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The Actors Fund Gala Celebrates $10.1 Million Raised on Special Campaign Led by Annette Bening, Kevin McCollum and Jonathan Tisch

 (New York, NY) The Actors Fund celebrated the close of a year-long $10.1 million special campaign last evening at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, 1535 Broadway. Proceeds from the gala evening brought the grand total raised for the entertainment charity to $10.8 million.

The Actors Fund Gala Celebrates $10.1 Million Raised on Special Campaign Led by Annette Bening, Kevin McCollum and Jonathan Tisch 

April 12 starry evening honored three co-chairs of fundraising campaign - actress Annette Bening, theatrical producer Kevin McCollum and executive Jonathan Tisch, with performers,  presenters and guests including Warren Beatty, Michael Feinstein, Peter Gallagher, Cheyenne Jackson, Jane Krakowski, Lucy Liu, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Alfred Molina, Bebe Neuwirth, Phyllis Newman, Mike Nichols and Jane Powell

(April 13, 2010, NYC)  The Actors Fund celebrated the close of a year-long $10.1 million special campaign last evening at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, 1535 Broadway.  Proceeds from the gala evening brought the grand total raised for the entertainment charity to $10.8 million. 

The Actors Fund campaign co-chairs, three-time Academy Award nominee Annette Bening (“Being Julia,” “American Beauty,” “The Grifters”), four-time Tony Award-winning producer Kevin McCollum (“Rent,” “Avenue Q,” “In the Heights,” “Private Lives”), and Loews Hotels Chairman and CEO Jonathan Tisch, were presented with The Actors Fund’s highest award - the Medal of Honor. 

Standing ovations for our evening’s producers, Abby Schroeder and Michael A. Kerker and all of our top-notch entertainment. The evening began with an introduction and welcome from Actors Fund Chairman of the Board, Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell.  Mitchell introduced the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, star of Broadway’s Xanadu and Finian’s Rainbow, Cheyenne Jackson.  

Guests enjoyed vocalist Jessica Molaskey (A Man of No Importance, Parade) and her husband, jazz guitarist, vocalist and bandleader John Pizzarelli, who sang a medley of “Count Your Blessings” and “Seasons of Love” from Rent.  The Jets of the Broadway revival of West Side Story (Joshua Buscher, Wes Hart, Alex Ringler, Sam Rogers and Mikey Winslow) performed “Gee, Officer Krupke,” with new lyrics by 2009 Fred Ebb Award winner Marcy Heisler, as a tribute to producer Kevin McCollum.  Award-winning theatre producer and general manager Emanuel “Manny” Azenberg presented McCollum with the Medal of Honor.

Tony Award winner Phyllis Newman and Emmy and Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth both spoke eloquently on the assistance provided by The Actors Fund to everyone in entertainment, and Neuwirth introduced her fellow cast member  Kevin Chamberlin (The Addams Family), who performed a touching version of “The Moon and Me” from the new musical.  This led into a surprise musical video tribute to Jonanthan Tisch by the Beelzebubs, an all-male a cappella group from Tisch’s alma mater Tufts University.  Emmy and Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) presented Mr. Tisch with his award.
Peter Gallagher and Brian Stokes Mitchell sang a hilarious version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Agony” from Into the Woods, with special lyrics also by Marcy Heisler, performed in loving tribute to Bening.  Guests also enjoyed a heart-felt video from Bening’s high school drama teacher, and the presentation of her award by legendary director Mike Nichols.

The evening closed with a performance by multi-platinum selling, five-time Granny nominated entertainer Michael Feinstein.

About The Actors Fund:

The Actors Fund is the national human service organization helping all professionals in theatre, television, film, music, opera and dance.  With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Fund directly serves more than 11,000 entertainment and performing arts professionals in need across the country, and approximately 1 million more through Web resource programs.

The Fund’s programs are wide in scope, responsive in nature, and produce significant results in the lives of those who enrich our national landscape with creativity, talent and vision.

Learn more about The Actors Fund at www.actorsfund.org.

The Actors Fund Medal of Honor recipients:

Annette Bening
Annette Bening was most recently seen on the big screen in writer-director Diane English’s remake of “The Women”, starring alongside Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Prior to that, She starred in the 2006 film “Running with Scissors” for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.  She will next be seen in Sony Pictures Classics’ “Mother and Child” for writer-director Rodrigo Garcia. The film also stars Naomi Watts. This July, she will also be seen in Focus Features’ “The Kids Are All Right,” in which she plays opposite Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo.

Annette was ‘Julia Lambert’ in “Being Julia” for Sony Pictures Classics, the role that earned the actress her third Oscar nomination. For that performance, she was also named the National Board of Review’s “Best Actress,” won the Golden Globe award for “Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy,” and received a SAG nomination for “Best Actress.” She also starred in “Mrs. Harris” with Ben Kingsley for HBO, earning an Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe nomination.

An award-winning stage actress, Bening has spent much of her time in front of the movie camera. She starred in the critically acclaimed film “American Beauty,” for which she received both an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Actress/Drama”. Her performance in the film earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award and the BAFTA (British Academy) Award. Her other film credits include Neil Jordan’s “In Dreams,” and “The Siege,” opposite Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis.

Bening was honored at the Boston, Palm Springs and Chicago Film Festivals with Lifetime Achievement Awards, as well as receiving the Donostia Prize at the San Sebastian International Film Festival.  She won the “Actress of the Year” award at the Hollywood Film Festival, and received the Montecito Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

She received her first Academy Award nomination and was named “Best Supporting Actress” by the National Board of Review for her role in “The Grifters.” She also received a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Actress/Musical or Comedy” for her starring role in Rob Reiner’s “The American President,” opposite Michael Douglas. Bening also had supporting roles in Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks!”, and in Sir Ian McKellen’s film adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Richard III.”

Her other film credits include: “Love Affair” with Warren Beatty; Barry Levinson’s “Bugsy,” also opposite Beatty, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Actress”; “Regarding Henry” with Harrison Ford and directed by Mike Nichols; “Guilty By Suspicion,” opposite Robert DeNiro; Milos Forman’s “Valmont”; and “Postcard From The Edge.” Bening made her feature film debut in the comedy “The Great Outdoors,” with Dan Aykroyd and the late John Candy.

Bening’s theater credits include the Anton Chekhov play “The Cherry Orchard” at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum in 2006, and Alan Bennett’s “Talking Heads,” at the Tiffany Theater in Los Angeles. She also played the title role in Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” in March 1999 at Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse.  She was recently seen on stage in “Medea” at UCLA, and in “The Female of the Species,” also at the Geffen Playhouse.

Born in Topeka, Kansas and raised in San Diego, Bening was enrolled at a local college when she got a job as a dancer in a pre-show presented outside of San Diego’s famed Old Globe Theater. This led to a walk-on in a Shakespearean production and two plays with the San Diego Repertory Theater.
    
Bening graduated from San Francisco State University and was accepted by the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where she trained until she joined the acting company. She also appeared in both summer Shakespearean festivals and regional productions until her career took her to New York. There, Bening received both a Tony Award nomination and won the Clarence Derwent Award for most outstanding debut performance of the season for her role in “Coastal Disturbances,” originally at the Second Stage, then on Broadway. 

“Whether you’re watching a live performance, viewing a film, imagining the creative process and the crew behind the scenes or simply enjoying the magical results of our work, you can make an impact on the lives of those who have dedicated their careers to the arts. The challenges many of these individuals face are, at times, overwhelming. Through our support of The Actors Fund, we can insure that they have a better chance of withstanding troubled times.” – Annette Bening

Kevin McCollum
Kevin McCollum, a trustee of The Actors Fund, won Tony Awards for Best Musical for In The Heights (2008), Avenue Q (2004) and Rent (1996), which also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was made into a major motion picture. Mr. McCollum also produced The Drowsy Chaperone (2006), winner of five Tony Awards; Baz Luhrmann’s Broadway production of Puccini’s La Boheme (2002), which won two Tony Awards; High Fidelity (2006); [title of show] (2008); the touring and Broadway productions of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas; the Off-Broadway hit De La Guarda; the recent revival of Ragtime(2009) and the current revival of West Side Story (2009). Mr. McCollum received his undergraduate training at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree from the Peter Stark Program at the University of Southern California.
 
“We have an opportunity to help those who truly are in need and have no place else to turn. These individuals contribute so much to our lives through their artistry and creativity – now it’s our turn to support the organization they can’t live without – The Actors Fund.” – Kevin McCollum

Jonathan M. Tisch
Jonathan M. Tisch is Co-Chairman of the Board and a member of the Office of the President of Loews Corporation, one of the largest diversified financial holding companies in the U.S., and is also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of its subsidiary, Loews Hotels. Recognized as a national leader of the multi-billion dollar travel and tourism industry, Tisch founded and served as Chairman of the Travel Business Roundtable from 1995–2008 and in 2009 merged it with the Travel Industry Association to create the U.S. Travel Association, of which he serves as Chairman Emeritus. Tisch is committed to a vibrant tourism industry in New York City, where for nearly six years he served as Chairman of NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism marketing agency and local convention and visitors bureau. Concurrent with his national efforts to help stimulate travel in the aftermath of September 11th, Tisch served as Chairman of “New York Rising,” a task force set up to help rebuild the city by reviving tourism. Believing you can do well and do good at the same time, Tisch is a champion of corporate responsibility and his community and philanthropic activities are extensive. He served as the Vice-Chairman of The Welfare to Work Partnership, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Tufts University, where he is also the naming benefactor of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. He is also on the Board of the Tribeca Film Institute and serves on the Board and is the Treasurer of the 2007 Super Bowl Champions New York Football Giants. Tisch is the author of two best-selling books, The Power of We: Succeeding Through Partnershipsand Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough: Reinventing the Customer Experience, and his newest book, Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World is due out in May 2010. 

“A strong cultural community is an engine for both a strengthened economy and a vital, engaged, accomplished populace. By providing critical assistance to this very important industry segment, The Actors Fund is supporting the lifeblood of culture in this country.” – Jonathan Tisch