Source: RP International.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006.
Many of Hollywood's best and brightest in film, television and music will descend upon the elegant Beverly Hilton Hotel Saturday, June 24th for the star-studded 33rd Annual Vision Awards(TM). The gala fundraising event, which has become an annual Hollywood tradition, honors entertainment luminaries and companies who have exhibited exceptional gift of "sight, foresight and insight" in the creative arts, related technologies and medical research and will be presented by RP International, the nation's leading non-profit fighting Retinitis Pigmentosa and other blinding degenerative eye diseases.
This year's Vision Awards(TM) is being hosted by legendary Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd and chaired by famed Director Arthur Hiller, who served as President of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for more than two decades, presiding over the Academy and also served two terms as President of the Directors Guild of America. A recipient of the Jean Hersholt Award himself, as well as the Oscar nomination for the smash 1970 weepie Love Story, this year's Vision Awards(TM) chairman Hiller now faces the biggest challenge of his career - the sudden loss of his own sight. Arthur Hiller became blind only one day after seeing his eye doctor. With no symptoms, the macular degeneration that affects more than 26 million Americans suddenly struck the gifted director. Hiller answers the call to help others by chairing the 2006 Vision Awards and helping to mobilize support from Hollywood's top luminaries to help launch the "Hollywood Cures Blindness, Hope Is In Sight" Campaign.
This year's Vision Awards being honored at the June 24th Vision Awards(TM) gala include Directors of Vision: George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck) and Rob Marshall (Memoirs of A Geisha); Television Producer of Vision: David E. Kelley; Film and Television Artists of Vision: Kirstie Alley, Peter Falk and Naomi Watts; Steve Allen Gift of Sight Vision Center Award: 60 Minutes' Ed Bradley; Woman of Vision: The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton; Producers of Vision: Peter Abrams, Robert Levy and Andrew Panay (Wedding Crashers); Michael Hausman (Brokeback Mountain); James Keach (Walk the Line); Grant Heslov (Good Night, and Good Luck); Caroline Baron and Michael Ohoven (Capote). Also being honored for Lifetime Achievement: The Honorable Willie Lewis Brown, Jr.; International Vision: The Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa; Composer of Vision: Mark Isham (Crash); Writers of Vision: Gill Dennis (Walk the Line); Eric Roth (Munich); Cinematographer of Vision: Robert Elswit (Good Night, and Good Luck); and Music Artist of
Vision: Patti LaBelle. Receiving the Jules Stein Living Tribute Award - USC is Edward Holland, M.D.; and the Estelle Doheny Living Tribute Award - UCLA for Innovation in Ophthalmology is Robert M. Sinskey, M.D.
The Vision Awards(TM) concentrates its appreciation on individuals and companies who have used their sight, foresight and insight to further the development of the creative arts for the benefit and enrichment of humankind.
As chairman of the 2006 Vision Awards(TM), Hiller puts his own feelings aside and plans for the making of a gala black-tie event that has a 33-year history of bringing television, filmmaking and medical research together with music and corporate leadership to notify and educate the American community for the desperate need for early eye detection in children and adults of silent symptoms of oncoming blindness, offering advice on where to go for protective sunglasses in order to preserve sight, seeking out research that might otherwise fall by the wayside.
The Vision Awards(TM) leader Helen Harris began the organization over 33 years ago when the same kind of diagnosis came into her home in Woodland Hills, this time affecting three of the family members, two sons and a mother. Painter and now advocate of early detection of sight loss in children Vision Awards founder Helen Harris gave up a career as a painter and the hopes and dreams of seeing the world while her sight was intact to pursue the cure or treatment of macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
The Hollywood Cures Blindness campaign is the brainchild of Harris, who, after 33 years of enlisting the help of hundreds of Hollywood stars for a disease that was incurable at that time and virtually unknown, now sees real hope and living proof that sight truly be restored as a result of recent adult stem cell transplant procedures in which an individual regained eyesight. Comments Harris, "We are now seeing the cure with the retinal cell transplant, and the recent successful adult stem cell transplant from a sister to her brother who has been blind for twenty-two years."
RP International is available to any family or individual for information and help for those losing their eyesight. The motto of RP International's founder, Helen Harris, is simple: if you can dream it, it can be done. For tickets and further information regarding attending the 2006 Vision Awards and contributions, please visit
call 1-800-FIGHT-RP, or write to P.O. Box 900, Woodland Hills, California 91365.
Mary Ellen Sanders
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