Celebrating Big Brothers Big Sisters at The Big Bash!
October 31st, 2008 @ 10:30 AM - Beverly Hills, Calif.
Expectations ran high on Thursday night, Oct. 30, that superstar Tom Cruise would turn up at The Big Bash!, the annual Rising Stars Gala put on by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the Inland Empire, despite the fact that he's living in New York at the moment while his wife Katie Holmes stars in a Broadway show. But we all know that he has his own plane, and can fly off at a moment's notice, which is why he was expected, since Paula Wagner, his long-time friend and producing partner, was being honored with the organization's Sherry Lansing Award.
But Tom didn't make the trip to honor Paula's mentoring skills; instead, his "Jerry Maguire" co-star and Oscar-winning buddy Cuba Gooding, Jr., did the honors. But first, earlier in the evening, that raucous actor jumped on stage with Joanne Worley and Fred Willard to help them run the live auction when bidding began to sputter.
"Hey, you white people with money, quiet down!" he joked, then led the multiracial crowd that filled the Beverly Hilton Hotel in repeating his signature saying, "Show me the money!"
Plenty of money was eventually raised for the BBBS organization, which also honored publicist Michael S. Sitrick with the Walt Disney Man of the Year Award and 12-year-old actress Abigail Breslin with the Young Heroes Award as stars Alan Arkin, Doris Roberts, Pam Dawber, Sarah Purcell, Jodie Sweetin, Jennifer Freeman and Larry King looked on.
But the real "Rising Star" of the night was Charice Pempengco, the 16-year-old Filipino singing sensation. The tiny gal with the huge voice wowed the audience with her astonishing rendition of "I Will Always Love You," leading to wild cheers and a standing ovation.
Who needs Tom Cruise, anyway, when the next generation of superstar is in the house?
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