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2009 Orange Ball Honors Nancy Utley & Carole Bayer Sager

Featuring a Special Performance by Toni Braxton

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An all-star cast of actors, musicians, producers, studio execs and Lupus LA supporters gathered for the 9th annual Lupus LA Orange Ball on May 28, 2009 at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. Hosted by CSI Miami star Eva La Rue, the entertaining evening included cocktails, dinner, a live auction and a special performance by Toni Braxton.  Bollywood-style dancers opened the event with a performance of "Jai Ho" from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack.

This year’s Orange Ball honored two amazing and accomplished women: Nancy Utley, President of Fox Searchlight Films, and famed lyricist, songwriter and singer, Carole Bayer Sager.

Utley, who recently oversaw the studio’s release of Oscar Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire, was presented with Lupus LA’s 2009 entertainment industry Loop Award by her friend Drew Barrymore.  “Nancy is not only a great inspiration to hundreds of filmmakers—she is also a great mentor,” said Barrymore, who is working with Nancy Utley on her directorial debut, Whip It. “You should also know something about Nancy that makes her a true superwoman, and makes her success even sweeter and more impressive. She’s done it all while battling lupus. Not only is Nancy one of my heroes, but she is clearly a hero to so many with lupus.”   

Legendary music producer David Foster presented fellow legend Carole Bayer Sager with the 2009 Daniel J. Wallace Founder’s Award. The award recognizes an individual chosen by Dr. Wallace, Lupus LA’s founder, who embodies inspiration and leadership in both their professional and personal accomplishments. Bayer Sager, who has written countless chart-toppers, is also a prominent philanthropist and co-chairs the Los Angeles Advisory Board of DonorsChoose with her husband Robert Daly.

In addition to the honorees, four women were selected by Lupus LA to share their lupus stories. Venice Gell told what it’s like to be a teenager living with lupus; Jennifer Thompson shared her story of being a young mom; and Amanda Cowan and her mom Debi spoke of their battle against Amanda’s lupus.

Orange Ball Video

Check out the excitement at this year’s Orange Ball

Venice Gell


Jennifer Thompson


Amanda and Debi Cowan

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