Emmy Award winning actress Jane Lynch will host this year's Backstage at the Geffen fundraiser, which recognizes leadership in the theater community while raising support for the theater's artistic and outreach initiatives, honoring Hollywood legend Carol Burnett and Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment Jim Gianopulos. Ms. Burnett will receive the Distinction in Theater Award and Mr. Gianopulos will be presented with the Distinction in Service Award by entertainment icon and longtime colleague Warren Beatty. The star-studded event will be co-chaired by Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Robert A. Iger and his wife, journalist Willow Bay. This irreverent evening of laughter, music and stories, which is sponsored by City National Bank, will be held on Monday June 4, 2012 at the Geffen Playhouse.
Backstage at the Geffen is a truly unique event at which audiences are privileged with some of L.A.'s most prominent performers' intimate behind-the-scenes stories. This year's performers will be announced shortly, but previous artists who have shared their backstage stories include: Julie Andrews, Annette Bening, Kristin Chenoweth, Clint Eastwood, Brendan Fraser, Tom Hanks, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Hyde Pierce, Ray Romano, Martin Short and Dick Van Dyke.
Ms. Burnett will receive the Distinction in Theater Award for her enduring and unforgettable commitment to live performance. An award-winning actress and best-selling author, Ms. Burnett is widely recognized for her stage and screen work, most notably as the star of The Carol Burnett Show, which ran for 11 years, received 25 Emmy Awards and was named one of the "100 Best Television Shows of All Time," by TIME magazine in 2007. Ms. Burnett herself has been honored with 12 People's Choice Awards, eight Golden Globes, six Emmy Awards, the Horatio Alger Award, the Peabody Award for Friendly Fire, and the Ace Award for Between Friends with Elizabeth Taylor. She has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is a Kennedy Center honoree, and has been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. In 2000, Ms. Burnett added playwright to her credits when she and her daughter began writing her autobiographical play, Hollywood Arms, which premiered at the Chicago Goodman Theatre in 2002 before moving to Broadway at The Court Theatre later that year.
The recipient of this year's Distinction in Service Award, Jim Gianopulos has demonstrated a vital commitment to our cultural landscape. As Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, Mr.Gianopulos is one of the longest tenured studio heads in the industry and during his time at Fox he and his co-chair Tom Rothman have overseen a broad range of successful films and the studio's most profitable years ever. He also has the distinction of having championed two of the biggest risks, and the two highest grossing films of all time: Avatar and Titanic. Mr. Gianopulos is a Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a member of the Board of the Motion Picture & Television Fund and a trustee of the American Film Institute. In addition to his involvement in the entertainment industry, he serves on the National Entertainment Advisory Council for the Anti-Defamation League, on the Board and Executive Committee of the X-Prize Foundation and as a Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University.