Celebrities Unite for UCSF Children's Hospital and Painted Turtle Benefit
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On March 10, producers Lou Adler and Kevin Duncan presented a Starry Evening of Music, Comedy, and Surprises. The star-studded benefit for The Painted Turtle and UCSF Medical Center was held at Davies Symphony Hall. Celebrities Renée Zellweger, Josh Groban, Ronnie Lott, Barry Zito, Danny DeVito, and Kathy Griffin were in attendance and gave interviews on the red carpet before the show.The feel-great event raised over a million dollars for programs for these kids, many of whom shared the spotlight with the Hollywood honchos.
We asked the performers what camp activities they remembered as children. Singer Josh Groban liked archery practice and football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott’s eyes lit up during storytime around the campfire, “that felt like a huddle.” Anette Benning wanted “long hikes – within reason," and baseball’s Barry Zito loved the guitar lessons but “the nighttime ghost stories freaked me out.” Camping experiences were one reason why the Children’s Hospital teamed up with The Painted Turtle. Located in the foothills of Southern California, the tuition-free camp enables children with severe medical challenges to spend a week in nature, often away from their parents for the first time. Inspired by Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camps, Painted Turtle is now supported by Page Adler and producer Lou Adler, who along with Kevin Duncan, summoned an enthusiastic roster of Hollywood luminaries to light up Davies Hall for the evening.
Onstage highlights included singer-songwriter Randy Newman performing, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” and then jamming with Bonnie Raitt on “Guilty,” and “Feels Like Home;” campers joined onstage for a rousing “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” Josh Groban wowed the crowd with a spontaneous duet with Painted Turtle camp alumnus Graham O’Shaughnessy for “You Raise Me Up.” Renee Zellweger movingly read a mother’s testimonial about the significance of the camp and its importance to her whole family, including siblings of her child with extra needs. Anette Bening introduced a serenade from a young woman who shares the same life-threatening disease, medical challenges, and vibrant enthusiasm as her best friend. More than a dozen campers and counselors appeared for performer introductions, as well as the evening’s rousing finale of “River Deep, Mountain High,” with Glee’s vocal powerhouse Amber Riley.
The singing and storytelling was punctuated with pithy audience inclusion from a comedian Kathy Griffith. “Where’s Mark Benioff?” she barked, searching the orchestra seats. Referring to his wife Lynne, she opined, “She’s waaaay too good looking for you” and added, “and what is this Salesforce thing, anyway?” Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch, Golden State Warriors’ Joe Lacob, and Ronnie Lott also received Griffith’s roving audience ire-ony.
Bonnie Raitt recalled her eight years of sleepaway camp in the Adirondacks with particular affection. “Summer camp was where I learned to get good on a guitar, to be with a guy, to be a part of a team… It was the highlight of my life.” Comedienne Kathy Griffin would go back to camp, “to be the counselor who teaches all the kids the curse words.” And Danny DeVito unhesitatingly remembered his favorite thing about summer camp, “skinny dipping!”
Photos courtesy of Drew Altizer.
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