On Monday, April 26, fashion designer Heather Thomson, actress Kristen Chenoweth and Today host Kathie Lee Gifford each got a Spirit of Life philanthropic achievement award from City of Hope, a California-based cancer center, at the Waldorf Astoria.
On the red carpet beforehand, the trio inexplicably broke into a rousing rendition of Burt Bacharach’s “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.”
Inside, Ms. Gifford was a bit more subdued. “It’s a great honor to be chosen, but at the same time, it’s incredibly humbling because you’re well aware that you’re the last person on earth who truly deserves it,” she said. “It’s the people that really do the work-the doctors, the scientists, the nurses.”
But surely the philanthropists are invaluable?
“I have rich friends like Herb and Sherry Siegal, who make big donations, and Frank Gifford,” Ms. Gifford, wearing knee-length green, agreed very seriously, adding: “I just want to be honest: I have no idea about what I’m going to say, as usual.”
Ms. Chenoweth, in a sparkling black dress, has been working hard in the Broadway play Promises, Promises and on a recent episode of Glee. Her mother, a three-time cancer survivor, was at the luncheon as well.
We asked if Ms. Chenoweth was disappointed by the cancellation of ABC’s Pushing Daisies. “Devastated is probably the right world. I’m not over it yet,” she said. But “I think [creator] Bryan Fuller is a genius, and he keeps saying, ‘You’re my muse, I’m going to write for you more.’”
Meanwhile, Ms. Gifford’s co-host, cancer survivor Hoda Kobt, pointed out the upside to going through a life-threatening experience.
“It doesn’t matter if its cancer, whatever your cross to bear is, if you find yourself surviving at the other end, you get four words, and they are ‘you can’t scare me,’” she told the Transom, before sitting down to eat. “And that’s really powerful.”