If something funny had happened in the ballroom of the Montage Hotel Saturday night there might not be a way to make big budget Hollywood movies anymore.
While parties raged around town all night for new stars or up and comers the A list gathered at the Montage to help Sean Penn raise a whopping four million dollars for J/P HRO Haitian Relief Organization. Giorgio Armani underwrote the evening called “Sean Penn and Friends: Help Haiti at Home.”
Both Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Citizen Cope performed. Ben Stiller sent in a funny video. Former Senator Chris Dodd, Cong. Raul Ruiz, and former Haitian OM Jean Max Bellerive were honored.
And dining on small dinners but donating to Penn’s heartfelt cause: Richard Gere and wife Carey Lowell; Reese Witherspoon; Julia Roberts and Danny Moder; Julia’s long ago fiancee Kiefer Sutherland; Minne Driver, Kristen Davis, Jeremy Irons, Tim Robbins, Melanie Griffith, Leonardo Di Caprio, Eva Longoria, “Arbitrage” director Nick Jarecki, and, oddly, Mel Gibson. Harvey Weinstein arrived late from his studio’s cocktail party with Cablevision owner Jim Dolan, dressed nattily with a fedora. Si spotted Warner Bros. chief Jeff Robinov, producer Bill Pohlad, and restaurateur to the stars Michael Chow (much missed in NY).
Dodd, now the head of the MPAA, spoke passionately about Penn’s passionate interest in Haiti. Bryan Lourd, partner at CAA and leader in the Hollywood community, also reiterated Penn’s tireless efforts to rebuild the impoverished, earthquaked nation. “He practically lives there,” Lourd said.
Penn and his associates have become very clever, attaching their fundraising dinners for Haiti to awards show weekends and glitzy festivals. A portion of Saturday night’s proceeds also went to Hurricane Sandy relief on the East Coast. www.jphro.org