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One year ago, Our House Grief Support Center honored Melissa Rivers with a special award, thus launching a relationship with the star as an ambassador for the Los Angeles-based organization. On Nov. 1, just two months shy of the sudden death of her mother, Joan Rivers, Melissa made her first public appearance since the funeral, stepping out to co-emcee Our House’s annual gala.
The event — held at the Skirball Cultural Center — drew 500 supporters and raised north of $640,000 to fund the mission and programs of Our House, which offers grief support services, education and resources to both children and adults who are grieving the death of someone close to them. TV host Andrew Krasny stood alongside Melissa as co-emcee.
“About seven weeks ago, I lost my mother,” Melissa told the gala crowd, following the statement up with a lighter sentiment. “And I feel like I’m in the Hair Club for Men ad. Not only am I the ambassador, but I’m a client too, now.”
Our House honored Melissa in 2013 with the Good Grief Award to spotlight how gracefully she handled the death of her father, Edgar Rosenberg, and her truthfulness in speaking out about the importance of grief support. “[Melissa] was incredibly beautiful and strong,” said Our House executive director Michele Prince about Saturday night. “She knew that we are a room full of people who love and support her and I think she felt that.”
The night’s highest honor, the Founder’s Award, went to Sheri Rapaport for her work with Our House. Other honorees included the Wells Fargo Foundation and HBO’s Emmy-winning documentary One Last Hug: Three Days at Grief Camp.
A silent auction featured celebrity artwork from supporters including Anthony Hopkins, Calista Flockhart, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew Perry, Reba McEntire, the cast of Mike & Molly and others. Dancing With the Stars standouts Karina Smirnoff and Tony Dovolani opened the evening with a duet in honor of close friend Matthew Geffner, a former Our House volunteer.
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