Odyssey Ball & American Spirit Awards

Dancing with the Stars was well represented at the Odyssey Ball benefiting the John Wayne Cancer Institute. The ballroom of the Beverly Hilton was transformed into Club Disco, and Tony Dovolani, the talented pro from the hit TV series, served as Host, The opening act was a slew of fabulous flash mob dancers from the Calabasas High School Dance Team, which got the SRO audience into a dance frenzy.  Later in the show, Grammy Award winning songwriter, producer and singer David Foster, performed with several of his friends, including opera star Katherine Jenkins, arguably the best dancer on DWTS.  The blond beauty will no doubt receive the coveted mirror ball trophy. And to add to the mix, her partner, Mark Ballas was on hand to support her, as well as the irrepressible Judge Gino Tonioli, and former contestants Martina Navratilova and Marlee Matlin.

Tatum O'Neal, Dr. Lawrence Piro (Honoree) & Ryan O'Neal at John Wayne Cancer Clinic Odyssey Ball

But undeniably the star of the evening was boyishly handsome Dr Lawrence Piro, who received the Duke Award (named in honor of John Wayne) for his outstanding work in cancer research and treatment.  Director Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot -- Air Force One) presented the award to Dr. Piro, who is regularly listed as one of the “Best Doctors in America”.  As Patrick Wayne, Chairman of the Board of the Institute stated, “We are privileged to have Dr. Piro as a member of our JWCI family, and publicly recognize his dedication to developing new cancer treatments.

Composer/Singer David Foster with Opera Star, Katherine Jenkins (Dancing With the Stars) at Odyssey Ball

Among the star-studded audience were actor Ryan O’Neal (who is currently battling cancer himself), his daughter Tatum, and Alana Stewart – who was the bff of his late partner, Farrah Fawcett, who died from cancer a few years ago.  Unfortunately, like many of us, this dread disease has touched his family.  Let’s pray that with the support of organizations like the John Wayne Cancer Institute, all forms of cancer will be eradicated.

The Caucus for Producers, Writers and Director Eight Annual American Spirit Awards were held in the Rodeo Room of the Beverly Hills Hotel.  Honored guests included Congressmen Darrell Issa of San Diego, and Howard Berman of the San Fernando Valley, philanthropist Bob Barker and Larry Auerbach, Associate Dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Former Game Show Host, Bob Barker, Congressman Darrell Issa, Larry Auerbach, Associate Dean of USC School of Cinematic Arts, Congressman Howard Berman, Honored at American Spirit Awards

Each speaker and honoree addressed what the American Spirit means -- personally and to the world.  The entertainment industry puts an image of Americaout to the world that is important to the safety and security of our country.  It was particularly exciting to meet legendary game show host, Bob Barker, who is also a noted animal activist.  He is as handsome and erudite at 89, as he was when he was the host of The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007.  We love what Syd Vinnedge, former Producer of the show said about Barker:  “He has done more for animals than anyone since Noah.”

Kudos to Event Chair, Producer Chuck Fries, Chairman Norman Powell, and their hard working committee for a most interesting and inspiring evening.  

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