We wanted to know more about her newsman obsession, but the actress dashed off immediately after the dinner to catch a private jet home. “It was a very nice shout out,” an obviously pleased Blitzer told us.
Zeta-Jones — raven hair flowing, form-fitting gown — received the foundation’s public service award and provided the shot of Hollywood glamour Washington has come to expect at the annual gala hosted at the home of Kuwaiti Ambassador Salem Al-Sabah and his wife, Rima. The actress’s appearance at the dinner followed a couple weeks where her personal life became a tad too public: News that she was released last month from treatment for her ongoing bipolar disorder, and her husband Michael Douglas’s ambiguous oversharing about the possible cause of his throat cancer. (He seemingly suggested to an interviewer it was HPV contracted via oral sex; his rep later denied it.)
Neither topic, of course, had a chance to come up Sunday night. The actress greeted guests in the receiving line and sat between the ambassador and David Axelrod during dinner but did not mingle with guests before or after dinner. “She was absolutely wonderful,” said the ambassador. “Very charming, very grounded.” Mostly, he told us, they talked about their children.
The fact that Secretary of State John Kerry was simply the other big draw was testament to the wattage of the gala: The bi-partisan guest list included White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (sporting a sling on right arm from his recent bicycle spill), Sen. Roy Blunt, Rep. John Dingell (who got his own shout out from Kerry for becoming the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history), Alan Greenspan and emcee Andrea Mitchell, and ambassadors from Britain, France, Spain, Japan, Canada, Morocco, Turkey and more. Kerry gave an extended speech on the ongoing challenges of peace around the world, but threw a bouquet to Zeta-Jones: “If I tell you how many of her films I’ve seen and loved, Denis will think I don’t work.”
The “Educate and Empower” gala raised $1.5 million earmarked for graduate school scholarships — primarily to Arab women students — at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.
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