Some 300 friends and admirers turned out recently at Santa Monica’s Fairmount Miramar Hotel to fete Larry Kurzweil, as the president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios Hollywood accepted the William Shatner Humanitarian Award.
The honor was conferred by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (BBBSLA) and raised $500,000 for its Camp Max Straus camper program for youngsters, largely from single parent and poverty line homes.
Kurzweil’s touching acceptance speech took the form of a “letter” from the honoree’s childhood alter ego at Camp Straus to his now deceased mother and father describing life at Camp Straus.
“This is the only time for most of the kids that they get three balanced meals a day…and they are treated with dignity and respect,” Kurzweil said.
As dinner co-chairs Howard Spunt and Sandy Sigal noted, during Kurzweil’s 10-year tenure in his present position, which includes running the City Walk entertainment complex, he has motivated his staff to participate actively in charitable projects.
Through the studio’s Discover a Star Foundation, $5 million have been donated to 60 organizations, benefiting mainly homeless and needy children.
So far, some 43,000 youngsters have enjoyed the one-to-two-week long Camp Straus experiences, noted Margy Feldman, BBBSLA’s president and CEO.
Ron Meyer, president of Universal Studios and many of Kurzweil’s colleagues from the entertainment industry attended the event.