Why Rupert Murdoch Skipped His Own Firefighter Thank-You Party

The Feb. 11 event thanking the Skirball Fire-containing L.A. Fire Department also raised more than $60,000.
iStock; Paul Harris/PacificCoastNews.com; Karwai Tang/WireImage

Missing among the 300-plus Bel Air residents who showed up at Rupert Murdoch's Moraga Estate vineyard for a Feb. 11 event thanking the Skirball Fire-containing L.A. Fire Department was the host himself.

Murdoch was on the grounds of his Moraga Vineyard but was unable to attend because of a back injury that has the 86-year-old media titan laid up in his home at the base of the 14-acre vineyard. According to reports, Murdoch — who is in the midst of selling 21st Century Fox's film and TV assets to Disney in a $52.4 billion deal — slipped and fell on his son Lachlan's yacht in the Caribbean after New Year's Eve and had to be helicoptered off the boat.

The LAFD event was still a success, helping raise more than $60,000 for the L.A. Fire Department Foundation and Murdoch’s wife, Jerry Hall, made a short speech thanking the firefighters for their efforts. Jade Jagger was also present at the event, and actor Rob Morrow’s band played to the crowd as they dined on snacks provided by the Bel-Air restaurant and sipped some of Murdoch’s finer vintages.

A spokesperson for Murdoch says he is recovering and is doing well. 

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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