Big Bash for Big Brothers Big Sisters brings out Hollywood’s best

At the BBBSLA Big Bash gala, Lori Greiner and Sherry Lansing [all photos by Margie Barron]

“Potential is everywhere.” That’s the motto of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles (BBBSLA), which was evident at the BBBSLA’s Big Bash Gala. The Big event was attended by a ballroom full of caring folks, from the heads of Hollywood Studios, to cops on the beat, talent agents, and everyday heroes from all works of life. The best of the best gathered October 19 at the always wonderful Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

 The BBBSLA is part of the legacy of the iconic visionary Walt Disney and music giant Meredith Willson (The Music Man). Their achievements weren’t limited to the entertainment business. Their reach was extended to elevating generations of at-risk kids when Disney and Willson founded the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles in 1955. They supported the multitudes of volunteer mentors, “the Bigs,” who embraced the BBBSLA mission to be “Defenders of Potential” and helped “the Littles” achieve greatness.

 “I’m proud to be part of that legacy,” said the groundbreaking former Paramount Studios chief Sherry Lansing, whose longtime support of BBBSLA, currently as a Trustee, has produced an award named after her. At the Big Bash, Stephen Galloway, executive editor of The Hollywood Reporter presented the Sherry Lansing Award to Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner. Known as “the Shark with a Heart” and “the Queen of QVC,” Greiner is proud to be an investor, inventor, and philanthropist who helps turn people’s dreams into a reality, “and that’s what the Big Brothers and Sisters do. It is humbling,” she said praising the organization. “The Bigs and the Littles are my heroes.”

BBBSLA Big Bash 2018 honorees (L-R): Walt Disney Man of the Year Chris Silbermann, Sherry Lansing Award honoree Lori Greiner, and Golden Legacy Award honorees “Big Brother” LAPD Police Commission President Steve Soboroff and his “Little Brother” Terry A. Williams.  (photo credit Margie Barron)

 Laura Lizer, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters Los Angeles, introduced all of the honoree and noted that the awards recognize “individuals who are inspiring and positive role models to our youth.” Joining Greiner was Chris Silbermann, founding partner of ICM Partners, who was presented with the Walt Disney Man of the Year Award. Lorrie Bartlett, ICM Partners partner and talent co-head, presented the award along with five current BBBS mentors from ICM Partners. It was revealed that Silbermann had broken a record by raising more money for BBBSLA’s Big Bash than any other honoree in the history of the gala. It’s not surprising for Chris, who is the Chairman of the Board of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, which presents the awesome annual Stand Up To Cancer national telethon. 

 Receiving the Golden Legacy Award from KCBS/KCAL9’s Pat Harvey, was the LAPD Police Commission President Steve Soboroff and his Little Brother Terry A. Williams. Soboroff and Williams were celebrating the 50th anniversary since they were matched as Big Brother and Little Brother, one of the first interracial matches in 1968. They have remained part of each other’s family for half a century.

Soboroff talked about the power of mentorship that has been encouraged in the LAPD with its “Bigs in Blue” program. Steve said, “It’s a partnership that has positively impacted the relationships between the police and the communities of color. And 96% of the youth who have a Big Brother or Big Sister are graduating from high school, and 94% of them are going on to pursue higher education, and not getting on a freeway to jail. Big Brothers is probably the most effective offramp for that dead end freeway. I want people to walk away tonight talking about how many kids they’ve saved.”

Olivia Diaz-Lapham, Lori Greiner, Stephen Galloway, Laura Lizer.

 Comedian Tommy Davidson presented the Trailblazer Award to Marvel’s Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan, who was out of town due to his upcoming Creed II sequel release (Nov. 21), but accepted via video. It was noted that for the release of Creed, Jordan created an Omaze campaign benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters and visited BBBSLA to meet the Littles.

 The Big Bash Gala was emceed by comic Orny Adams, with Larry Zucker handing the important auctioneer duties. Among the VIPs attending were 20th Century Fox CEO Dana Walden, DreamWorks Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman Tony Vinciquerra, director Jack Friedkin, and BBBSLA President and CEO Olivia Diaz-Lapham. Highlights included an exciting performance by the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, launching the night with gusto, with all of the dancers showing off their boundless potential.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.