Race To Erase MS 2011

Joan Jett, Clay Walker, a celebrity fashion show, plus Nicky and Paris Hilton Up for Auction at Race to Erase MS 2011


What made the Rock & Royalty Race to Erase MS 2011 one of the best events of the year?

Here are just some of the reasons…

Rock idol Joan Jett and the Blackhearts gave an over-the-top performance that had the entire ballroom up dancing. Country star Clay Walker contributed a grand country-style finale. A fashion show with celebrity models featured the new Andrew Charles line for Tommy Hilfiger and a 450-item auction offered, among other things, a shopping day with Nicky and Paris Hilton, backstage passes to an Avril Lavigne concert, lunch with “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and a day in the broadcast booth at Dodgers Stadium. 

And if all that weren’t enough, the gala took place Apr. 29, just hours after Prince William married Kate Middleton. So before the live auction and show, films of the royal wedding ran continuously on super-sized screens inside the Century Plaza ballroom. Moreover, models turned up, dressed like the royal couple and Pippa Middleton in their wedding attire; the dresses, recreated that same day by A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz and available for sale at auction.

Presented by MS survivor Nancy Davis and Tommy Hilfiger, the event honored Katie Mattingly Brass and William O. “Bill” Perkins and raised $2 million for the Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis.

Walker was easy to spot during the cocktail hour, as he perused the vast array of silent auction items in his cowboy hat. Walker said he came to support the cause, as he had been diagnosed with MS at age 26 and told he had eight years to live. Seventeen years later, he was still going strong.

“I’ve been hearing about Nancy Davis for years,” said Walker. “I’m happy to be performing here tonight,” adding that this would be his first Race to Erase MS Gala. Almost immediately, Walker’s wife Jessica Craig chimed in, “It won’t be his last.”

Also joining festivities were Tia Carrere of “True Lies,” Garcelle Beauvais of “Franklin & Bash,” Virginia Madsen of “Sideways,” Jake T. Austin of “Wizards of Waverly Place,” AJ Michalka of “Super 8,” Holly Marie Combs of “Charmed,” Zoey Deutch, Lea Thompson and “Mayor Cupcake,” Greg Rikaart and Clementine Ford of “The Young and the Restless,” Deborah Gibson of “American Juniors,” Ed Begley, Jr. of “St. Elsewhere,” Jennifer Tilly of “Bound,” Drake Bell of “Superhero Movie,” Regina King of “Southland,” Melissa Joan Hart of “Melissa & Joey,” Sela Ward of “The Fugitive,” David Faustino of “Married With Children,” Teri Garr of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” Daniel Gillies of “Spider Man 2,” Christopher Massey of “Zoey 101,” Robbie Jones of “Hellcats,” Crystal Reed of “Teen Wolf,” Rachel Leigh Cook of “She’s All That,” Raven Symone of “State of Georgia,” Jason Wahler of “The Hills,” Rickey Minor of “The Tonight Show” and David Osmond of “American Idol.” 

More guests were Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, supermodels Cindy Crawford and Janice Dickinson; comedians Jon Lovitz and Byron Allen; TV doctors Lisa Masterson and Andrew Ordon; TV presenters Shaun Robinson of ”Access Hollywood,” Steven Cojocaru of “Entertainment Tonight,” Ashlan Gorse of “E! Entertainment television,” Daisy Fuentes of “MTV” and Amber Lancaster of “The Price is Right;” and musicians LaToya Jackson, Steve Tyrell, Matt Sorum of Guns N’ Roses, Austin Winkler of Hinder, The Donnas and BG5.

“Dancing With the Stars” was well-represented, too, with pro dancers Louis Van Amstel, Kym Johnson, Anna Trebunskaya and Cheryl Burke; former contenders Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward, boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, Kyle Massey of “Cory in the House,” Chelsea Kane of “Jones L.A” and Melissa Rycroft of TV’s “Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders;” and former co-host Samantha Harris.

Honorary event co-chairs were Catherine and AJ Brass, Julie Chrystyn and Dwight Opperman, Natlie Cole, Barbara Davis, Suxanne de Passe, David Foster, Teri Garr, Sharon and Don Henley, Dee and Tommy Hilfiger, Andy Hilfiger, Kathy and Rick Hilton, Lisa and Dustin Hoffman, David Horowitz, James Hoyes, Ghada and Ray Irani, Erica and Randy Jackson, Avril Lavigne, Debbie and James Lustig, Laura and David MacKenzie, Deb and Bill MacMillan, Tamar and Bob Manoukian, Pam McMahon, Jack Rich, Jan Miller and Jeff Rich, Karen and Rickey Minor, Bradley O’Leary, Lynn and Paul Palmer, Stephanie and Bill Perkins, Ken Rickel, Brenda Richie, Anna and Ray Romano, Tawny and Jerry Sanders, Dean Singleton, Iris and Michael Smith and Arda and Alex Yemenidjian.  

Sponsors included American Airlines, EMD Serono, Pfizer, Hyatt Regency Century Plaza and Associated Television International.  

Click here to see my original story in the Los Angeles Times Image section.

Photos from top; Joan Jett; Clay Walker and Jessica Craig; Tia Leone with Nancy Davis.



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Race to Erase MS 2011

Published Jan. 1, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA