Los Angeles Dinner Celebration Honors Director Steven Spielberg
Los Angeles, December 9, 2009…. Steven Spielberg received the Anti-Defamation League's highest honor -- America's Democratic Legacy Award -- at the Annual Dinner Celebration on December 9 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman presented the award in front of a sellout crowd of 1,100.
"Steven, we honor you for your exceptional contributions to the well-being and security of the Jewish people," said Mr. Foxman. "Your masterpiece, "Schindler's List," literally changed the way we teach about Jewish history and the Holocaust and it arrived at exactly the time when we started to see a startling rise in Holocaust denial."
Previous America's Democratic Legacy Award recipients include former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman; as well as Colin Powell, Eleanor Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, Justice Earl Warren, Saul Bellow, George Tenet, Henry Kissinger, Lee Iacocca, Walter Annenberg, Dwayne Andreas, Bernard Marcus and Cardinal John O'Connor. The award has also been presented to distinguished institutions including Harvard University, The New York Times and the Columbia Broadcasting System.
Proceeds from the event will help ADL in its fight against bigotry, prejudice and anti-Semitism.
Drew Barrymore opened and closed the evening, citing her relationship with Spielberg since she was 6 years old and working on the movie "ET." Kirk Douglas spoke and led the motzi (prayer over the bread) and Richard Dreyfuss also presented remarks. Co-Chairs for the event were Harold Brown, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Richard Lovett, Ron Meyer, Bruce Ramer and Sid Sheinberg.
Speakers included two of the dinner co-chairs, Bruce Ramer, founding partner of Gang, Tyre, Ramer and Brown, Inc, and Sidney Sheinberg, founder of the Bubble Factory and former President and COO of MCA, ADL National Chair Robert Sugarman, Regional Board Chair Nicole Mutchnik and Regional Director Amanda Susskind.
Other special guests included "American Idol" finalist Adam Lambert singing the U.S. national anthem and Israeli singer/songwriter Noa Dori singing the Israeli national anthem.
Videos describing ADL's work, the history of its America's Democratic Legacy Award, and Steven Spielberg's extraordinary contributions to the entertainment industry and philanthropy were shown.
Other celebrities attending included: Paula Abdul, J.J. Abrams, Matt Blank, David Franzoni, Greg Harrison, Walter Hill, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Linde, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, Kevin McCormick, Walter Mirisch, Rich Ross, Stacey Snider, Matt Tolmach, Michael Wright.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.