By Ann K. Williams
March 26 -- Fans of Fox's hit show House got a special
treat Saturday night when Hugh Laurie and his crew showed
up to receive an award at Saturday's gala awards ceremony
and fundraiser for the American Red Cross of Santa Monica.
A crowd of 350 festively attired supporters celebrated the
local organization's 90th anniversary under the sparkling
chandeliers of the Fairmont Miramar, where they mingled with
the stars and vied with one another in silent and live auctions
that raised an estimated $50,000 for the charity.
|Hugh Laurie (Photos courtesy of
Red Cross unless otherwise indicated)
Presenting the Red Cross Spirit Award to the cast and creators
of House, City Council Member and philanthropist Bobbie Shriver
drew a parallel between Dr. House and Red Cross founder, Clara
"'I have an almost complete disregard of precedent,
and a faith in the possibility of something better,’”
Shriver quoted Barton. “‘It irritates me to be
told how things have always been done. I defy the tyranny
of precedent. I go for anything new that might improve the
|(From left) Council
member Pam O'Connor, College Board member Nancy Greenstein,
Jean Ann Holbrook, Council member Bob Holbrook and SAMOHI
sophomore Steve Prado. (Photo by Ann K. Williams)
"We've chosen 'House' because it reflects our mission
to teach people to save lives," according to a statement
from the Red Cross. "In the show, Dr. House is a maverick
medical genius who goes to extraordinary lengths to diagnose
and treat unusual” conditions.
|(From left: Judy Beck,
co-chair of the Red Tie Affair committee; celebrity chef
Nick Stellino; Marcia Caldirola, Red Cross Director of
Development, and Liz Rohm from "Law and Order"
True to character, Laurie was a somewhat reclusive presence
at the event, stepping out for some fresh air while Jennifer
Morrison (Cameron), Jesse Spencer (Chase) and Omar Epps (Foreman)
turned on the charm as they mingled with the guests at the
"red tie" affair.
The crowd was peppered with red dresses, ruffles, bangles,
even baseball caps. Laurie wore red socks, while Morrison
was fetching in a red cocktail dress as she circulated on
the arm of her real-life fiancé, Spencer.
|Malissa Shriver and
Council member Bobby Shriver
TV doctors weren't the only ones recognized Saturday night.
Obstetrician and gynecologist Lisa Masterson was honored
for Maternal Fetal Care International's work with in Ghana
and other impoverished areas. She founded the Santa Monica
based organization to provide medical care for mothers and
children around the world.
Also receiving an award was Dr. Janet Salomonson, medical
director of the Cleft Palate Center at Saint John's Health
Center. She travels the world overseeing cleft team care.
And Santa Monica Police Department Detective Don Doss was
recognized for his work combating elder abuse. He was given
the Rick Crocker Spirit of Voluntarism award, named in honor
of the Santa Monica police officer killed in Iraq in 2005.
|Jesse Spencer with fan
Etha Williams (Photo by Ann K. Williams)
Even the celebrity guests got into the action at the live
auction following the awards. As the evening wound to a close,
Spencer was seen carrying a vintage surf poster he'd admired.
The Grateful Dead beat out the Rolling Stones by nearly a
thousand dollars, when their signed guitar was snapped up
for $2,500. And autographed surgical scrubs from the set of
Grey's Anatomy went for $500 to an appreciative fan.
|Actor Jimmy Smits
Auction proceeds will support the Red Cross of Santa Monica's
mission to provide health and safety education and disaster
awareness and relief.
Those interested in donating to the Red Cross http://www.redcrossofsantamonica.org/
should call (310) 394-3773 or visit their office at 1450