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Hollywood A-listers -- and one D-lister -- flock to the Carousel of Hope ball in Beverly Hills

October 24, 2010 | 12:49 pm

Jennifer Lopez Marc Anthony

Honorees Quincy Jones and Maria Shriver weren't the only unlikely pair at the 32nd Carousel of Hope event in Beverly Hills on Saturday evening. Stars of film, TV and music, who tend to party at their own industry events, mingled in the biggest A-list bash in town that throws them all together.

Which was just fine and dandy with Kathy Griffin.

Carousel-of-hope"I've got to tell you who I came with," she told the Ministry. "I came with Jane Fonda. Isn't that a great unlikely situation? I love it. I was ready to come by myself because I'm single, but then I said, 'I'm too insecure.' And Jane Fonda said, 'You can drive with us.' So she and her boyfriend, Richard [Perry, a music producer], drove me here."

Just then, event emcee Jay Leno walked by and stage whispered in Griffin's ear: "Jane Fonda is looking for you."

"Will you stop it?" she barked at him with delight. She turned to Fonda, who was wearing a copper-colored sequin gown. "Tell her what Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine said, to not be afraid to come by yourself. That way you can leave when you want, and you never know who you're going to meet."

Kathy Griffin "At the time, it was like they were talking to me in Russian," Fonda says. "It was very hard, which means it took a long time for me to be able to stand on my own two feet and not have to have a man. It's nice to have one, but I got very used to coming to parties alone. And it's a matter of time -- well, I don't think she's going to be alone long -- but sometimes you'll wish you were alone."

Ah, yes. The sweet smell of romance. "I want to come with Jane Fonda and leave with Judge Judy, because let's face it," Griffin said, "she has more money."

Perry pulled Fonda away to chat with Leno, and Griffin continued to marvel at her new friendship. "She laughs at my jokes. I think that's why we're friends. It's very, very rare for an A-lister to laugh at my jokes."

No kidding. Around Griffin and Fonda, guests who'd paid $1,000 a ticket for the biannual bash were bidding on silent-auction items so numerous they took up four banquet rooms at the Beverly Hilton, where society doyenne Barbara Davis has thrown her fundraiser for children's diabetes since she came to L.A. with her late oilman husband, Marvin Davis. He went on to acquire the Beverly Hills Hotel and 20th Century Fox in the '80s, which skyrocketed the couple to the top rung of L.A. society. His indefatigable widow has remained there, raising $75 million over the years for the Children's Diabetes Foundation and the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Denver.

Performers, presenters and guests also included Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Akon, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Rod Stewart, Don Johnson, Stevie Wonder, Vanna White, Raquel Welch, Nicky Hilton, Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin and many more.

Davis' table showed how eclectic are her friendships in the entertainment industry. She was flanked by two longtime family friends -- Sidney Poitier to her left and legendary music producer Clive Davis to her right. Later, as Gladys Knight belted out "Midnight Train to Georgia," Adrien Brody stood toward the back of the International Ballroom to listen.

Afterward, as Judge Judy Sheindlin, a happy Carousel newbie who described Davis as "very persuasive," headed out, Paris Hilton waited for her car with Brandon Davis -- Barbara's grandson and reportedly Hilton's former squeeze -- and Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez wandered through the hotel lobby, looking lost. 

Clive davis and barbara davis The secret to Davis' success?

"When you see her around town, she's always very joyful and kind, but when she wants to get something done, she puts on her warrior hat and goes to work, and there is nobody who says no to her," Shriver said, as she accepted the Brass Ring Award for her work on behalf of women's causes and Alzheimer's patients.

Shriver, another longtime family friend, said she always addressed the gala hostess formally as Mrs. Davis. Then, "she told me when I became [California] first lady, I could call her Barbara."

Randy Jackson presented Quincy Jones with the Global Humanitarian Award on the 25th anniversary of the producer's celeb-packed fund-raising recording of "We Are the World." As Jones entreated the audience to spend time helping others, he mused at his own longevity.

"77 years old. I can't believe it. I didn't think I'd live past 35. Seven kids. Six grandkids. Three wives. I just left my doctors at [Sweden's] Karolinska Institute, and they said if I lose 30 pounds, I'll be here until I'm 110.

"To the young ones, you've got a lot to look forward to, because when you get over the hill, you pick up a little speed." 

-- Irene Lacher

Photos, from top: Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez perform at the Carousel of Hope ball. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images. Model Rachel Uchitel and Kathy Griffin. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images.  Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters. Clive Davis and Barbara Davis. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images >> Click to see red carpet photos of the event <<