Jeffrey Katzenberg, Mariah Carey Honor Brett Ratner at Silver Circle Gala
Host Larry King, Anthony Michael Hall and Dermot Mulroney were also in attendance at the Monday night event, which raised over $1.5 million.
The Beverly Hilton was packed Monday evening with guests in attendance at the Venice Family Clinic Silver Circle Gala, where film director-producer Brett Ratner, known for his work on such films as X-Men: The Last Stand and The Revenant, was honored with the clinic’s Humanitarian Award.
Each year, the clinic awards a philanthropic individual in the entertainment industry for their involvement with the organization and contributions towards the clinic’s cause. Past recipients include producer Judd Apatow and CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves.
"Brett has done amazing work, especially on the Westside, for homeless clients," Venice Family Clinic CEO Elizabeth Benson Forer said at the event. "We serve about 24,000 individual patients each year and 15 percent are homeless, and he has really been very dedicated at working with local agencies on the Westside to help the homeless."
Only minutes into the evening, the gala had already raised more than $1.4 million, while a silent auction continued to bring in an influx of donations as well. The event was hosted by longtime talk-show host Larry King, who took every opportunity he could to poke fun at the evening’s honoree.
“We’re honoring a wonderful man this evening, Brett Ratner — what can we say about him that hasn’t been said. Across the miles, across the country, across the world, Brett Ratner knows everybody, and that annoys a lot of people, because Brett Ratner is one of the most famous name-droppers of all time,” King joked.
Other notable guests in attendance included Brian Grazer, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros. president of worldwide marketing and distribution Sue Kroll, The Breakfast Club actor Anthony Michael Hall, My Best Friend’s Wedding star Dermot Mulroney and Goodfellas' Paul Sorvino.
Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg introduced Ratner at the event and continued the humorous theme of the night, even to the point of displaying a picture on the big screen of Ratner on vacation in a Speedo.
"As many of you in this room know, Brett really doesn’t have any boundaries or personal space and he’s out there, and he’s really really unabashed. You know, Hollywood is a place where nobody lets their guard down, but Brett’s really the opposite of that," Katzenberg said as he showed the photo. "He is who he is — he just lets it all hang out for the world to see. And just in case you think I’m exaggerating or telling a big story here, I brought some proof with me tonight."
But the evening eventually turned to a more serious note, as Katzenberg also discussed Ratner’s giving nature, saying, “In my conversations with Brett’s friends, they all had their very own stories to tell, as I said. But interestingly, every single one of them uses the exact same word to describe him: generous. Brett gets incredible joy in giving.”
Upon receiving his award, Ratner played off of Katzenberg's earlier jokes by revealing the truth behind how The Revenant's bear attack scene was filmed, jokingly claiming it was actually "Jeffrey Katzenberg in a bear suit."
In his acceptance speech, Ratner touched upon the things in his life that have inspired him to become involved with the organization, one of them being his grandfather who recently passed away and was deeply invested in public service.
"I go to the doctor any time I feel something’s wrong with me; I’m a complete hypochondriac, and the fact that I have that opportunity, I really took it for granted. … The fact that I was exposed to my grandfather giving back to the Veterans Administration for all those years, somehow comes full circle for me being here and standing here today. So I want to dedicate this award to my late-grandfather," he said. "To treat healthcare like a privilege, and believe it’s a privilege, means we’ve lost our compassion."
Ratner ended his speech by bringing friend Mariah Carey, who is on vocal rest and attended the gala as a presenter, onto the stage. As a way of raising more money for the clinic, however, Ratner auctioned off four VIP tickets to Carey’s show in Las Vegas for $20,000, all of which were swept up right away.
Earlier on the red carpet, Ratner also discussed why the award meant so much to him, saying, “It’s a huge honor because I don’t receive many humanitarian awards, and I just think it’s a great organization to be honored by. ... I try to give back as best I could. Giving a check is easy, I think, so I try to do things outside of just giving a check, and that kind of makes people recognize, 'Oh, maybe Brett wants to help us in other ways.' I love the organization. They really impact people’s lives."
The gala also honored William Flumenbaum of The Capital Group Companies with the Irma Colen Leadership Award for his work and involvement with the clinic. Flumenbaum serves on the board of directors of the Venice Family Clinic, as well as on the board of governors for UCLA.
The evening concluded with an eclectic performance by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, during which most of the audience was up on their feet clapping and cheering — even King, who joined the musicians on stage towards the end of their act.
The event was presented by UCLA Health and the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.