JAY LENO HOSTS, JENNIFER HUDSON SINGS AT CAROUSEL OF HOPE FUNDRAISER
Magic Johnson was honored at the star-studded event to raise money to fight children's diabetes
Jay Leno and Josh Groban at the 2014 Carousel of Hope Ball
PHOTO BY CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP
OCTOBER 12, 2014byBILL HIGGINS
Before the Oct. 11 Carousel of Hope Ball began at the Beverly Hilton,Magic Johnsonsaid the reason he agreed to be honored at the event’s 27th go-round was “diabetes is rampant in my community. It’s the work andBarbaraDavis.”
The Ball is definitely Davis’ baby. She’s the driving force that’s made the children’s diabetes fundraiser succeed 27 times and raise over $100 million since 1978. “It’s a good cause, but there’re a lot of good causes,” said Motown founderBerry Gordy.“Barbara is so committed, it’s hard to say no.”
The evening began with emceeJay Lenotrying to perform over the black-tie crowd’s chatter, and his first line was: “Welcome, rich people who are eating – every comedian’s nightmare.” A bit later, when he returned after a 9 year-old girl with diabetes said a brief prayer, Leno quipped: “I could have used that when I went on.”
Among those in the crowd for theGeorgeSchlatter-produced show wereClive Davis,George Hamilton,Diane Keaton,Mimi Rogers,Barry Manilow,Sidney Poitier, bothJackieandJoan Collins,Raquel Welch,Rod Stewart, Kathy Griffin, Johnny Mathis,Derek Theler,Anjelica Huston,Quincy Jonesand musical directorDavid Foster.
Before dinner, Davis spoke of the 30 million people in the United States who have diabetes, that one-in-three infants will develop it in their lifetime and how it’s “a devastating disease that’s nearly doubled in the last two decades.”
After dinner (which featured a dessert of ice cream covered in meringue with chocolate sauce that any diabetics attending probably should have avoided) were performances byJosh Groban,Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds on acoustic guitar and a set by aJennifer Hudsonwith the high-point coming onLeonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah."
Former LakerKareem Abdul Jabbarpresented Johnson with his award, and the honoree in turn reminded the crowd of Jabbar’s five championship seasons and his being the all-time NBA point scorer. Johnson said his living for 25 years with HIV constantly reminds him that “what you do for people is so important … God has kept his hands on me and let me do the things that I do.