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George Christy 01-30-2009

     Jaunty as a bouncing elf in his athletic shoes, Rabbi Mark Borovitz welcomed the crowd during the Silent Auction before emceeing the Beit T’Shivah awards dinner at the Beverly Hilton.  “We couldn’t be more thrilled with our huge turnout,” he beamed, explaining that Beit T’Shuvah helps those who lost their way due to addiction, bringing them back to spirituality and their Jewish faith.   We met a pretty young lady, Karen Searles,  in her Second Step of Beit T’Shivah’s 12 Step program, and her enthusiasm for her recovery was touching.  (“You may use my name,” she offered.)   Living on the Beit T’Shuvah campus, centrally located on the Westside, she praised T’Shuvah’s Jewish tradition, citing “response, repentance and return to sobriety, family and Judaism.”  Noble goals, indeed.    

    We were the guest of the handsome Krevoy family, my being a longtime friend of entrepreneurial producer Brad Krevoy, whose dad, Dr. Norman Krevoy, is the popular dentist in Beverly Hills, a yachtsman, motorcyclist, baseball player, fisherman, gardener and photographer, as well.  Through these 10 years, Norman’s volunteered his services, free, for those in the “repentance and return” program.  He and wife Cecile, wed 60 years (“we met at Temple”), lost son Jack to addiction, and, in accepting his Harriet Award, Norman eloquently described how his pro bono work at Beit T’Shuvah  helped assuage his grief.    

    Seated with Cecile and Norman were sons Phil and Brad.  Phil with wife Kellie and two-year-old charmer Phebie (their weeks-old Jillian kept the home fires warm).  Along with Brad and wife Susie were their Miss America beauties Olivia, 10, Sophia, 9, and Alexandra, 8.  Family friend Stephanie Hosfeder joined them.

     Rick Rosen accepted the 2009 T’Shuvah Award, Rick being the co-founder of the powerful Endeavor Agency that represents clients Conan O’Brien and David E. Kelley, along with packaging television’s Gilmore Girls, Crossing Jordan, and other series.  He was presented with his award by nephew Oliver, son of Rick’s producer sister Lynda Obst. Oly, who battled and conquered addiction, is now an Endeavor agent, and  had the crowd howling with his impromptu stand-up routine.  

    Stockbroker David Ruderman, who serves as chairman of the board for the Tower Cancer Research Center, was honored with his Harriet Award.  “Cancer and addiction destroy lives in their own unique way. But the staff at Beit T’Shuvah has helped numerous happy second acts prevail.”  He thanked his “old friends that I’m seeing in the crowd – and those old friends with new faces.”  More laughs from the crowd.

    “This year I’m in awe … for your support keeps our doors open and our residents fed for another year.  Despite the fear and uncertainty surrounding the economy, you have given generously,” informed founder Harriet Rosetto.  We discovered that Beit T’Shuvah is the only residential Jewish addiction rehabilitation program in the U.S., based on Jewish traditions and spirituality, the 12-step recovery and traditional psychotherapy.  A last resort for addicts who’ve exhausted their families’ and their own personal resources.  Harriet acknowledged her development director Barbara Friedman, gala chairs Beverly Gruber and Lisi Teller, Beit T’Shuvah’s chairman Nancy Mishkin, and Rabbi Jay Siegel, who announced before the invocation that he’s a recovered heroin addict.

    Here and there were Dr. Susan Krevoy, who’s among the professional staff volunteers, Brad Ruderman, Melissa Ruderman, Susan and Jon Dolgen, Beny Alagem, Doug Herzog, Steve Stabler, Ronnie and Joe Stabler, Ron Rifkin, Joel Grey, Jo Wilder, Jennifer Grey with Clark Grey, James Grey, Endeavor’s Nancy Josephson, Tom Strickler, Richard Weitz, Ari Greenberg, Max Mutchnik, Diane Conn with Mace Neufeld, Sylvie and Steve Rabineau, Joyce and Stanley Black, Larry Kopetkin, Loraine and Robert Sinskey, Diane Merrick with Roger Simon, Michael Donkis, now partnering with Joy Fehily at her newly formed Prime PR, representing screenwriter Peter Morgan, Joel Silver, McG, Graham King.

    Brad Krevoy had returned from Sundance, where his HBO film, Taking Chance, based on a true story, was showered with standing ovations during the screenings.  “The response has been overwhelming … many cried,” says Brad, noting that Kevin Bacon, in a riveting performance, stars as the Marine, who accompanies the body of a Marine colleague to Wyoming.   The poster reads, “When one falls, another brings him home.”  HBO is hosting powerhouse screenings in Washington, D.C. in Manhattan, and in Chance’s hometown, with the film airing on February 2lst.  

    “I’m never lonely in Los Angeles.  Oddly, I am lonely in New York,” says London-born Peter Morgan, who was visiting Los Angeles for the awards shows.  “I’m totally at home here with my favorite hangouts like Giorgio’s, e. baldi, JAR, La Scala, Ago … and I couldn’t ask for more comfort than at the L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, and the Oceana in Santa Monica.  I’m fascinated with the architecture in L.A, although I’m not one to go east of La Brea in Hollywood.”

    He’s Oscar-nominated for his screenplay, Frost/Nixon, adapted from his successful stage play, which was brewing in Peter’s imagination since 1993 about the 1977 landmark television programs between Brit TV host David Frost, who paid $600,000 to interview former president Richard Nixon.   “They say it has a contemporary resonance, but it doesn’t matter to me if it didn’t.  I’ve never seen it as a metaphor for Bush-Blair.”  Frost/Nixon’s other Oscar nominees include Frank Langella as Nixon and director Ron Howard.  Peter also was nominated for his brilliant screenplay The Queen, which delivered a Best Actress Oscar to Helen Mirren and her royal portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II.   Peter wrote the acclaimed The Last King of Scotland, which won an Oscar for Forrest Whitaker.
    He’ll soon direct his screenplay, The Special Relationship, about the Bill Clinton/Tony Blair friendship.   “How lucky can you get to have Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall come on as producers.  At first I aimed to include George W. Bush, but those strong personalities of Blair and Clinton took over.   The incredible Michael Sheen again will be Tony Blair, as he was in The Queen, and the casting search continues for who’ll play the charismatic Bill Clinton.  “A difficult role with many shadings of light and darkness … I’ve interviewed a number of actors, think about this round-the-clock.  Off the record, I’ll mention a few.  Just between us now … what’s your opinion?”  All were interesting, and true to my promise, mum’s the word.   Then, he adds, there’s the casting of Hillary Clinton.  I’m researching incidents between 1997 and 2000 in Washington, D.C., and looking into Clinton’s hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.   Like them or not, he and Hillary remain among the most powerful world figures.  

    “I love writing, am an early riser, write every day, and when lunch comes around, I take time out to exercise and be with my family.  My wife, Lila Schwarzenberg, was born in  Vienna, we have four children.   In London, we find wonderful Lebanese food, there’s a lovely spot on Beauchamp Place, and we enjoy J. Sheekey for fish.  Great atmosphere, conveniently located in the theater district on the West End.   I can’t handle dining at 11 o’clock as they do in Spain or Italy.   I prefer dining early, and being in bed before 10 o’clock.  Or earlier.  My father, a German Jew, fled the Nazis, and my mom’s Catholic, but the Jew in me likes to stay home.”

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