(October 27, 2016) – The 2016 Visionary Ball,
sponsored by Edie Baskin Bronson and Richard “Skip” Bronson
and benefiting the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery under the
direction of department chair and professor Dr. Neil A.
Martin, W. Eugene Stern Chair in Neurosurgery, honored
Michael V. Lewis with the Visionary Award; Linda M.
Liau, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., with the Medical Visionary
Award; Donald P. Bellisario with the Courage Award
and Jon Lovitz with the Rodney Respect Award
Thursday, October 27, 2016 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel,
The evening raised critical funds and
awareness in support of the millions of patients who battle
the most complex neurological disorders of this era.
Honorary Chairs were Roma Downey and Mark Burnett; gala
chairs were Edie Baskin Bronson and Susan Dolgen.
Singer India Carney, who appeared on the
eighth season of NBC-TV’s The Voice, wowed the
audience with her rendition of Roar.
Emmy Award winning writer, creator and
performer Larry Wilmore hosted the evening and welcomed the
more than 600 guests, cleverly performing a magic trick
while noting that the myriad accomplishments of the UCLA
Department of Neurosurgery are “more like ‘magic’ than
medicine.” “As a self-professed BLERD,” he noted, it is
fascinating to me to see how so much that was once science
fiction is now medical fact.”
Wilmore went on to introduce the evening’s
Honorary Chairs, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who movingly
told the story of their son Cameron and the heroic efforts
of UCLA’s Department of Neurosurgery in saving his life.
The two have gone on to endow the Burnett Family Chair in
the Division of Endocrinology at the David Geffen School of
Medicine overseeing the UCLA Neuroendocrine Tumor Program.
A highlight of the evening, introduced by Dr.
Neil Martin, department chair and head of the UCLA Stroke
Center, was a video featuring a bold new advancement – the
use of virtual reality to plan complex surgeries and as a
training tool for the next generation of neurosurgeons.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block added his personal
acknowledgement on behalf of the University, recognizing the
groundbreaking work of Dr. Martin and his team.
Producer, philanthropist and humanitarian
Sherry Lansing presented The Visionary Award to
Michael V. Lewis, CEO and co-founder of RealD. A globally
recognized leader in visual technology, his cutting-edge
advances have been used for robotic medical procedures,
piloting the Mars Rover and pioneering digital 3D cinema to
become the world’s largest 3D cinema platform with over
32,000 RealD equipped theaters in 72 countries. RealD is now
offering its technology to consumer electronics companies
around the world for use in the home and mobile device
markets. Under Lewis’s leadership, RealD has twice been
named by Fast Company as one of “The World’s Most Innovative
Companies.” Lewis has received multiple awards, including
being named among The Hollywood Reporter’s “Digital
Power 50” and as one of the publication’s “Innovative
Voices.” His many accolades include the Vanguard Award from
the Producers Guild of America, the Special Award of
Achievement for Technical Contributions to the Motion
Picture Industry at ShowEast, and the YPO and Edison
Innovation Foundation’s Thomas Alva Edison Innovation Award.
He is a marquee donor to the Motion Picture Television Fund,
serves on the City Year Los Angeles Board of Directors and
is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization.
Best known for his starring roles in the
1960’s classic The Man From Uncle and, most recently,
NCIS, actor and best-selling author David McCallum
presented The Courage Award to prolific writer,
producer and director Donald P. Bellisario, noting “Over the
decades, I’ve seen my share of scoundrels, mad men and the
occasional hero. To that last category and firmly on top of
the list is tonight’s honoree…my dear friend, my employer
and a true creative genius.”
Bellisario has been crafting words and
stories for more than 30 years—long before he gained
notoriety as the creator/producer of groundbreaking
television series such as Magnum P.I., Quantum Leap, JAG
and NCIS. His story began in 1961. After serving four
years in the U.S. Marine Corps and graduating with a degree
in journalism from Penn State, Bellisario started his
writing career at Pennsylvania’s Centre Daily Times
and then as a copywriter for a local advertising agency. He
next moved to Dallas for a position with the famous Bloom
Agency where he rose to senior VP, head of film production,
creative director, and board member. In 1976, Hollywood
beckoned and Bellisario became story editor of the hit
series Baa Baa Black Sheep. After five episodes, he
was promoted to serve as the show’s producer. He went on to
become supervising producer of Battlestar Galactica,
before developing his own highly successful series of
television hits. Named the 2001 Producer of the Year by the
Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors, Bellisario also
is the recipient of a “star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Ted Gagliano, President of Post-Production at
20th Century Fox, presented The Medical
Visionary Award to Linda M. Liau, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
and Vice-Chair of research and professor in the Department
of Neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at
UCLA. In addition, she also directs the UCLA Brain Tumor
Program, one of the world’s leading programs for brain tumor
research, diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Liau holds a B.S. and
B.A. from Brown University, received her medical degree from
Stanford University, and completed her residency in
neurosurgery at UCLA. She also received her doctoral degree
in Neuroscience at UCLA, as well as her M.B.A. from the UCLA
Anderson School of Management. Dr. Liau’s clinical expertise
is in intra-operative functional brain mapping and the use
of intra-operative imaging for resection of brain tumors (gliomas,
meningiomas and metastatic tumors). Dr. Liau and her
research team have developed the first personalized brain
cancer vaccine in the United States. The vaccine is made by
isolating a specific immune cell in the patient and
combining it with the patient’s own tumor tissue.
Joan Dangerfield, widow of comic genius
Rodney Dangerfield, presented The Rodney Respect Award,
named in honor of her late husband, to Emmy Award-winning
comedian Jon Lovitz. During his tenure at Saturday Night
Live, Lovitz created some of the most memorable and
inventive characters in the show’s history: Hannukah Harry,
The Devil, Master Thespian and Tommy Flanagan of
Pathological Liars Anonymous. His most prominent film
credits include A League of Their Own, The Wedding
Singer, Big, and The Producers: The Musical. Some
of his numerous television credits include Friends,
Seinfeld, Just Shoot Me and The Simpsons. He also
performed at Carnegie Hall three times and has sung the
National Anthem at Dodger Stadium and the U.S. Open. In
2004, he pursued his dream of doing stand-up and in 2009
opened the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at Universal Citywalk.
Former patients Michael Turnbull and Brad
Silver added their own moving personal testimonials to the
life-saving work of the doctors and support team at UCLA.
Previous Visionary Ball honorees
include: Elon Musk; Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D.; Ted
Gagliano; Kate Berg; Chelsea Handler; Sidney Kimmel; Louis
Ignarro; Doriana Sanchez; Bob Saget; Gerald S. Levey, M.D.;
Beth and Josh Friedman; Burt Bacharach; Louie Anderson;
David T. Feinberg, M.D.; Anthony N. Pritzker; Jim Carrey;
Joan Hyler; Peter Morton; Tim Allen; Donald Becker, M.D.;
Thomas Barrack and Jay Leno.
ABOUT UCLA NEUROSURGERY
For 27 consecutive years, UCLA Neurosurgery
has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as
one of the top programs in the nation and #1 in Los Angeles.
Under the leadership of department chair Neil A. Martin,
M.D., UCLA Neurosurgery continues to provide the finest and
most comprehensive patient care through innovative clinical
programs in minimally invasive brain and spinal surgery,
neuroendoscopy, neuro-oncology for both adult and pediatric
brain tumors, cerebrovascular surgery, stereotactic
radiosurgery for brain and spinal disorders, surgery for
movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy