October 20, 2015 | Press

Denise Rich raised about three and a half million dollars last night at the annual Gabrielle’s Angel Ball, named for her beloved daughter who passed away in 1996. After a couple of years of downsizing, the Angel Ball was back last night in force, with roughly 900 guests at Cipriani downtown dressed in their formal best and rocking to Patti LaBelle and Ryan Tedder with One Republic.
And the guests were truly A list: Heidi Klum, Clive Davis, Nikki Haskell, Ivana Trump, Sam Moore, Nick Cannon, and Star Jones just to name a few. Usher put in a long appearance and greeted everyone. James Carville and Mary Matalin were there, along with race car driver Jeff Gordon, and sponsor host Lorraine Schwartz, the most popular jeweler since Harry Winston.

Denise’s faithfuls were there, like Michelle and Frank Rella, and Michelle Herbert, as well as philanthropist Jean Shafiroff, Steve Boxer of Phillippe restaurant, newscaster Felicia Taylor, pr magnate Norah Lawlor, and so on. The evening honored NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian and Amy France, Mary Kitchen and Compass Lexecon Co-Founder Jon Orszag. My old pal Alicia Quarles, who looked like a million bucks, did a lot of emceeing. At one point, she proposed marriage to a stunned Patti LaBelle to raise money for research. Patti got a kick out of that, but declined graciously.

There was talk of those K people may turning up, but they didn’t (which was wise considering their situation). Also, Cipriani was bursting at the seams this year as the silent auction separately may have yielded around $2 million.

Heidi Klum, whom I’ve known since long before “Project Runway” turned her into a fashion mogul, brought along a young man (whose parents I know quite well) as her “date.” She said, “This is my side piece!” Tell the tabs. It was all for fun.

Like TJ Martell, Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research is the real deal. I remember in the first years when Denise started it, we all thought it was a reason to gather celebrities and have a party. But this foundation produces results, particularly in children’s cancers and leukemia. It’s one of the few annual events like this where the vast number of people in the room stop and listen to the survivors’ speeches. Nicely done.

PS Patti sang the crap out of “Lady Marmalade.” Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic is the real thing. He sang some of his hits and played keyboards with OneRepublic. They’re a tight band and real musician

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