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“Celebrity Autobiography” Attracts Hollywood For Loma Linda benefit

Hollywood turns out for Loma Linda benefit
6:14 AM Tue, Jun 16, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Posted by: PE Features

Personnel from the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital rubbed shoulders with TV insiders and Melrose fashionistas Monday in a Los Angeles theater.

The occasion was “Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words,” a benefit for the hospital put together by actor Craig Bierko. He was part of a cast of 11 in the sold-out performance, in which actors read excerpts from other actors’ books to comedic effect.

It took place at Largo at the Coronet, a longtime Fairfax Avenue nightclub that recently moved west to a tiny, historical theater on La Cienega Boulevard near the Beverly Center. The Coronet is set back from the street behind iron gates and a fortune-teller storefront. Audience members waited on the sidewalk for nearly an hour for the gates to open.

The event was glittery enough to attract a few paparazzi and eBay autograph seekers. Attendees included JoAnne Worley from “Laugh In” and Lee Meriwether, who was Cat Woman on TV’s “Batman.”

Fred Willard (“Best in Show”) kicked off the show reading Mr. T’s account of auditioning with Sylvester Stallone for “Rocky III.” Ryan Reynolds, who opens in “The Proposal” this week, then read an erotic letter by Kenny Loggins to his wife.

Tracee Ellis Ross, star of “Girlfriends” and daughter of Diana Ross, shared Ivana Trump’s advise for child-rearing. Matthew Parry recounted David Cassidy‘s conflicted feelings for Susan Dey. Bruce Vilanch took on Star Jones’ self-assessment of her multi-faceted personality. Laraine Newman, from the original “Saturday Night Live” cast, read three poems by Suzanne Somers.

“Celebrity Autobiography” creator Eugene Pack read Neil Sedaka’s description of his dietary habits, and Dayle Reyfel, who shares with Pack a developer’s credit for the show, read Marilu Henner‘s too-much-information description of life with her husband.

The show ended with three longer pieces that Pack described as “Rashomon, and on and on.” Bierko, Vilanch, Ryan Reynolds and Jennifer Coolidge traced the failed marriage Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson through excerpts from three books that covered the topic.

Next, five actors played members of N Sync reading quotes about life on the road from their “official” book. Bierko was Justin Timblelake, Ryan Reynolds was Lance Bass, Willard was J.C. Chasez, Parry was Joey Fatone, and Vilanch was Chris Kirkpatrick.

Finally Bierko, Willard, Pack and Newman enacted the convoluted story of Elizabeth Taylor’s marriage to Eddie Fisher. Lesley Ann Warren (“Victor/Victoria“) played Taylor.

Bierko delivered a curtain speech urging support for the children’s hospital, and cast members lingered in the courtyard to meet audience members.

Bierko said he was pleased with the evening and praised Parry for showing up with a bad cold and Ryan Reynolds for arranging his publicity schedule for “The Proposal” around the performance.

The hospital’s next starry fundraiser is Thursday, the K-Frog Cares Golf Classic at Pechanga’s course. It includes a concert with Jack Ingram and Richie McDonald.

—Fielding Buck
fbuck@pe.com

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