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The Carousel of Hope Ball returned to the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, October 8, for its landmark 30th anniversary. The 2016 ball was a “Celebration of Hollywood,” and its strength, power, and talent—which is only fitting as some of the biggest names in Hollywood came out to celebrate it and its host, Barbara Davis.
Longtime supporter and friend to the cause, Sir Sidney Poitier was honored with the “Inspirational Lifetime Achievement Award” at this year’s ball, an award that was inspired by his incredible legacy and the many lives he has touched. Denzel Washington presented him with the special award, introducing Poitier as “My hero, my mentor, my friend.”
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Jane Fonda, David Foster, and Sherry Lansing each received a “Brass Ring Award” for their humanitarian efforts and continued support of the cause. Quincy Jones presented the award to Jane Fonda, Carole Bayer Sager honored David Foster, and Anjelica Huston presented to Sherry Lansing. The “Brass Ring Award” was named after the elusive brass ring that carousel riders would try to catch when the ride first became popular. Now universally recognized as a symbol of achievement, the brass ring represents the ultimate goal of finding a cure for diabetes.
Award-winning artists Jamie Foxx and Idina Menzel treated guests to musical performances, with Menzel performing Wicked’s hit song “Defying Gravity,” and a song from her new album titled “Small World.” Jamie Foxx brought the crowd to its feet with his rendition of “I Feel Good,” and had everyone dancing to “What’d I Say.” The final song of the night was a joint effort by stage-talent and guests alike, who came together to sing “Happy Birthday” to host Barbara Davis with a carousel-themed cake.
The black tie event wouldn’t have been the same without Jay Leno, who had the crowd laughing all night (especially at his pointed political jokes) as he reprised his role of Master of Ceremonies for a show produced by another longtime friend of the organization, George Schlatter. Producer David Foster returned as Music Director for the ball, while musical icons Clive Davis and Quincy Jones served as Music Chairmen. The incomparable Sharon Stone joined Jay Leno onstage as auctioneer for a memorable live auction experience that had guests bidding on items ranging from the ultimate mountain getaway in Aspen, to a luxurious trip to the St. Regis Dubai and the soon-to-be-opened St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort. Brenna Whitaker surprised the crowd with a soulful rendition of “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” joined by performers Ben Gulley and Rogelio Davis Jr. David Foster had another surprise in store for the crowd, when he pulled Quinton Aaron onstage for his impressive take on the classic song “Let’s Get It On.”
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Additional guests included Lindsay Arnold, Garcelle Beauvais, Ed Begley, Jerry Bruckheimer, Francesca Capaldi, Kristin Cavallari, Billy Davis Jr. and Marilynn McCoo, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Carmen Electra, Vivica A. Fox, Berry Gordy, Kathy Griffin, Melanie Griffith, George Hamilton and Alana Stewart, G Hannelius, Robert Herjavec and Kym Johnson, Allison Holker and Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Samuel L. Jackson, Regina King, Apollonia Kotero, Nigel Lythgoe, Constance Marie, Maureen McCormick, Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall, Jimmy Jam, Stefanie Powers, Jillian Rose Reed, Don Rickles, Jane Seymour, Yara Shahidi, Judge Judy Sheindlin, Russell Simmons, Suzanne Somers, Alan Thicke, Lea Thompson, Ann Turkel, Diane Warren, Raquel Welch, Brenna Whitaker, RJ Word, and more.
Since its inception in 1978, the iconic event has been a Hollywood favorite, uniting entertainment industry leaders from all areas for a night dedicated to raising awareness and ultimately, finding a cure for diabetes. The Carousel of Hope Ball has raised more than $100 million to date, with proceeds benefitting the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.
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