Every year my pal Laurie Burrows Grad (see her link on my blog roll) puts on a tremendous fundraiser to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. With her husband Peter as her co-chair, they’ve managed to raise over $21 million dollars. I mean, that’s just beyond amazing.
(Laurie wears a fabulous loaner from the top designers for each event, and last night’s red number was a show-stopper.)
The benefit was created to honor her father Abe Burrows, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of such Broadway smashes as “Guys and Dolls” and “How To Succeed in Business,” who died of Alzheimer’s. Now she puts on a veritable Broadway legend of her own, albeit at the Beverly Hilton in L.A. She gathers stars from stage and screen to perform musical numbers and invites several hundred of us to have dinner and enjoy the action.
This year’s evening was hosted by David Hyde Pearce and featured Peter Gallagher, Kristen Bell, Marilu Henner, Steven Weber, Jon Lovitz, Taye Diggs, Wayne Brady, and many others – all accompanied by a terrific orchestra and dynamite backup dancers/singers.
With YOU’D BETTER NOT DIE OR I’LL KILL YOU, my caregiver book, due out in October, I was particularly moved by the acceptance speech of Susan Disney Lord, who received the event’s annual Caregiver Award.
The daughter of Roy Disney, which makes Susan a fourth-generation Disney, she lived a life of privilege yet explained that Alzheimer’s is very democratic; it can touch all of us, no matter where we fall on the social ladder. Her mother died of the disease recently and she gave her mom a rousing tribute – one that anyone could relate to.
Did I wear a gown, you may be wondering? Uh, no. I don’t own any, and I haven’t had any designers beg me to wear one of theirs. So I shlepped down to L.A. in my basic black cocktail attire (black was the universal color for both men and women and I vowed that next year I’ll show up in bright purple or something). Michael and I had a great time.