The stars were out in great form at the Children Uniting Nation's 2006 Awards Celebration and Viewing at the Hollywood Palladium. Sources claimed this event to be the 'number three event' for Oscar- and after- parties- bested only by the big event, itself, and the party at the Governor's mansion. Only four blocks away from the Kodak Theater, site of the Oscars, the Palladium enjoyed its share of screen luminaries on the red carpet.
The evening, which included a sit-down dinner as well as an 'after' party- was hosted by Daphne E. Ziman and traditionally provides both a venue for celebrating Hollywood's biggest event of the year and honoring the work of the Children Uniting Nations.
The invitation for the dinner event- an affair limited to only 500 attendees- and the after-party- opened to 1,000 very lucky attendees-describes the evening's purpose perfectly: 'While we celebrate the dreams that are created within the entertainment industry, we wish to ensure that such dreams may be possible for our children's future.'
Dinner Co-Chairs included Maria Conchita Alonso, Giselle Fernandez, Harry Hamlin & Lisa Rinna, Robert Irvine, Wyclef Jean, Jane Seymour, and Mona Scott. Media partner was Los Angeles Confidential Magazine.
This year's Ambassadors of Goodwill included Adrian Brody, Keeley & Pierce Brosnan, Stephen Dorff, Jasmine Guy, Chaka Kahn, Radha Mitchell, Esai Morales, James Keach & Jane Seymour, and Wilmer Valderrama.
All products and services for the event were donated, and all proceeds from the event benefit Children Uniting Nations (CUN) and its programs for at-risk children. All enjoyed notable contributions from Chef Robert P. Irvine, DJ Spinderella, designer Vern Yip, and Master of Ceremonies Miguel Nunez.
Daphna Ziman was ebullient and her gown of black lace and organza was a standout- even while flanked by her two beautiful daughters. The trio were visibly lit by the thrill of the Oscar evening and the joy of the culmination of another successful CUN party.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi graced the red carpet, too, looking elegant in a black gown with a bright blue satin off-the-shoulder wrap jacket. She was beautiful but also in 'work mode' as she spoke with me about the history and goals of CUN.
The evening was packed with glamour and star sightings. Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin charmed the media as they walked the red carpet, Lisa looking drop-dead gorgeous in a sparkling white gown that bared her well-toned 'Dancing with the Stars' form in all the rightest of places.
Designer Vern Yip from 'Trading Spaces' and also NBC's 'Home Intervention' was on hand. Fabulous Dr. Anthony Griffin of ABC's 'Extreme Makeover' made the scene.
Melissa Fitzgerald of the 'West Wing' was stunning in a red velvet halter gown. (I had to pull my photographer away from her shot to get him to take some of the other arriving guests' ) Fitzgerald was accompanied by bubbly friend Audra Platz, who joked that she was Fitzgerald's 'date.'
Other runway stunners were singer Freda Payne, brilliantly elegant in her Asian-style black gown with hand painted designs complete with a sentimental blue bird over her heart.
The duo from the 'Next Top Model,' Miss Jay and Mr. Jay were there, 'he' resplendent in gray, 'she' beautiful in a black tux with a huge corsage of black silk roses.
Entertainment talent was abundant and included Missy Elliott, Spinderella, and a number of talent children. Lil Maxso, the 'world's youngest rapper' arrived with high hopes of performing. The boy is a natural at winning over the media and proved as much as he kissed my hand when I introduced myself to do an interview.
Event sponsors included Arden Realty, Inc., Paul Goldenberg, Paul's TV, the Ziegler Family Foundation, and Daphna and Richard Ziman.
Children Uniting Nations is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality mentoring relationships to help improve academic achievement for at-risk children. CUN strives to recruit and train community volunteers to service foster youth. The services provided by CUN have actualized into large-scale community participation and resulted in many positive achievements. CUN brings to the table a strong community collaboratively designed by highly regarded experts in the foster care and mentoring communities. Children Uniting Nations aims to bring our global communities together to come to the aid of our children most in need.
The CUN Board of Directors includes Chairperson, Daphne E. Ziman; Vice-Chairperson, Valerie Fitzgerald; President, Lola Levy; Vice President, Kathy Villa; Volunteer CEO and former First Lady of California, Sharon Davis; CFO, Kimberly Ray; Secretary, David Gernsbacher.
CUN Directors include Alan Adelman, Mac Africa, Sheriff Leroy D. Baca, Metuka Benjamin, Tracey Edmonds, Marvin Epstein, Barbara Gothard, Hillary Mendelsohn, Nancy Moonves, Steven Nemeth, Steven A. Nissen, Celeste Prince, Amie Hedley-Rowe, Rita Saenz, Mitchell Schwartz, Nickie Shapira, Maria Contreras Sweet, Lee Wallach, and Dan Weinstein.
Needless to say, the group associated with Children Uniting Nations has a broad reach into the entertainment community. I can't wait to see see who shows up next year'
Text copyright 3/2006 M.D. Caprario
Photographs by M.D. Caprario and Michael Caprario
CUN believes every at-risk child can benefit from mentoring. For information about becoming a mentor, please call 310/203-0500 or visit the web site at www.childrenunitingnations.org.