Doug Herzog ’81, President of MTV Networks Entertainment Group and creator of Comedy Central, received The Help Humanitarian Award at The Help Group’s 14th Annual Teddy Bear Ball in Los Angeles to benefit children with autism and other special needs.
Six hundred guests, including John Wentworth ’81, attended the December 6 event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Producer, comedian, and award-winning writer Robert Smigel presented Emerson Trustee Herzog with his award. Smigel and his wife Michelle’s struggles to find educational support for their son, Daniel, who has autism, gave rise to the creation of Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Concert for Autism Education. Herzog was at the forefront of the initiative, which has become a major humanitarian effort that has raised nearly $10 million to date. The Help Group is among the recipient organizations of this year’s event.
“With as much as we’ve learned about autism in the past quarter century, it’s still something that’s mystifying and misunderstood by people. This is why I see the tremendous value in The Help Group. They take autism and put it in context—the context of how we can address it in so many positive and impactful ways.”
In accepting The Help Humanitarian Award, Herzog remarked, “With as much as we’ve learned about autism in the past quarter century, it’s still something that’s mystifying and misunderstood by people. This is why I see the tremendous value in The Help Group. They take autism and put it in context—the context of how we can address it in so many positive and impactful ways.”
Peter Berg, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Judy McGrath and Ken Solomon chaired the gala, which featured an opening holiday medley by The Help Group’s Children’s Choir and Louis Price, former lead singer of the Temptations. Later, Grammy-award winning musician Ziggy Marley performed and Andrea Fiuczynski, President of Christie’s, led a spirited live auction.
In addition to Herzog, The Help Group honored Jason and Kathleen Katims. Stars of NBC’s Parenthood Peter Krause and Monica Potter presented the Katims with the Champions for Children Award. The Katims speak openly about raising a 14-year-old son with Asperger’s Disorder. Their experiences are a touchstone for Parenthood, which provides insight into the struggles and triumphs of the Braverman family, who are raising a child with Asperger’s.
Gary H. Carmona, Help Group Chair, and Dr. Barbara Firestone, Help Group President and CEO, expressed their great appreciation to the honorees and to all who helped make the evening such a tremendous success. Dr. Firestone said, “It seems so fitting that our Teddy Bear Ball takes place in December each year—with the holiday lights and music and warm sentiments—as they say, that ‘most wonderful time of the year.’ Because they care, our honorees Doug, Jason, and Kathy are amazing change makers for quite literally countless children and their families.” Dr. Firestone also announced that The Help Group recently opened its fifth campus, a state-of-the-art autism center.
Photo: John Wentworth ’81 congrats Trustee and classmate Doug Herzog ‘81