Chuck Lorre Pays Tribute to Leslie Moonves at Charity Gala
“I have enough money to say whatever the hell I want about Les Moonves,” joked the 'Two and a Half Men' showrunner.
When CBS CEO Leslie Moonves lends his efforts toward a cause, there are results.
The exec was honored with the Humanitarian Award at the Venice Family Clinic’s Silver Star Gala at the Beverly Wilshire, where $1.5 million was raised before guests started on the second course of the night.
“I have enough money to say whatever I want about Les Moonves,” said Chuck Lorre to an industry-packed crowd including Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kevin Tsujihara, Brian Grazer and Ted Sarandos.
Lorre spoke on Moonves' standout traits, describing him as a compassionate person and respectful business partner since they met 24 years ago when Lorre was a young staff writer and they lunched at Bob's Big Boy on Riverside Drive. Lorre also recounted that when his father-in-law was dying of terminal cancer, Moonves arranged for him to see Tiger Woods win the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
“My then father-in-law, and, yes, I’ve had a few father-in-laws,” joked Lorre. “I’m actually still looking for the right one.”
Moonves received his award from Lorre, who has supplied CBS with comedies including Mom, Two and a Half Men and the number one comedy on TV, The Big Bang Theory.
“I wouldn’t be standing on this stage if it wasn’t for Chuck Lorre,” said Moonves. “Overall the CBS television network wouldn’t be number one without Chuck Lorre’s phenomenal work over these last 15 years.”
“For those of us who know Chuck, he’s a hard guy to say no to aside from doing the renegotiation of The Big Bang Theory,” added Moonves. “Chuck and I had some interesting times during Two and a Half Men as you all may remember, but we’re still standing.”
Gina Rodriguez, Matthew Perry, Rob Friedman and Peter Fonda gathered in a room full of industry executives and agents to support Moonves receiving his honor.
“To all the actors who are out there, the writers and agents and producers, I want to congratulate the Venice Family Clinic,” Moonves said. “It was very smart to time this event in the middle of pilot season, when we are giving out favors or not.”
Moonves also expressed how grateful he is to have LL Cool J in the CBS family to host various TV specials this year, including the Grammys. LL Cool J served as master of ceremonies of the evening, noting of Moonves that “sometimes he’s the loving dad, sometimes he’s the Godfather.”
“He is CBS’ and the Moonves’ go-to guy,” Moonves said about LL Cool J. “I wish I knew him way back when. He would have come to do my kids' Bat Mitzvahs and I could have saved a couple of bucks.”
Moonves also noted that if Kanye West were to interrupt his speech he’s sure he could count on LL Cool J to “tackle him to the ground.”
Dr. Bill Resnick and his husband, Michael J. Stubbs, were recognized with the Irma Colen Leadership Award. The evening concluded with a musical performance by Josh Groban, who performed songs from the musical theater and film repertoire including “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Moonves noted that when tenor Andrea Bocelli was “difficult” to work with during Grammy rehearsals, Groban stood in for him and performed with Celine Dion. After Bocelli saw his “understudy,” he no longer had a problem showing up for rehearsals.