Hollywood Turns Out to Celebrate Disney Hall's 10th Anniversary

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Julie Andrews

Sherry Lansing and her husband, film and opera director William Friedkin, Norman Lear, Julie Andrews, Ron Meyer and Albert Brooks were among those attending.

There were stars in the audience and stars falling from the ceiling in downtown’s Walt Disney Concert Hall this week, as Los Angeles celebrated 10 years of its now iconic civic symbol and the superstar architect who conceived and designed it — Frank Gehry.

Former studio head Sherry Lansing and her husband, film and opera director William Friedkin, were among the A-list Hollywood attendees, as were Ron Meyer and Jerry Perenchio, who carpooled in together from Malibu for the Oct. 1 event.

In a way, Disney Hall is the entertainment industry’s singular contribution to L.A.’s high culture, since the impetus to build it came when Walt Disney’s widow, Lillian, donated $50 million — the largest single contribution to the arts in city history — to construct a new home for the world-class Los Angeles Philharmonic. Later, when it seemed construction would falter over whether there was enough money to pay Gehry to complete the final construction documents, the Disney family stepped in with additional donations.

With that in mind, the evening closed with a performance of "When You Wish Upon a Star" as photo portraits of Lillian and Walt Disney were projected onto three large hanging screens and silver stars rained down on the audience.

Lansing called the entire evening, which featured performances by the orchestra under the direction of superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel and soloist Yo-Yo Ma, “magical” and said the finale “brought me to tears.” She wasn’t alone.

Others attending included Pritzker Prize winner Gehry, Norman and Lyn Lear, Julie Andrews, Scott Bakula, Angela Bassett, Eli and Edythe Broad, Albert Brooks, Ty Burrell, Diane Disney Miller, Michael and Jane Eisner, Ben Harper, Cheyenne Jackson, Jason Lee, Matthew Lillard, Sergio Mendes, Chris O’Donnell, William Shatner and composer-conductor John Williams.