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Stars from East and West Coasts Converge on Las Vegas for a Worthy Cause
On the weekend of February 25 and 26, fans from as far away as Belgium to as close by as Las Vegas were treated to a Celebrity Luau, an afternoon with daytime stars and a Fan Fair and Music Festival featuring 27 of daytime’s brightest talent.
It all happened at the Paris and Bally’s hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. They were host to the 3rd Annual Celebrities 4 Charity Weekend sponsored by Pro Events, Inc. which featured daytime celebrities from all three major networks. Stars from Guiding Light, Young and the Restless, One Life to Live, All My Children, General Hospital, Days of Our Lives and As the World Turns delighted fans during the weekend event. While the fans enjoyed meeting and taking photographs with their favorite stars, they were also helping the charity -- Purity for a Child’s Journey. This California-based charity’s mandate is to provide quality drinking water to America’s Children by installing water purification systems in the drinking fountains of public schools, park and recreational facilities as well as distribution of quality bottled water. For more information on ways you can support Purity for a Child’s Journey see their website www.purityforachildsjourney.org.
The weekend consisted of three events starting with a Celebrity Luau on Friday night and then an Afternoon Celebrity Auction followed by an intimate meet and greet and concluded with a night of music featuring several daytime stars on Saturday.
The setting for the Luau was a ballroom in the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas and the atmosphere was very island-like. The fans were entertained by a Polynesian band that featured native dancers. And if you looked closely, you could see the daytime stars getting into the act, albeit from a safe distance.
The first to arrive was All My Children’s always exuberant Vincent Irizarry (David), and his lovely wife, Avalon. After commenting that they were early, they were soon surrounded by very appreciative and adoring fans. The next to arrive, much to the delight of the attending male fans were Guiding Light ingénues Crystal Hunt (Lizzie) and Stephanie Gatschet (Tammy). These ladies were so gracious to both the fans and the press. They posed for endless photos.
Guiding Light was very well represented at the Luau with eight very popular actors. The crowd was ecstatic when Ricky Paull Goldin (Gus) arrived. It seems that Goldin is no stranger to the Celebrities 4 Charities weekends. But this year his reign as most popular Guiding Light actor came to an end when Guiding Light newcomers John Driscoll (Coop) and Tom Pelphrey (Jonathan) arrived. They could not even enter the room and for the entire evening, never got passed eight feet from the door. They were definitely the fan favorites at the Luau without a doubt.
It seems that besides being a fan favorite to the U.S. fans, Guiding Light’s John Driscoll was quite popular with a very young fan from Belgium named, Eleanor. She barely spoke English, but she soon melted the GL actor’s heart. When each actor entered the room, they were presented with real flower lei by yours truly. That was a task that I could not pass up. Each attending fan also was greeted by an ‘Aloha’ and beautiful silk flower lei. Driscoll was so taken by the little Eleanor’s hug that he gave her his lei and she then placed hers around his neck. Eleanor was smitten for the rest of the weekend without a doubt.
Guiding Light was not the only soap to generate a roar from the fans. OLTL’s Kassie DePaiva (Blair) looked radiant as she made her way through the room. But the overall surprise of the evening was the arrival of OLTL’s David Fumero (Cristian) and Melissa Gallo (Adriana) arm in arm. This may be the first time they attended an event together, but despite their reiteration that they are “good friends,” their obvious affection for each other could not be denied. When I asked Fumero how things were going in LA for pilot season, he said that he is still looking for an agent and that he has a lot of work ahead of him. But I asked the following question just for Soapdom readers and got this answer: Cristian may still return for a third time much to the chagrin of John/Natalie fans. Additionally, Fumero really enjoyed his scenes with Melissa Archer (Natalie). Their scenes together were scenes that were very poignant, but rewarding.
The ladies from Days of Our Lives, Patrika Darbo (Nancy) Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe) did not disappoint their fans. Bjorlin posed for tons of photos and exuded grace. Darbo was more relaxed and made all the fans smile. She has not been in the camera’s eye for a while, and she has slimmed down and looks marvelous. When asked, she credits Curves and is very happy with her results. To quote Darbo, she is “healthy as a horse.”
The Luau ended early enough so that the fans could either enjoy Las Vegas, or rest up for the next day’s activities.
There were two events on Saturday: An Afternoon with the Stars that featured a Meet and Greet, a Celebrity Auction and a wonderful buffet; and, later in the evening the fans would be treated to a Fan Fair and Music Festival. The actors from LA-based soaps, General Hospital and Young and the Restless, took center stage on Saturday. It seems that their filming schedules did not permit them to fly out until Saturday morning and therefore the fans were more than anxious to see them. Greg Vaughn (Lucky, GH) and Shaun Benson (Steven, GH) were constantly posing and signing autographs. Benson would later find out just what it’s like to be a ventriloquists’ dummy. Yup, you read correctly. And a great dummy he was! LOL
Not to be denied, however, were the actors of the Young and the Restless. There is just no way that you can stay serious once Christian LeBlanc (Michael) enters a room. This man is non-stop energy and is constantly telling stories. He just seemed to overshadow Greg Rikaart (Kevin), since Rikaart is far more low key.
But the big moment came when Y&R’s Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) arrived. There was a literal hush over the crowd, and then, the cameras started clicking. Despite all the flashbulbs in her face, this lady held center court much to the delight of the fans. She was also excited to have the opportunity to talk about her son’s current movie project, “Carpool Guy.” During the Q&A auction portion of the event, she delighted the actors with the information that this movie is a series of 12 movies and that Corbin Bernsen (Durant, GH), her son, intends on hiring daytime actors. Kassie DePaiva (Blair, OLTL) wanted to make sure that Cooper had her resume.
Patrika Darbo (Nancy, DOOL) and Jeanne Cooper (Katherine, Y&R) were the best auctioneers that I have EVER seen. Cooper was auctioning off her watch and her ring for the Purity for a Child’s Journey charity. I believe that both items yielded a nice sum of $2,000. Also at auction were many lunches with the actors. The estimated final yield from the auction was around $13,000.
The Q&A portion of this event was so hysterical. One of the questions posed was for the men to show us their butts. I was caught off guard by that, and even though I was center stage, I was not prepared to see GL’s Tom Pelphrey (Jonathan) start to moon the audience. I had to close my jaw after that. But, the lovely Patrika Darbo (Nancy, DOOL) wouldn’t let things rest. She proceeded to check out whether the actors wore boxers or briefs or nothing at all. When she checked out GH’s Shaun Benson (Steven), she shrilled “he has nothing at all, he’s a commandant.” What she really meant was that he went “commando,” but by now the audience is howling anyway so who cares?
Meanwhile, Tom Pelphrey (Jonathan, GL) displayed more than his butt. No not physically -- he does impressions. He did an awesome Jack Nicholson along with a few others. His talent and potential has truly yet to be shown. There was one woman who was so enamored with Pelphrey that he had to go hug her. I am always amazed by him at every event he attends. He is so talented and given time, daytime’s audiences will see just how much.
After a few hours reprieve, the fans were then ready to attend the Fan Fair Music Festival portion of the weekend. This is where the fans were treated to the talents of ABC’s Bobbie Eakes (Krystal, AMC) and Kassie DePaiva (Blair, OLTL), and the delightful Mandy Bruno (Marina, GL). Eakes and dePaiva were gracious enough to autograph their CDs for the fans. Eakes just released “Something Beautiful” and DePaiva’s latest CD is entitled “No Regrets.” You can order the CDs at www.bobbieeakes.com and www.kassiedepaiva.com. Bruno was so lovely, and just like so many of the Guiding Light actors, she has yet to show daytime audiences just how talented she is. The evening’s musical entertainment ended with Stephen Martines’ (Tony, GL) band. He sang original material and a very poignant song about his dad.
Despite the fact that the musical portion of the evening had come to an end, fans still could delight in hugs from and photos with their favorite daytime friends. Yes, I said friends, because since the weekend was comprised of three events, it was easy to create a bond with these very generous and giving actors. There is one fan that will not forget these events, as she got personal salsa dance lessons from One Life to Live’s Kamar De Los Reyes (Antonio).
As the fans headed home, they were overjoyed at the fun time they had over the weekend. They left saying ‘See you next year.”