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He may be one of the most beloved men in Hollywood, but don’t tell CAA’s Bryan Lourd how much everyone loves him. And definitely don’t try to give him an honor.
“I’ve resisted this for a long time,” the ever modest superstar agent said to THR exclusively, at the beginning of cocktails at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall for the American Songbook Gala that honored him — and raised $2.75 million dollars, twice as much as it ever has. “But I couldn’t turn them down; it’s a great institution and I couldn’t say no. Am I embarrassed? Yes! Am I nervous about giving a speech? Yes! I will have a good time tonight — when this is over, and I can just hang out with my friends. I have no idea what we’re going to see tonight — and I’m not sure I want to know! They kept it a complete surprise from me.” Not an easy thing to do, particularly if you’re represented by CAA.
And this man has a lot of friends. They came from Los Angeles (Warner Bros.’ Sue Kroll and Blair Rich, both in Dolce & Gabbana), David Geffen, Barry Diller, Ron Meyer, Amy Pascal, Bryan’s brother Blaine Lourd and wife Crystal Moffet Lourd (in chic Tom Ford white silk), Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth, Matt Bomer and Simon Halls (Lourd’s college roommate); from Louisiana (Lourd’s proud mom, who flew in for a few days); and of course New York: Lourd was feted with a surprise performance organized by other CAA agents and by theater director Joe Mantello — it featured Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alan Cumming, Broadway star Norbert Leo Butz, Marisa Tomei, Patricia Clarkson, Allison Williams, Ellen Barkin, Kristen Chenoweth, Andy Cohen, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. Matthew Broderick was on the playbill, but is shooting a film and could not get away, much to his regret. UTA client Gwyneth Paltrow was in the audience, in a chic, black, sequined cocktail dress with long sleeves. “I’m just a guest tonight!” she laughed. “I’m not singing in this crowd.” Witherspoon also wore a black cocktail dress, a Valentino with an illusion neckline. “I’m loving everything Valentino does these days,” she admitted. And Kevin Huvane, who runs CAA with Lourd, was patting everyone on the back. “Bryan is my brother,” he pronounced in the most heartfelt way. It seemed to be the sentiment of the evening. Jimmy Fallon wafted through the crowd at the dinner after, only to be congratulatd every two seconds for his impending Tonight Show debut.
All the songs performed on stage Monday night were odes to Broadway and New York, with the event set in what was said to be a re-creation of Lourd’s Manhattan penthouse. Who knew that one of film’s and TV’s biggest agents was such a theater lover? Turns out, he is a fan of show tunes, plays, musicals, the works. The actors on stage were all situated on sofas and divans, with a bartender bringing them cocktails as if they were late-night crooners in a New York jazz club (Maria’s Crisis in the Village is apparently Lourd’s fave). While those who can croon did: Hathaway, of course, but who knew Allison Williams could sing so well? Cummings performed a Broadway tune, as did Parker, but the biggest surprise of the night might have been Lourd’s 21-year-old daughter, NYU student Billie Lourd (daughter of Lourd and Carrie Fisher, now blonde and long-legged), who sang a duet with Bomer, Neil Young‘s “Old Man.” Word is, she’s thinking of taking her obvious musical talent seriously when she gets out of school. Tomei spoke about Lourd living in her building in New York, and him being wise enough to read her soul in the elevator. “And Bryan,” she added, “can I have a ride home tonight? If not, see you in the elevator.”
“I am Ellen Barkin,” said the actress, now a die-hard New Yorker, as she strode onto the stage in a chic black silk trousers and blouse ensemble. “And I am Bryan Lourd’s best friend. Of course, he has many best friends. Everyone’s his best friend. It would make me mad, if he wasn’t so wonderful.”
“I DO have a lot of best friends,” Lourd admitted, after Daniel Craig presented him with his honor, after the songs were sung. “It’s embarrassing. But I love all of them. I didn’t want to do this, but I’m really glad I did.”
A Louisiana-style dinner of shrimp and mac and cheese was served after, in the lobby of Alice Tully Hall.
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