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With a swell of over 1,000 guests, including A-list celebrities, such as House of Lies star Don Cheadle, and industry elite, such as CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves, Monday evening’s Saban Community Clinic Gala delivered on its annual promise to toast and celebrate the free health-care institution’s biggest supporters.
But it was a guest who wasn’t in attendance – President Barack Obama – who had tongues wagging, traffic tied up for miles and metal detectors accenting the Beverly Hilton lobby, the hotel where the Commander in Chief was staying during his pass through Los Angeles.
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“Actually, President Obama should be here listening to this,” said Saban Community Clinic board member and attorney Tom Hoberman of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller as he recounted the clinic’s humble history, which began in 1967 with nothing more than a small band of volunteers. It is the longest continuously operating free clinic in the nation.
“And this year, we will offer 100,000 outpatient visits,” said his wife Ellen Hoberman, adding that the evening’s benefactors and guests— including Moonves and wife Julie Chen, UTA co-founder and director Peter Benedek, WME TV chief Rick Rosen, Lionsgate Television COO Sandra Stern and Showtime talent, including Lizzy Caplan, William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum and Kristen Bell— helped to raise $1.4 million to benefit the organization’s four Los Angeles-area clinics.
Previously known as the Los Angeles Free Clinic, the organization in 2008 changed its name in honor of a $10 million donation from Univision Communications chairman and Power Rangers creator Haim Saban and wife Cheryl.
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Attorney Eric Siegel received the Lenny Somberg Award, an annual commendation presented to volunteers for generous hours of service and advocacy for the organization, from his law-school classmate and close friend Bruce Rosenblum, president and television and digital media at Legendary Entertainment.
Following Siegel’s commendation, Bell and Cheadle welcomed comedian Sarah Silverman to the stage, who admitted she arrived too late to put her routine into the teleprompter.
“This is the perfect place to test new material, right?” she asked, scrolling through her iPhone for jokes that included: “I once spooned David Nevins during a pitch meeting, and he a took like a champ.” (The rest, involving gynecological exams and abortions, are a wee too salty to repeat here.)
Pop group The Fray eased the aftershock of Silverman’s absurd hilarity with a three-song set, including their – thematically poignant – hit “How to Save a Life.”
Following an introduction by his friend of 20 years, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Nevins closed out the night by accepting the Saban Friends Leadership Award and thanked the crowd for braving the painful POTUS-induced traffic to celebrate the occasion.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a more important institution in Los Angeles than the Saban Community Clinic,” said Nevins, especially in the era of Obama and the “uncertain rollout” of his health care initiative.
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