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News and Events > News Home > "Celebrity Autobiography" raises $20,000 for LLU Children's Hospital
Celebrity Autobiography Cast
The cast donated their time to benefit LLUCH (Top row; from left):  Ryan Reynolds, Craig Bierko, Fred Willard, Tracee Ellis Ross, Bruce Vilanch, Lesley Ann Warren, and Matthew Perry.  (Bottom row; from left): Eugene Pack, Dayle Reyfel,Jennifer Coolidge, and Laraine Newman.
It was a star-studded event when New York based “Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words” took center stage for a special one-night showing in Los Angeles to benefit Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital on June 15.

“It was really exciting to have that opportunity and exposure in the Los Angeles market,” says Joanna DeLeon, CFRE, director, LLUCH Foundation. “It went beyond what we’ve ever done before. It was great.”

It all started about a year and a half ago when Dale Rotner, past president of the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Desert Guild, invited her cousin, actor Craig Bierko, to visit LLUCH. 

“There was no way I possibly could have known that I was a few hours away from having my life changed, literally changed, by the people I came across,” explains Mr. Bierko, who has acted in countless films, Broadway productions, and TV shows, including “Cinderella Man,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “Boston Legal.”

While at LLUCH, he visited prematurely born babies fighting for their lives and even held a Berlin heart that was sustaining a young patient until he recieved a new heart for his transplant surgery.

“It’s hard to say why we feel the need to do certain things at certain times in our lives,” says Mr. Bierko, “but when those moments come along, the question itself seems to fall away and you know only one thing for certain—it is time to act. This is the way I felt after meeting my new friends at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.”

After making lots of phone calls, Mr. Bierko had his plan set. He would help LLUCH by partnering with Eugene Pack, the creator and producer of “Celebrity Autobiography,” and Dayle Reyfel, the director, for a one-night showing in LA.

“When Craig Bierko approached us,” says Mr. Pack, “he was so passionate about the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and told us what it meant to him. We thought what a great opportunity to come back to LA, do the show, and invite people to help benefit Children’s Hospital.”

In the meantime, Mr. Bierko asked his long-time buddies Matthew Perry (“Friends”) and Ryan Reynolds (“The Proposal”) to join the cast, and after all the other preparations, it was showtime.

The curtains opened with Fred Willard (“‘Wall-E,” “King of the Hill”) reading from Mr. T’s autobiography. The laughter continued throughout the night as the cast read from several autobiographies, including *NSYNC,  Burt Reynolds, and Loni Anderson.

“All my friends showed up for me,” says Mr. Bierko. “They knew that this was important to me, and I think they were genuinly touched by it.”

“I’m so glad to be part of this,” says Jennifer Coolidge (“Nip/Tuck,” “Robots”). “I’m very excited; I hope they raise a lot of money tonight. It sounds like an incredible place.”

“It’s very encouraging,” shares Ms. DeLeon, “to see big name stars and various Hollywood people donate their time to do something like this. It was really great of them to particpate, and we really appreciate it.”

“Tonight was a great party!” says Mr. Bierko. “My wish is that this is just the kickoff, and we can keep doing this.”

By Patricia Thio