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It turns out changing its name in 2008 from the Los Angeles Free Clinic to the Saban Community Clinic worked out well for the health provider that calls itself “the medical home for the underserved and uninsured.”
Walking into Monday evening’s 50th anniversary dinner at the Beverly Hilton honoring Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and UTA’s Peter Benedek, the clinic had already raised a record $4.4 million; it gathered another $200,000 during a live auction, and then patrons Haim and Cheryl Saban decided to kick up the ante — they matched what was raised, and suddenly this was a $9.2 million night.
During the reception, Haim Saban said he’d become a supporter of the clinic because “when I was growing up in Israel, eggs were rationed but there was universal healthcare. When I moved to France, they had free healthcare. The same when I moved to Germany. And when I came to the United States, the richest country in the world, I was told there were 47 million people without medical coverage. I was like, what’s going on? And that’s why I contribute.”
Co-chair Ellen Hoberman said the 50th anniversary celebration was “an especially important night because it comes at a time when the administration has voted three times this year to take healthcare away from millions of people. And at a time when Washington is taking away, we’re expanding. Thank God for us!”
The dinner began with a speech by Michelle Phillips, who directed some of her remarks (which she called “a walk down memory lane”) toward Lou Adler, who she said helped support the clinic in its early days with money raised from the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival that he co-produced and where Phillips’ group The Mamas & the Papas performed. (For his part, Adler said creating the clinic was “all about need and fulfillment.”)
Among those listening in the 1,000-seat crowd were Jim Gianopulos, Peter Roth, Kathy Ireland, Howard Weitzman, Jeff Shell, Dee Rees, Irving Azoff, James L. Brooks, Vince Vaughn and Eric Idle.
The honoring of Benedek with the Lenny Somberg Award began with remarks from UTA’s David Kramer and Jay Sures, who had both been his assistant, which they said gave them “front-row seats at the Peter Benedek show” and said Benedek’s “generosity is embossed in his DNA.”
LL Cool J introduced a mini-documentary on a clinic client and his struggle with homelessness before the Sabans‘ turn on the podium.
“We need to do our part about healthcare until Washington gets its act together,” said Saban. “And good luck on that.”
Jeff Garlin began the introduction of Sarandos, but detoured to mention that he only knew Haim Saban “from bad TV” and then discussed Power Rangers at length. Norm MacDonald began his remarks about Sarandos by saying, “I could read you a list of Ted’s generosity, but this is neither the time nor the place.”
There couldn’t have been a better choice of entertainment than Tony Bennett (Sarandos is such a fan he named his son Tony Bennett Sarandos), who did a set of his classics ending with, of course, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
Before Sarandos spoke, there was the showing of a sleek, clever video shot at the “secret Netflix content lab 5,000 ft. below its headquarters” that showed the exec reading a book called Hollywood 101 and trying to figure out what to do next.
The actual award presentation was made by Stranger Things‘ Winona Ryder, who pretty much summed up the evening by saying, “It’s the best part of Hollywood that comes together for something like this.”
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