As the “Special Guest Host” at the Jackie Robinson Foundation Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday night, Bill Cosby put the benefit’s guests through a gentle ribbing. “I would like all of the scholars to just say hello,” Mr. Cosby said to the packed ballroom. “And I would like the people responsible for giving the money to say hello.”
He continued: “There’s one person who gave nothing. Seated at table 19. His name is Harry Jefferson. Harry Jefferson, you can tell who he is—’cause he has no tuxedo. ‘Cause he’s so fat … and he’s in for free, ’cause he cannot have any food.” Guffaws all around!
This year’s honorees were actor and philanthropist Robert Redford, Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts and physician Benjamin Carson.
Mr. Redford told the Daily Transom that the Jackie Robinson award is “really special” to him. “Because it comes in conjunction with a great moment in history—the inauguration of President Obama changed a lot,” he said. “But that change actually started 60 years ago with people like Jackie Robinson. So for me, being a lover of baseball, a lot of things come together by this.”
Mr. Redford has also signed on to play Branch Rickey, the man who signed Robinson, for a Robinson biopic scheduled for 2010. Who, the Daily Transom wondered, will be Jackie? “I don’t know yet,” said Mr. Redford. “Well, I [could pick], but I’m not gonna say it now, because I might insult the actor who gets the part!”
Ms. Roberts of GMA couldn’t be of much help on this topic, either. “I can’t think of anyone. It’s funny, actually; it used to be when anybody asked you anything, it’s like: ‘Denzel Washington.’ That would just be the answer to everything. I don’t know. Though, wouldn’t that be a thrill?” (Later, on her way out, she called out to the Daily Transom: “What do you think?”)
Of course, one of the more popular topics of the evening was the new administration; Ms Roberts herself recently did a one-on-one interview with Michelle Obama. “The first time I interviewed her—she’s like 5-foot-11, I’m 5-10—she had on heels, I had on flats and she was towering over me. This time, I had on heels and she had on flats, she turned the corner and she saw me and she said: ‘You are so competitive!’ I love the fact, that here she is, the first lady, and she’s exactly the way she’s always been.”