A star-studded crowd gathered at the Beverly Hills Hotel recently for the annual Courage in Journalism awards hosted by the International Women’s Media Foundation. CNN anchor Campbell Brown served as master of ceremonies for the event, which honored women journalists from Gaza, Iran, Cameroon and Belarus. Presenting the women’s harrowing stories were Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer” correspondent Judy Woodruff and actress Angie Harmon. The reporters’ lives have been threatened because of their critical portrayals of their governments.

But there were some lighthearted moments. In a raspy voice, Harmon jokingly introduced herself by saying, “I’m Angie Harmon and I’m not contagious.”

Guests mingled throughout the evening, and media mogul David Geffen was spotted talking to former William Morris Agency Chairman Jim Wiatt and CNN’s Brown. Other guests included well-known local lawyers Vincent Chieffo, who is working on some legal affairs of Michael Jackson’s estate; Gail Migdal Title; Maren Christensen; and Ted Boutrous. Also attending: Associated Press special correspondent Linda Deutsch and Los Angeles Times editorial writer Marjorie Miller.

The event raised about $1.2 million.

Back to the Future

Dick Lewis has been in the public relations business for four decades, but something happened to him recently for the first time. He reconnected with a family he hadn’t worked with in years.

About 20 years ago, Lewis handled PR for a local real estate company headed by developer Taylor Grant. Flash-forward to 2009 and Lewis is working for Grant again. But the association doesn’t end there. Back when Lewis was first getting into the business, he did PR for Robert H. Grant Corp., a homebuilder headed by Grant’s now retired father.

“It must be kismet,” Lewis said.

Lewis has gotten to know the Grants so well over the years that he has extended Taylor Grant a rare offer – a handshake deal.

“I wouldn’t do that with anyone else today,” he said.

Reconnecting with his old client gave Lewis an idea to dust off the old Rolodexes in search of some other “new old clients.”

“There is no new business like old business,” he said.

Lobbying for Classic Look

When architect Richard Keating was hired by J.P. Morgan to remodel the lobbies of the Century Plaza Towers a few years back, he turned to a film for inspiration.

Keating, a fan of dance movies, recalled that “Turning Point,” a flick about two ballerinas, features a scene at the twin towers that anchor Century City.

In the 1977 film, characters played by Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft have a confrontation outside one of the lobbies. Keating watched the film again and was struck by the open layout of the lobbies. He showed the scene to J.P. Morgan and was able to convince the building owner that the redesign should remove some of the walls that were later added to enclose the lobbies.

“It helped my argument that this was part of the original idea and therefore we should respect it,” said Keating.

And he added that he’s seen the movie several times. “I love it.”

Staff reporters Alexa Hyland and Daniel Miller contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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