Adorable actress Sarah Michelle Geller (aka, Buffy) received the Tom Mankiewicz Leadership Award at the Annual Beastly Ball held at the Los Angeles Zoo. This event, which is regarded as the biggest and most popular fund-raiser, and the best party in town, attracted nearly 800 people and raised over one million dollars. These contributions will fund exhibits, plant and animal species conservation, and educational programs at the Zoo.
Geller is expecting a baby boy, to add to her family with actor, Freddie Prinze. The couple who have been married for ten years, also have a three-year-old daughter, Charlotte. Geller is a GLAZA Safari Club Patron, and an advocate for various charities. She succeeded rock icon Slash, who was recipient of last year’s Award.
The excited actress stated: “I used to come here all the time even before I had children, but now being able to see the animals through my daughter’s eyes is incredible”.
Beastly Ball guests, dressed in casual and safari attire strolled through the Zoo to view its inhabitants, particularly the new LAIR habitat which opened in March. Along the way were animal feedings and chats with keepers, and the chance to observe small animals up close and personal. Groups playing jazz, traditional African music and rumba provided entertainment, and hundreds of remarkable silent auction items were offered for bid.
Bountiful fare was on display by L.A.most popular restaurants including Celestino, El Cholo, IlFornaio and, of course, Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs. The formal part of the program, and the live auction was handled by comedian Jimmy Pardo -- and raised $112,000 for the cause. Among the most interesting items offered was a “behind the scenes” tour and dinner with Betty White, which went to two bidders for $10,000 each.
Breakfast with former Mayor of L.A.Richard Riordan was also offered, and went for $15,000. Riordan was also honored for his contributions to making the Zoo an international leader in the care and study of wildlife. He believes the Zoo is a magical and educational journey to other worlds, particularly for children, living in urban neighborhoods with few opportunities for exposure to the natural world.