“We’re talking about our survival on the planet. What could be more important?” Goldie Hawn told reporters as she arrived at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Gala on Thursday night in Beverly Hills, Calif., to honor the environmental efforts of Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, entrepreneur Jeff Skoll (eBay), and power couple Eric and Wendy Schmidt. “We’re leaving a planet for your children and grandchildren. So I’m here to support that effort,” Hawn added.
Held at the 53,000-square-foot mansion of Jeanne and Tony Pritzker, fellow celeb environmentalists Courteney Cox, Maria Bello, and Rashida Jones, among others, enjoyed stunning views as the sun set over Los Angeles. After the picture-perfect poolside cocktail hour, the guests settled into a tent in the back of the compound for dinner. While the topic was serious—2015 was the hottest year on record, host John Salley pointed out early in the night—the tone of the evening was very playful.
"I'm happy to be here. It occurred to me to say I'm deliriously happy, but I'm not that happy," quipped TV legend Norman Lear, who presented the award to Sarandos, adding that at 93, he was getting standing ovations just for standing upright. Natasha Bedingfield slipped out of the mermaid dress she had rocked on the carpet into a black jumpsuit and leather jacket to perform her hits “Pocket Full of Sunshine” and “Unwritten.” "I’m so happy to be part of this night,” said Bedingfield, who added Coldplay’s “The Scientist” to her set, in honor of those working for the UCLA Institute.
Between courses, the guests mingled around the purple-hued tent. Hawn gave David Foster a big warm hug while Cox chatted with Jane Fonda. Bello patiently stood in line to shake hands with former Vice President Al Gore, who was busy greeting guests every time the program allowed for a break. The laughter continued during the live auction when Fonda realized she was the highest bidder for tickets to the 3rd Annual Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Gala in St. Tropez that she was already attending for work. Fonda got up on stage to say she would sit in the lap of whoever outbid her.
A dinner guest not only got a to see the actress climb into his lap, but after parting with $30,000, he received a big kiss on the lips. Film producer Lawrence Bender may have been wishing for similar treatment when he put down $250,000 for a trip to Patagonia, but had to settle for Fonda’s promises to hook him up with her “favorite ex-husband’s ranch.” The true benefactor of the night was, of course, the environment, which Gore implored the audience to continue trying to save. "We're winning, but it's important that we win faster," he said. “The future of humanity is on the line.”