While guests were still finding their tables at Saturday's star-studded Carousel of Hope Ball, honoree Jane Fonda was asked why she's been such a steadfast supporter of the biennial childhood diabetes fundraiser that Barbara Davis started in 1977. "Barbara knows how to be a good friend," was Fonda's answer. And Davis' reliance on her friends was the foundation of the evening at The Beverly Hilton that raised over $2 million.
All the night's presenters and honorees were longtime friends of Davis - Quincy Jones gave a Brass Ring award to Fonda (he says there's proof of their being third cousins); Anjelica Huston presented one to Sherry Lansing; and Carole Bayer Sager gave another to David Foster. Sidney Poitier received his lifetime achievement award from Denzel Washington, who quoted a line from when Poitier received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1995: "It's been said he does not make movies, he makes milestones."
While most of the presenters and honorees spoke about Davis in their remarks, emcee Jay Leno focused on politics. "Are you enjoying Donald Trump's new reality show, The Amazing Racist?" was one line. "Marco Rubio is being called the best communicator in the Republican party. That's like being the smartest Kardashian," was another.
In her own remarks, Davis focused on thanking the supporters of her Denver-based Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes ("It takes a world to cure a disease," she said) and the recently FDA-approved artificial pancreas that her center was involved in developing. "It's a major, major breakthrough," said Davis. "It's the biggest development in diabetes treatment since Banting and Best discovered insulin in 1922."
Sharon Stone showed remarkable skill in conducting the live auction. Idina Menzel gave a strong three-song performance. (Between songs, Menzel made comments that left no doubt that she's upset over not being cast in the film version of Wicked, due out in 2019. She'd won a Tony for her performance in the musical on Broadway.) And Jamie Foxx ended the night by singing rousing versions of "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "What'd I Say?"
Among those in attendance were Clive Davis, Jerry Hall (without husband Rupert Murdoch), Melanie Griffith, Joe Roth, Berry Gordy, Don Rickles, Kenny Edmonds, Bob Daly, William Friedkin, Stacey Snider, Jerry Bruckheimer and Larry Gordon.