New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blew into Hollywood Friday for a fundraiser and left with at least $500,000 in contributions and the sort of rave reviews that bring press agents -- and political strategists -- to tears.
Cuomo’s unflinching advocacy of marriage equality has made him a favorite among the industry’s Democratic activists, many of whom once nourished hopes that they’d get a chance to support his storied father, Mario, for the presidency. Cuomo’s masterful leadership of New York’s successful legislative campaign to recognize the right to marriage equality has tapped into those memories—and the concerns of a new generation of activist Dems.
Friday’s event -- dinner for 40 and a reception for about 80 guests -- was held at the home of interior designer and White House decorator Michael S. Smith and and his partner, HBO executive James Costas. The couple, who also maintain a residence in New York, also are major Democratic fundraisers, who have collected more than $1 million to support President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign.
Among the co-hosts of Friday’s reception and dinner were liberal stalwarts Rob and Michele Reiner, Steve Bing, Katie McGrath and J.J. Abrams, Candy Spelling, Darren Star, Chris Albrecht, Kevin Huvane, and Laura and Casey Wasserman.
Attendees included: MGM co-chairman Roger Birnbaum, Chelsea Handler, producer John Goldwyn and his parter Jeff Klein, who owns the Sunset Tower Hotel, Hard Rock Cafe owner Peter Mortin, Cynthia Sikes Yorkin, Vanessa Williams, Los Angeles City Controller and mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, Occidental Petroleum CEO Ray Irani, director James Burrows, and producer Jennifer Todd.
According to one of the supporters in attendance, the younger Cuomo wowed the crowd: “This was a cynical room filled with people who’ve seen every politician who’s come through this town over the past 30 years” and Cuomo’s description of his reasons for backing marriage equality simply riveted the group.
People left the event, saying "2016.”