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The 19th annual “Taste for a Cure” benefit gala raised more than $700,000 for UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center at the Beverly Wilshire Friday night, as a glittering crowd of Hollywood notables dined on a sumptuous menu paired with 14 distinguished vintages from six of France’s premier wine-making regions.
More than 450 guests listened as the evening’s co-chair, UTA managing director and Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation vice chair Jay Sures, spoke about his own father’s battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while under treatment at the UCLA facility. Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, was honored with the center’s Gil Nickel Humanitarian Award, which was named in memory of JCCF supporter Gil Nickel, proprietor of Napa Valley’s Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel and Dolce wineries. Nickel lost a battle against melanoma in 2003. Mosko spoke of cancer’s impact on his own family.
The event’s other co-chairs included Joe Cohen, Jon Holman, Larry Maguire, Gary Newman and Dana Walden. Among the participating entertainers were Glee’s Lea Michele and Darren Criss, How I Met Your Mother’s Alyson Hannigan, Community’s Joel McHale and actor/comedian Tom Papa. One of the evening’s highlights occurred when Criss asked who in the audience would donate to hear Michele join him on stage for a duet. Co-chair Dana Walden bid $5,000 and the pair performed a touching version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Other guests included Jennifer Grey, Clark Gregg, Gary Newman (chairman of 20th Century Fox Television), Michael Lynton (chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment), David Nevins (president of entertainment at Showtime), Jennifer Salke (NBC Entertainment president), Harry Friedman (executive producer of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune), Alex Trebek, Ryan Murphy (co-creator of Glee), Dante Di Loreto (executive producer of Glee), Yossi Dina (Beverly Hills Pawn), Judith Gasson (director of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center), Randy Katz (chair of JCCF’s board of directors), Scott Thompson (JCCF executive director), Beth Nickel (owner of Far Niente Winery and wife of Gil Nickel) and Erik Nickel (owner of Far Niente Winery and nephew of Gil Nickel).
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