Larry and I had the opportunity to sit down and interview most of the award winners and presenters during the course of the show as they made their way into the press room after exiting the stage. We must say that the public relations firm handling the event was a real class act. Actually escorting celebrities to us, and even presenting us and the rest of the press with a scrumptious organic vegetarian meal, including a rich dairy-free cheesecake, which even the finest gourmet chef would be hard pressed to tell the difference!
As we sat down to our fresh strawberry covered delicacies, we were able to watch the opening of the show on several big screens set up especially for our viewing pleasure. But we weren't able to watch for long as we were quickly put to work by the very efficient P.R. firm! Celebrities were practically standing in line to take their turn to sit down and chat with us! Very much into the spirit of what the event was all about, several stars even brought their beloved animal companions with them, and had lovely heartwarming stories to tell about how animals have impacted their lives. What a treat to be surrounded by so many compassionate and conscientious people.
Handsome actor, Eric Roberts was one of the presenters for this event whom we had the pleasure of sitting down with. But not before he singled Donna out from the press group and onto the red carpet with him to be photographed, much to the chagrin of the rest of the paparazzi! Eric can currently be seen in the number #1 video for The Killers as well as being Mariah Carey's groom in her new video "We Belong Together".
He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in "Runaway Train" a few years back. As you recall he is also known for his phenomenal role as the possessed husband of Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten in the film "Star 80". Eric also happens to be Julia Roberts' brother. Eric was particularly charming this evening and related a story to us about his childhood growing up with a grandfather who was abusive to animals, particularly some horses that he had " by the time I was seven I knew that he was wrong and there's a better way and I wanted to go out in the world and find it." Consequently Eric grew up collecting animals and made sure to treat them extra good, so good in fact that he currently has a whole menagerie.
"When you're good to animals they're good to you. They understand unconditional love and a little food. When you raise animals from the time they are tiny they watch you interact they act just like you do with other animals and will even if they have instincts that are opposite." For instance Eric has several domesticated squirrels, and his cats who grew up watching him care for them actually lovingly play with the little critters! Sounds like a scene from my own past, where my mom would feed macaroni & cheese dinners to her wild skunk friends right alongside our cats!
Another extremely charming personality we had the honor of chatting with was gorgeous actress Tippi Hedron, who remembered Larry immediately from years ago when he worked with her and her daughter Melanie Griffith during an appearance with Monty Hall over twenty years ago.
Tippi was the lovely blonde star of director Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece film "The Birds" and also "Marnie" and she still looks just as terrific now as she did then. She was more recently seen in the hit film "I Heart Huckabees". Tippi has been diligently working with the Humane Society's Genesis Awards since they first started about 19 years ago in a little hotel room with 50 people.
Over the years she has also collected a lot of animals, and in fact has about 69 as of this writing, which includes tigers, lions and an elephant or two! Her Shambala animal preserve near Acton is world renowned for the loving care it supplies to needy animals. Larry asked Tippi what she thought about the recent shooting of an escaped pet tiger in the Southern California area. Tippi responded "Absolutely deplorable!
That whole California Fish & Game Dept. has to have a whole new MO about animal captures because they didn't accept any help as to how to capture this animal all they know to do is seek and kill. That animal should have been tranquilized. It could have been tranquilized with 2 c.c.'s of Telezol the two vets with Fish & Game weren't even called. They didn't even know the tiger had been shot, but there were 4 hunters, there were 4 sharpshooters." Shambala.org is Tippi's website and we highly recommend checking it out. We look forward to doing a special "Hollywood Beat" show at the preserve hopefully sometime in the near future.
It was great talking to Tippi, and before we even had time to catch our breath, the P.R. people were escorting our old pal Ed Asner over to us. Ed is famous for his role as the boss Lou Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore show and later starring in his own spin off series. He is also the former president of the Screen Actors Guild. Ed is another compassionate animal lover who has been with the organization since the very beginning. Larry knew Ed from years ago, and I had also had the pleasure of meeting him back in 1984 at the cast party for the very first "Night of 100 Stars" annual comedy benefit.
That was way back before anyone even knew who Whoopi Goldberg was! He was surprised that I remembered, but how could I forget as Robin Williams had put on an impromptu puppet show for us starring the shrimp appetizers! But that's another story. As Larry would say, meanwhile back at the ranch
We barely got a chance to talk with Ed when none other than Oscar winning composer (for Dustin Hoffman's "Tootsie") Stephan Bishop approached us. It was great seeing Stephan again since we last saw him at the Ojai Film Festival where he was honored with a special achievement award and put on a great show. In his illustrious career Stephan has done a lot of hit songs such as "Save it for a Rainy Day" and "On & On" besides over 15 tunes for various films. Amazingly since he first gained fame back in the early 1980's Stephan has not aged one bit, and in fact may even look a bit younger!
Stephan continues to be highly sought after for his film scoring talents. His most recent was for the Jack Nicholson film "Anger Management". He's currently been in the studio recording new songs for a deal with Universal, and will be performing at The Greek Theatre in June. Stephan treated Larry and I to an exclusive rendition of a song that he composed and sings only for his two Golden Retrievers Elvis and Priscilla, and as civilized as we like to think we are, I'm sure we enjoyed it just as much as the animals!
Larry and I also had the honor of spending a little time with talk show host Bill Maher, who surprisingly didn't have much to say; actor Bill Brochtrup of TV's "NYPD Blue"; actor Gabriel Ferrer (who happens to be not only the son of legendary actor Jose Ferrer & singer Rosemary Clooney but also actor George Clooney's cousin) who starred in the Oscar hit film "Traffic" and is also enjoying his hit TV series "Crossing Jordan"; and James Cromwell known for his Oscar nominated role in "Babe" and his roles in the TV series' "Angels in America" and "Six Feet Under". James told us he's been a vegan since 1975 when he took a cross country motorcycle trip and ended up riding through the stock yards of Texas " for what seemed like a whole day seeing all the inhumanity and the suffering and the needless cruelty."
When asked by Larry how many animals he owns, James promptly replied "I don't like to think I 'own' any animals." For the record, he has two furry family members who share his house and an assortment of critter friends on the outside! James will be co-starring next in a remake of "The Longest Yard" with Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds.
Much to Larry's delight, he and I also got a chance to briefly chat with a bevy of beautiful ladies, such as Lake Bell of TV's "Boston Legal"; Sara Rue of hit films "Pearl Harbor" and "The Ring"; new Columbia Records sensation Nellie McKay; pretty, twelve year old actress Sofia Vassilieva of TV's "Eloise" films; Nicollete Sheridan of TV's "Desperate Housewives"; Alicia Silverstone of hit films "Clueless", "Batman & Robin" and the upcoming "Beauty Shop"; and our old pal Linda ("The Exorcist")
Blair from AFM who was as perky as ever and looked stunning in a sparkly, aqua beaded gown. Linda is currently working on a documentary about living with animals in America from those that are overly loved (with all the money that's put into doggy day care, suits, and parties) to those that "the rest of us, the rescuers are left picking up the pieces for at the shelters." One of Linda's goals is to educate people about these issues, as well as the problems of dog fighting and pet over population. She started her own Foundation about eight months ago HeartFoundation.com, another website we wholeheartedly recommend. All in all the Genesis Awards were a huge success and we look forward to next years' event!
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