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Marilu Henner and Jackie Collins Honored at Annual Luncheon

Women’s Guild’s annual spring luncheon was a celebration of accomplishment. On the philanthropic front, the organization presented a $1 million check to Arthur J. Ochoa, senior vice president of Community Relations and Development at Cedars-Sinai, toward its commitment to the new Women’s Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills.

Women’s Guild also bestowed its highest honors to three accomplished women. The Woman of the 21st Century Award went to Marilu Henner, actress and author of books that promote healthy living, while Jackie Collins, bestselling novelist and chair of the entertainment host committee for AIDS Project Los Angeles, received the Trailblazer Award. Women’s Guild President Lorette Gross presented the prestigious Evelyn Clayburgh Award, also known as “the Evie,” to board member Gina Furth. Gross called Furth “a diamond, a ruby and a gem” for her selfless dedication to Women’s Guild and Cedars-Sinai.

Honorees Marilu Henner and Jackie Collins

In addition to the awards presentation, Gross passed the role of president on to Hella Hershson, who steps up from being executive vice president. As she accepted the position, Hershson paid tribute to all past Women’s Guild presidents, describing them as creators of “a truly formidable legacy.”

Comedian and writer Annabelle Gurwitch served as master of ceremonies. Guests included actresses Joan Collins, Jami Gertz and Lori Loughlin, and designer Barbara Lazaroff.

The elegant event also featured a fashion presentation by Beverly Hills boutique Gratus. Founded by Meredith Kaplan, Gratus serves as a one-stop styling experience that offers women a highly personal touch and a carefully edited assortment of contemporary designer apparel.

“Part of our nature is to be givers,” said Henner, as she accepted her honor. Cedars-Sinai holds a special place in Henner’s heart — and not only because of the first-rate care her husband, Michael Brown, received at the hands of Robert McKenna Jr., MD, co-medical director and surgical director of Women’s Guild Lung Institute: Brown proposed to Henner from his hospital bed at the medical center while recovering from successful cancer surgery.

Collins’ remarks carried a message of female empowerment, saying she brought up her daughters with the motto: “Girls can do anything.”