfather had Parkinson's, and my father has Alzheimer's."
Said Delany (Desperate Housewives): "People make jokes about 'disease of the week' movies, but it really is a great educational tool. Even with Michael living and working on The Good Wife, he's showing that a disorder is not a death sentence."
Delany, who's working on Amazon Prime's Hand of God, also confessed her thrill with being a part of the new streaming landscape. "It's great you only do 10 episodes, so you can have a life, and the way anyone can watch it at any time is great. House of Cards helps me get out of bed; I watch it in the morning on the treadmill," she said.
Zimmer was quick to join in on the conversation about this season of the Netflix series. "I think if and when there is another season, I would love to come back, and I think there is room for us to come back," said Zimmer, who plays reporter Janine on House of Cards. "I think that's the point. This season is great in representing that you can't have it all, and in season four, I would hope that it would be good versus evil."
"Season three leaves you wondering, 'Who is going to take him down now?' " continued Zimmer. "We are all like, 'When are we coming back?' "
Also in attendance at the evening of cocktails and food provided by Public School 818 were Danielle Panabaker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Curtis Stone and wife Lindsay Price, Lea Thompson and Michael Trucco.
The event was sponsored by United Talent Agency, Management 360, NBCUniversal, HBO, Create Advertising, Warner Bros., Chernin Entertainment, Amblin/DreamWorks, Rothman Brecher Agency, Naegle Ink, A Casual Romance, Piller/Segan/Shepherd and Creative Artists Agency.