Carousel Ball Honoring George Clooney

Neil Diamond and George Clooney Close the Star-Studded Carousel of Hope Gala on a Perfect Note


George Clooney took home the Brass Ring Award at the Carousel of Hope, but not before singing a duet with Neil Diamond.

The headliner for the Oct. 20 gala benefiting  the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Diamond chose “Sweet Caroline” for their singing debut as a duo. And while Clooney seemed reluctant at first, he readily sang the line, “so good, so good,” at the chorus, and joined in for the final words, “sweet Caroline,” at the song’s end.

Honored during the evening for his extraordinary humanitarian work, Clooney – according to Diamond – said before dinner that he couldn’t sing. “Not a note,” Diamond said, repeating Clooney’s words, about how people think he can sing because the legendary Rosemary Clooney was his aunt.

“(George Clooney) was saying ‘Neil, whatever you do, don’t ask me to sing,’” Diamond said. “I promised him that I wouldn’t. But I lied.” Diamond then brought the microphone to the Academy Award-winning actor, flanked tableside by ball chair Barbara Davis and his glamorous, statuesque girlfriend Stacy Keibler. Granted, Diamond sang most of the song solo, but Clooney proved a good sport by belting out a few of the lyrics.

On the Bill: Great Entertainment

The evening, which took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, ended on that perfect note, literally thanks to the Clooney/Diamond duet, after a live and silent auction, the awards ceremony, Diamond’s 6-song set and more performances by a full slate of brilliant entertainers, beginning with Fernando Varela, who sang a stunning “Nessun Dorma” from the opera “Turandot.”

Also performing for the sold-out room: Jessica Sanchez of “American Idol” and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. Acclaimed singer/songwriter/record producer David Foster accompanied them all at the piano.

Sanchez dedicated her song, “You’re Gonna Love Me,” to Clooney.

Edmonds then followed, saying he wanted to dedicate his song to Clooney, before changing his mind.

“I’m un-dedicating this to you because it feels a little too weird,” Edmonds said to Clooney from onstage, before re-dedicating his song to Keibler. Edmonds then sang “When Can I See You,” and Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.”

Diamond rounded out the evening with “Forever in Blue Jeans,” “Hello Again,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Love on the Rocks,” “Sweet Caroline” and his signature finale, “America.”


A Star-Studded Crowd to Honor Clooney

Jay Leno played emcee to the star-studded crowd, which included Jane Fonda, Julianne Hough and Cheryl Burke, both two-time dance champions of “Dancing With the Stars;” “DWTS” judge Carrie Ann Inaba, Diego Boneta of “Rock of Ages,” Gene Simmons of “Kiss” and Shannon Tweed, Tommy Thayer and Paul Stanley of “Kiss,” Hill Harper of “CSI: New York,” Jennie Garth of “90210,” Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis of “The Fifth Dimension,” Harry Hamlin of “L.A. Law,” Nicollette Sheridan of “Desperate Housewives,” and Gayle King of “CBS This Morning.”

More were Holly Robinson Peete of “21 Jump Street,” Thora Birch of “American Beauty,” TV personalities Daisy Fuentes and Carmen Electra, top producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Jerry Weintraub, media magnate Sumner Redstone, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Smokey Robinson, Sidney Poitier, Ryan O’Neal, Jackie Collins, Joan Collins, Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, Clive Davis, Nicky Hilton, Charlene Tilton, Donna Mills, James Van Praagh, Loretta Devine, Sasha Alexander, and many others.

Shirley MacLaine introduced the video tribute to Clooney, honored for his artistic achievements and use of his celebrity to help Haiti, Darfur and other troubled regions of the world. Among other humanitarian pursuits, he organized the “Hope for Haiti” telethon after the devastating 2010 earthquake, drew attention to troubled regions in Africa through his television special, “A Journey to Darfur,” and recently launched the Satellite Sentinel Project to show the world the criminal activities in Sudan.


Glittering Gowns – Trailing Trains & Fashion Shoes

More formal than the usual Los Angeles gala, long gowns ruled at this affair. So many women trailed trains behind them that guests had to take care wandering around, lest they step on one and stop a gala-goer in her tracks.

My best-dressed votes went to Stacy Keibler in glittering Monique Lhullier, Julianne Hough in a jeweled Jenny Packham and Jane Fonda in a vintage Giorgio Armani ensemble that Fonda said she pulled together from out of her closet.

There with longtime boyfriend, record producer Richard Perry,  Fonda said she was headed for Paris to talk about her latest book, “Prime Time: Love, health, sex, fitness, friendship, spirit; Making the most of all of your life.”  The French were most interested in the parts about sex, she said. (In my judgement, the fitness section is certainly worth following, too, because whatever Fonda is doing, is working well: She looks younger and more beautiful every time I see her, as mentioned in one of my previous stories here.)

Also in evidence: high-fashion shoes designed by Dana Davis, founder of Dana Davis Footwear, and the inspiration behind the Carousel of Hope, having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 7. Gala chair Barbara Davis is Dana’s mother.


$2.5 Million for Childhood Diabetes

Mercedes Benz presented the event, which raised more than $2.5 million for the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, from ticket sales, sponsorships and the 500-item silent auction, along with a live auction of a 2013 Mercedes Benz G63 AMG , wedding in Bora Bora and first class trip to Paris, complete with a stay at the Plaza Athenee Hotel and tickets to the haute couture fashion shows for Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Jean Paul Gaultier, Atelier Versace, Valentino, Elie Saab, Stephane Rolland, On Aura Tout Vu, and Christophe Josse.


Top photo: Neil Diamond and George Clooney sing “Sweet Caroline” at the Carousel Ball Honoring George Clooney (photo:

Second photo: Girlfriend Stacy Keibler with George Clooney at the Carousel of Hope, where the actor, director, producer and humanitarian received the Brass Ring Award (photo:

Third photo: Jane Fonda and longtime boyfriend, record producer Richard Perry, at the Carousel Ball Honoring George Clooney (photo:

Fourth photo: Two of the unquestionably best-dressed women: Stacy Keibler, left, in Monique Lhullier, and Julianne Hough, right, in Jenny Packham at the Carousel Ball Honoring George Clooney (photo:

Fifth photo: From left, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, David Foster, gala chair Barbara Davis, and George Clooney at the Carousel of Hope benefiting The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes (photo: Alex J. Berliner/ ABImages)

See 40 more photos in the gallery below



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Carousel Ball Honoring George Clooney

Published Oct. 21, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA