Leo & Karen’s California View – June 2012
BRITWEEK held their Gala Dinner honoring Piers Morgan, in Conversation with Jackie Collins benefiting Children’s Hospital Los Angeles at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel and what a spectacular night it was, sponsored by Beverly Hills Wealth Management, BP, Boots, Champneys, CNN, Cunard, Goldman & Knell/Octagon, Jaguar, Radisson Edwardian Hotels, and Virgin Atlantic Airways.
Everyone dressed to the nines! Even the slew of TV and print reporters were expected to dress to impress, and surely did!! And what a coup that was, journalists don’t normally like to dress up, except me and I usually look totally out of place. But the Beverly Wilshire Hotel situated in the heart of Beverly Hills, is the favorite place to stay for Royals and presidents alike.
So there couldn’t be a more fitting place to hold a gala evening for a memorable BritWeek event than at the Beverly Wilshire. Starting with the Redcarpet that included celebrity guests Piers Morgan, Jackie Collins, Kelly Osbourne, Mark Walberg, Renee Bargh, Holly Robinson Peete, Mark Ballas, Tony Potts, Dule Hill, Raphael Sbarge, Jerry Springer, Jack Wagner, Santiago Cabrera, Eric Landin, Juliet Mills, Max Caulfield, Philip Treacy, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Bear Grylls, Ross King, Jamie Bamber, Lady Victoria Hervey, Jonny Coyne, Tom Payne, Cory Almeida, Calvin Goldspink, Michael Tadross, Adrian Lyne, Carly Steel, Amber Kelleher-Andrews, Ann Cusack, Jim Piddock, Bob Peirce, Paul Wright, Michael Krycler, Fiona Francois, Christopher Guy Harrison, Danny Lopez, Sharon Harroun Peirce, Neil Stiles, Barry Waldo, Simon Wright, and Nigel Lythgoe.
In the ballroom, bowls of gorgeous red roses decorated each table. Hosting the evening’s activities Scottish born and LA correspondent for ITV breakfast show Ross King, who did a superb job. Segments of the dinner show were rebroadcast on ITV the next morning. It opened with a thank you for everyone’s attendance and support in this year’s participation of the best BritWeek yet. BritWeek Chairman and co-founder Bob Peirce spoke on how the concept has grown over the six years and how it’s a good time to “celebrate all things British”.
There was a pre-dinner performance by Australian born 2008 Idol contestant Michael Johns. Followed by an after dinner special performance by internationally renowned Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins who brought the gathering to its feet when she sang two songs, especially the movie theme from The Godfather, in Italian, in honor of her friend Piers Morgan (his favorite movie).
Katherine hails from Neath, South Wales, an area that’s produced so many great artists. What a voice!! She’s multi-talented, being a favorite contestant on season 14 of Dancing with the Stars. Cherished as one of Britain’s favorite singers, quickly becoming one of its greatest musical exports. Not only does she have an incredible voice, she’s absolutely gorgeous!
Next up, Jerry Springer, to the chant of “Jerry. Jerry. Jerry.” He was born in the Highgate tube station and grew up on Chandos Road, East Finchley. A really successful nice man, but Jerry, I’d rather jump through fire or be thrown to the lions than walk out on stage after Katherine Jenkins. Jerry had known Piers for several years, even attending a July 4 party in the UK that Pier’s threw. “When I grow up I want to be Piers Morgan. If he had been alive in 1776, maybe the Brits might have won.” He was very gracious and humorously introduced Jackie Collins and Piers Morgan, which ended up a lively conversation.
Jackie Collins, known for her scandalous novels, has had an interesting career: being expelled from school, an acting career, then her fabled writing of 28 novels with 400 million plus copies in print. She told us that Piers was signed by NBC to America’s Got Talent as they wanted someone marginally more obnoxious than Simon Cowell.
Morgan told us that his most annoying guest was Charlie Sheen as he was so late for the taping of the show. Told to arrive by 4pm, Sheen rolled up in his limo at 5:55 with a magnificently huge entourage that poured out of his car. It was the highest rated show after the Japan earthquake.
Asked about Madonna ever being a guest on his show (they have a long standing feud), “She’ll never be a guest unless she goes on bended knee in Times Square, apologizing for crimes against music.”
He’d love to interview Jack Nicholson; likes the Royal family, especially Camilla, thinks the Queen is quite funny, but thought Diana a bit naughty.
On Rupert Murdoch: he promoted me at age 28, being appointed editor of News of the World, becoming the youngest national newspaper editor in more than half a century, taking a huge gamble on me. Too many people are turning on Rupert. I would never say anything bad about someone who gave me an opportunity.
And when asked what makes him happy: “The Secret is to pursue your passion. I always wanted to be a journalist.”
Celebrity comments from the program included best wishes from Variety, Paul Wright Esq, Christopher Guy, Nancy Grace, Tavis Smiley, Cornel West, Howie Mandel, Dr Drew Pinsky, Bear Grylls, Regis Philbin, Richard Branson, Donny Osmond, Donald Trump, Ricky Gervais, “I am so happy and honored to know Piers Morgan. Now, when my friends and family tell me I am the most annoying man in the world, I can smugly correct them,” Rod Stewart, “Piers recently and brilliantly conducted two in-depth interviews with me, but failed to make me cry on either occasion. Third time lucky?” and Sharon Osbourne who said, “Piers Morgan is one of the most pompous, arrogant, egotistical and vain people that I have ever met. Lucky for him his literary talent is even larger than his humungous head. Seriously, I love Pier’s wit and I am totally addicted to anything he writes. Piers, I’m proud to call you my friend and I miss working with you.”
We briefly spoke to Nigel Lythgoe, founder of BritWeek six years ago. And his son Kris, who with his mother Bonnie has brought Pantomime theatre to LA these last two years. They are ecstatic as they have just signed contracts with The Pasadena Playhouse for the upcoming season. Sharon Harroun Peirce, Paul Wright, and Joanne Lichtenstein deserve a huge thank you for their extraordinary efforts this year. Altogether a very memorable and enjoyable evening. Thanks to Piers, Jackie, and to everyone that made it all so successful. Go to www.britweek.org for information and photos.
Gillian Campbell covered several BABC events: “On Thursday, May 3, BABC LA enjoyed a breakfast with the City of Los Angeles. Those present from the city included Councilwoman Jan Perry, who gave a very insightful report on what was happening in going forward in the city (gratefully received) Linda Smith from the Mayor’s office Economic & Business Policy, Libby Williams from the Mayor’s office as well as Carolyn Weiss who was so instrumental in setting up this breakfast who was joined Miguel Acuna, of the South Valley Region. Chairman Heidi Nietert headed up this insightful event, where you couldn’t even hear the rattling of knives and forks as they spoke. All speeches were very transparent, with open doors for all to follow up. It was suggested that this event should be held at least twice a year!
“By Invitation only, Commonwealth House of the BABC LA, which is for Young Executives, held another outstanding event on May 9 at Ted Baker London store in the new Santa Monica Mall. With over 150 reservations, the store was buzzing with activity not only with purchases of 20 percent off (thank you Ted Baker) but with networking at the highest. Called Ted’s Spring Fling it certainly lived up to that name with delicious appetizers, Tedteenies to drink. Thank you Ted Baker, thank you James Langridge for setting it up and thank you Nadine Briley who as the Manager of the store went over and above to make this happen.”
The British American Business Council Los Angeles cordially invites you to attend their Garden Party, An Exclusive Celebration of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and of all things British at the Five-Diamond Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village with British Consul General Dame Barbara Hay Sunday, June 10, 11:30am – 3pm at theWaterfall Lawn of the Four Seasons Westlake Village, Two Dole Drive, Westlake Village. Should be a fabulous day out to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee!! See you there!!
Hopefully, everyone is getting excited about the 2012 Olympics. We’re on a working-visit in Vancouver, Canada where people are extraordinarily friendly and full of Olympic fever. And fortunately, the language is almost the same, once you learn to say “ay” “oot” and “aboot.”