Hollywood Beat, June 18th


Hollywood Beat
society of singers, sherry lansing, stripped down


Society of Singers 2009

The name Mancini is synonymous  with Music – and Ginny Mancini (widow of famed composer Henry Mancini) established the Society of Singers to assist singers in financial need.  They also provide scholarships to aspiring performers in the music industry.

The Ella Awards, named appropriately for Ella Fitzgerald, have been presented to such musical legends as Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Lena Horne and Peggy Lee (to name a few).  This year, the honorees were legendary trumpet player, bandleaders, producer and record executive, Herb Alpert, and his Grammy Award winning spouse of more than 30 years, Lani Hall.

Among the performers paying tribute to the crooning couple were Alan Bergman, who is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame; Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. (Fifth Dimension) who just celebrated their 38th year of wedded bliss, and Grammy Award vocalist, Steve Tyrell, who has produced hits for such artists as Dionne Warwick, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder.

We were particularly impressed by 8 year old performer Ethan Bortnick who has appeared on such shows as Ophrah, Jay Leno, Good Morning America and Martha Stewart, and has performed with Smokey Robinson, Beyonce, Nelly Furtado, and Santana and lots more.  The munchkin musician plays over 200 songs from memory, and has composed over 30 songs that are being published.  Nice to see that the music industry is alive & well today.

Quincy Jones, who keeps getting better looking every year, presented the award to Albert & Hall, and some of the many celebs joining in on the celebration included Pat Boone, with his daughter, Debbie, Paul Williams, whose body of work includes “Evergreen” and We’ve Only Just Begun”,  and songwriter Carol Connors, whose escort that evening was Deputy District Attorney, handsome Alan Jackson, who was jubilant about the conviction of music producer, Phil Spector, for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.  Jackson has become a star of sorts from his appearances on Court TV.

Brava to Co-chairs of the event Jerry F. Sharell, President and CEO, Bob Fead for many magical musical moments.


Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr. with Honorees, Herb Alpert & Lani Hall


Quincy Jones with Jerry F. Sharell, President SOS


Pat Boone


Songwriter Carol Connors with Deputy District Attorney, Alan Jackson


Sherry Lansing

Sherry Lansing, former CEO of Paramount Pictures was the first woman to head a major studio.  Under her leadership, the studio produced such blockbusters as Forrest Gump, and Titanic, the highest grossing film of all time.  After her retirement, she has concentrated her efforts on charity – and she serves on the Boards of the American Red Cross, The American Association for Cancer Research and many other humanitarians causes.

She created the Sherry Lansing Foundation, dedicated to raising awareness and funds for cancer research, and in 2007 received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy Awards.  This award was presented to her by Tom Cruise, her longtime friend and business partner.

We were pleased to attend a luncheon at the beautiful Beverly Hills Home of Kate Edelman Johnson, where Lansing received the Patron of the Arts Award.  This event was sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, and was underwritten and sponsored by Jim Casey, of Integrated Wealth Management.

Linda Gray (Dallas), a long time friend of Lansing interviewed her – and they dealt with important factors affecting actors today.  Not the least of these was ageism, which is a major issue.  Difficult to believe both these women, along with JoBeth Williams (President of the Foundation) are well over 40.  How tired we are of seeing all the movies and television shows dealing with teenage angst!

Some of the other celebrants enjoying the delicious fare included James Caan, star of the TV series, Las Vegas, the ever lovely Morgan Fairchild, and everyone’s favorite TV star, Valerie Harper, (Rhoda).

Isn’t it time that the networks found out that there is life and beauty at all ages?


Elliott Gould, Sherry Lansing and James Caan 


JoBeth Williams, Kate Edelman Johnson, Sherry Lansing, Jim Casey, Linda Gray, Morgan Fairchild


Stripped Down

The thriller Stripped Down which premiered at the Laemmle Sunset Theatre, has something for everyone.  There are gorgeous gals twirling their assets around the huge stripper pole, a rough & tumble bad-guy club owner, who gets his comeuppance, and a moralistic IRS accountant, who loses his morals (as well as his heart) to the submissive former stripper and manager of the seedy club.

Ian Ziering best remembered for his role in Beverly Hills 90210, plays against type casting in the flick, and must do a good job, as he won the Best Actor Award at the Monaco Film Festival for his portrayal of “Frances”. This riveting story about the corrupt world of strip clubs, is a surrealistic feminist art statement, which features a darkly humorous payback for the serious abuse of young women.

Director Elana Krausz, who is an accomplished award winning filmmaker, also co-stars in this film noir thriller, and is a highly regarded producer and an influential source of creative input and business acumen.  She has served on many non-profit boards, including The Florence Crittenden Center and works to develop children’s development programs.   All this, and she can do a mean pole dance too.

Actually, this film will appear to pole dance devotees, as there are many gorgeous dancers, including Bre Blair (who has appeared in countless TV shows) and Lisa Arturo, who most recently co-starred on The Mentalist. However, this is the story of what happens to these ladies, when they become involved in the steamy, sexy world of the strip clubs. Marcus Jean Pirae’s who stars as Larry, the club owner, is tall, dark & dangerous, and his defeat and demise are well worth the wait.

Attending the premiere and after soirée were some Young & Restless pals, including Brenda Dickson (who starred as Jill for many years), Tom Hallick, who played opposite her, and Steven Richard Harris who just completed working on the #1 Soap Opera.  Harris, who also appeared as the gorgeous gardener in Sex and the City, is the proud father of two young daughters, and a handsome hunk indeed. While Brenda is living in her own Soap Opera.  Check out her website, www.brendadickson.com  —and you will see what I mean!

See Stripped Down – which is just out now in limited engagements.


Ian Ziering


Stripped Down – Three Female Leads:   Elana Krausz, Bre Blair, Lisa Arturo 


Young & The Restless Crew:  Brenda Dickson, Tom Hallick, Steven Richard Harris


Poster for "Stripped Down"

As a television personality, guest speaker, newspaper reporter and columnist and one of the social arbiters of Los Angeles, Marci Weiner has touched every aspect of entertainment journalism. She has appeared as guest reporter on TV shows including Joan Rivers shows, Eye on LA, and the USA Network. In addition, she has hosted her own segments on Soap Talk, Hollywood Style and Hotline after Dark. You may contact Marci for info and invitations at [email protected]