08 Dec Howie Mandel Brings Riotous Laughter To A Sold Out Crowd At LIFEs 22nd Annual Lady In Red Gala

It may have been raining outside but the only water coming down inside at the 22nd Annual Lady in Red Gala on Saturday night, Dec. 5 were from tears of laughter as the sold-out crowd of more than 600 people responded to one hilarious bit after another by stand-up comedian and Americas Got Talent star Howie Mandel.

Mr. Mandel headlined the electrifying evening, themed Masquerade Risqu, at the luxurious Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach. But the stars of the program were aplenty, from a musical performance by the sensational Will and Anthony Nunziata, twin brothers from Brooklyn who sang a medley of Sinatra-type tunes, Broadway melodies, and Italian love songs; dancing to the sounds of the Sultans of Swing; and a pool-side cocktail hour which included a vodka luge, delicious caviar, a dazzling ice sculpture and the Palm Beach Symphony serenading guests, all courtesy of The Park Foundation, Patrick M. Park; while dinner featured shrimp bigger than baseballs, Beef Wellington and Baked Alaska.

Gala chair and host Lois Pope, who created the Lady in Red, said that the evening raised nearly $800,000 and once again benefitted American Humane Association to fund its excellent work, including its Red Star Emergency Services program that provides rescue, treatment and shelter to animals lost, displaced, and injured in floods, hurricanes and other disasters, as well as those who are abused in kill shelters and through other acts of cruelty. Palm Beach County is home of one of the massive Red Star Emergency Services mobile tractor-trailers, thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Pope.

Other gala chairs were a veritable Whos Who of Palm Beach society: Tova Leidesdorf, Dr. Robert Mackler, Jan and Chip Malley, and Patrick Park. Co-chairs were Suzi and Rick Goldsmith, Janet and Mark Levy, and Bjaye and Frank Pilotte. Sponsors included Mr. Park, Wells Fargo, Ms. Leidesdorf, Len Ari Foundation, The Bristol Palm Beach, Christine Lynn, Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Malley, NetJets, Mendozza, Tiffany & Co., and Bos Entertainment.

There were three special VIP guests, who came not in tuxedos or sequined gowns but nevertheless lapped up a significant amount of attention: 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog of the Year Harley, Military Dog of the Year MWD Cena, and Service Dog of the Year Axel.

Harley spent the first 10 years of his life living in a cage in a commercial dog-breeding operation a puppy mill before volunteers rescued him and gave him much-needed veterinary care. Harley was then adopted by Rudi and Dan Taylor of Berthoud, CO in 2011 with the understanding that he might live just another two or three months. But the little dog kept thriving and enjoying life so much that Rudi Taylor started a Facebook page for Harley Freight Train Taylor. Since then, the one-eyed (he lost an eye in the puppy mill cage to which he was confined), six-pound Chihuahua has become the mascot for a Harley to the Rescue campaign, which has raised funds to save and care for more than 500 puppy mill dogs to date.

Harley (and the other two dogs and, of course, their owners) was certainly at home at the gala, stopping to take photos with avid supporters of his cause among the crowd. There was also a great deal of support for the live auction, which was emceed by Mr. Mandel and featured among other items a one-of-a-kind Mini Cooper convertible designed and painted by the world-renowned artist Romero Britto, that was won by LIFE Board member Suzi Goldsmith; and two 50-yard line tickets to Super Bowl 50, which were won by longtime supporter Kerry Kessel.

Mrs. Pope announced that the 23rd Annual Lady in Red Gala is scheduled for Saturday evening, Dec. 3, 2016 at Mar-A-Lago. For more information, call 561-582-8083 or email life@life-edu.org.

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Information contact: Cara MacVane
Tel: 561-685-2342   Email: cmacvane@aol.com

Photo(s): Capehart Photography