Man on a 'Mission'

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"We're here to honor a man who absolutely has lived a life of purpose," remarked News Corp.'s Peter Chernin before introducing honoree Tom Cruise during the inaugural L.A.'s Promise Gala, held Tuesday at the elegantly transformed Stage 5 on the Fox Studios lot in Century City.

Organized by Chernin's wife Megan, the event -- which raised $1.8 million for Mentor L.A., a nonprofit group dedicated to revitalizing Los Angeles schools and neighborhoods -- drew a who's who of top filmmakers, studio executives and agents.

During a short and heartfelt speech, Cruise lauded Megan Chernin, whom he called "an individual of high standards," as well as his personal mentor -- his mother -- who was in the audience.

Discussing the power of mentoring, Cruise remarked, "Mentoring invites a different reality to life and the potential of life." Other highlights of the evening included performances by Jay Leno and Kanye West, as well as Stevie Wonder, who had the audience dancing and applauding wildly.

The powerhouse crowd included producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Frank Marshall and fiancee Kathleen Kennedy, Fox's Jim Gianopulos, Tom Rothman, Tony Sella and Hutch Parker, Universal's Ron Meyer, Terry Semel of Yahoo! MGM's Harry Sloan and Rick Sands, HBO's Chris Albrecht, UTA's Jim Berkus, CAA's Rick Nicita and United Artists' Paula Wagner, CAA's Kevin Huvane, Endeavor's Ari Emmanuel, actors Orlando Bloom, Alessandro Nivola, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, directors Edward Zwick, J.J. Abrams, Marshall Herskovitz, Lawrence Kasdan and Cameron Crowe and wife Nancy Wilson and socialite and philanthropist Barbara Davis.
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