Harold Pump Foundation Celebrity Dinner - Press RecapPresentation Transcript
August 13, 2010 |
Hey, you're not the only one who lusts after celeb autographs. Even two-time Oscar winners have stars in their eyes occasionally.
"I love actors," honoree Denzel Washington told the crowd at the 10th annual Harold Pump Foundation Gala on Thursday, "but athletes, I just get stupid."
Earlier in the evening, Washington's eyes widened when a framed collection of autographs by 19 superfamous boxers went on the block during the live auction. "Oh, boy," he said. Then he raised his hand. $20,000 going once, going twice, sold to Denzel.
"I got a copy of the [Muhammad] Ali one already," he told the people at his table. "But that has Joe Louis' autograph, and he ain't signing no more."
If he'd wanted to, Washington could have snagged a fresh one from the three-time world heavyweight champ himself anyway. Because the evening's other honorees included two of the greatest athletes of all time – Ali and Hank Aaron , a 24-time Major League Baseball all-star. And the presenters – who included sports stars such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar de la Hoya, Julius "Dr. J." Erving, Mark Spitz, Dave Winfield, Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson and Rayford Johnson -- weren't so shabby themselves.
Indeed, the dinner could have been dubbed Denzel Washington Heaven. The actor and his wife, Pauletta , stuck around to greet well-wishers in the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza's ballroom even as it was emptying out.
Jamie Foxx, Cedric the Entertainer, Snoop Dogg and Morgan Freeman -- who got a standing ovation himself -- turned out in force to present Denzel with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Freeman briefly traced Washington's life story from his childhood in Mount Vernon, N.Y., to his schooling at Fordham University, where the young sports fan spent just one year on the basketball team.
"That could have been for his newly discovered passion for acting," Freeman mused out loud, "or maybe he just sucked at basketball."
Hey, there was a lot of love in the room. Said Freeman: "I haven't seen him do anything that didn't leave me panting with admiration."
Also honored was Kansas City medical products businessman and philanthropist Joseph Brandmeyer . The Harold Pump Foundation, founded by twins Dana and David Pump in the memory of their late father, helps fund cancer care at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.
-- Irene Lacher
Photo: Denzel Washington, left, and Muhammad Ali at the Pump Foundation Gala in Century City on Thursday. Credit: Tiffany Rose / WireImage
Scene & Heard: Harold Pump Foundation celebrity fundraiser
By Ellen Olivier Special to the Los Angeles Times August 22, 2010
A crowd rich in sports legends, Academy Award winners and recording stars packed the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza for the Harold Pump Foundation's anniversary celebration. The honorees at the Aug. 12 event were Denzel Washington , Hank Aaron , Muhammad Ali and Kansas businessman Joseph Brandmeyer. Morgan Freeman , Jamie Foxx , Snoop Dogg and Cedric the Entertainer teamed up to present Washington's award. "If I hadn't played God," Freeman said, "I'd be jealous of the fact that he got to play an angel," referring to the two-time Academy Award winner's role in "The Preacher's Wife." Washington's enthusiasm was stoked by the aggregation of superstar athletes. In addressing the 1,500 guests, he said he loves actors, but with athletes, he just starts "acting like a little kid." Get breaking news alerts delivered to your mobile phone. Text BREAKING to 52669.
Sports greats Sugar Ray Leonard , Oscar De La Hoya , Mark Spitz, Julius Erving , Frank Robinson , Dave Winfield , Ernie Banks and Rafer Johnson spoke for Aaron and Ali. Even the big names were impressed by the talent in the room and spent much of the night greeting each other. Serena Williams , Rosey Grier, Rollie Fingers , Gary Payton , Michael Strahan and Eddie Murray also came to mingle. Some sports stars, such as 7-foot-2 basketball great Artis Gilmore, proved easy to spot. David and Dana Pump are sports consultants specializing in basketball. Boston Celtic Paul Pierce said he participated in their youth programs. Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith noted, "They must have the world's biggest Rolodex in sports." They also have special recruiting skills, according to emcee Greg Anthony . "They don't really touch you. They kind of like reach out and grab you." The brothers estimated that nearly $1 million will go to the foundation, named for their father, which funds cancer care at the Northridge Hospital. Included were hefty proceeds from auction prizes that money can't otherwise buy, such as dinner with Denzel Washington and a private concert with Brian McKnight , each selling for $25,000, and a private jet trip to Pebble Beach with De La Hoya and George Lopez , for which two couples agreed to pay $20,000 each. On accepting the award for her husband, Lonnie Ali said, "We need to take notes from these guys."
LOS ANGELES -- Even a guy like Denzel Washington isn't immune to being a bit star struck.
The Oscar winner is Hollywood royalty, and at the recent Harold Pump Foundation Gala, plenty of people tripped over themselves to pop off a cell phone snapshot of the actor.
As for Washington, who was being honored alongside Muhammad Ali and Hank Aaron? He was fighting the urge not to be tongue-tied over another A-lister.
"Muhammad's the King," Washington exclaimed. "With all these great athletes, he's the king of them all. It's an honor to be honored with him!"
That actually wasn't the only "Oh My God" moment of the night -- there were plenty of Hall of Famers, future Hall of Famers and overall great athletes in attendance who admitted they were a bit googly-eyed at some of the celebrities and athletes in attendance. The event brought out a wide range of athletes, including, Julius Erving, Eddie Murray, Sugar Ray Leonard, Robert Horry, Lisa Leslie, Deion Sanders, Brian McKnight, Cedric the Entertainer, Warren Moon and Gary Payton.
"I came here for Hank Aaron. I'm a big baseball fan. Just to be in the room with Hank is an honor. I usually don't go anywhere and take pictures, but this is the first time I'm going to be a groupie and take a picture," Horry said. "I only had one 'Oh My God' moment before now and that was when I got to meet Oprah. She's such an icon. And to meet an icon on a playing field like Hank Aaron -- he opened so many doors for black athletes and to pay homage to him and say thank-you."
And as for the event itself, Payton said it was one that everyone in attendance would look back on and be grateful.
"These three guys that we're honoring today are great legends. We're going to remember them for the rest of our lives," he said. "When we're gone, and they're gone, we're going to remember them. This is history. I can't believe I'm here to witness this."
Dinner with Denzel
Harold Pump gala raises money for cancer treatment
By MICHAEL SULLIVAN
Thursday night's Harold Pump Foundation gala at the Century Plaza Hotel opened with Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" repeating on loop, which was only fitting since the night was a good one: Guests raised well over $200,000 for cancer treatment. The night's honorees included Muhammad Ali, Denzel Washington and Hank Aaron.
Host Greg Anthony joked that records were easier in Aaron's day when baseball was still segregated: "Americans on steroids were not yet allowed."
Cedric the Entertainer, who introduced Washington along with Jamie Foxx, Snoop Dogg and Morgan Freeman, said of the honoree's attractive qualities, "Dude's got one of the coolest walks of all time." Foxx demonstrated his best Washington walk across the stage as Cedric added, "Only President Obama can do it better."
The benefit ended with a live auction. A private dinner with Washington went for $25,000, and a golf game with George Lopez and Oscar De La Hoya brought $40,000.
Anthony revealed that "Snoop was kind enough to donate (an item for auction) ... except it was confiscated by the DEA." -
-- Michael Sullivan
"These are special guys. They're a unique pair ... Almost everyone on the planet is affected by cancer. This is what it's all about raising funds." -- JULIUS ERVING
(Scroll down to Aug 12 th to listen to HPF Podcasts LIVE from the Century Plaza)