Robert and Linell Shapiro created this foundation after the tragic death of their son Brent, at age 24 on October 11, 2005, due to drug overdose. The Shapiros have established a “living legacy” of their son by starting Brent’s Club in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. There are more than 2,000 children enrolled in the program, which is dedicated to helping children at and at-risk communities avoid drug and alcohol abuse. These clubs reward the sober children with prizes like laptops, iPads and college scholarships, as well as getting them involved in activities out in the community like surfing, basketball, art and music.
I was fortunate enough to interview Robert and Linell briefly on the red carpet,and I could still see the tears and the pain in their faces. Linell told me that there is never a day that Brent is ever forgotten, and she misses him dearly.
I briefly chatted with Larry King, who told me that he told his 19-year-old son at the age of ten not to do any drugs or drink. He said it’s important to start when your children are young. Larry King’s tall and beautiful wife, Shawn, told me she was wearing some vintage 1970s outfit she pulled out of her closet.
Kathy and Rick Hilton were quite charming and gregarious on the red carpet. I asked Kathy where Paris was, and she told me she was in New York involved with some corporate meetings with her boutiques. I told Kathy the she must be very proud of Paris’ exclusive franchised gift stores. Kathy gave me a big smile and said yes!
I met Simona Fusco (RG1), a lovely, statuesque blond and founder of “Perfect 12 Introductions” matchmaking services of Beverly Hills, who also donated a $30,000 membership for the charity auction. I asked what her criteria was for women, and she said you have to be no older than 40, beautiful, with minimal baggage and be willing to date and marry a man 55 or older.
The gala that followed had a fabulous musical performance by David Lee Roth of Van Halen and Cleto and the Cletones (house band from Jimmy Kimmel live!). It was truly a spectacular performance, with dancers popping up on stands in the middle of the audience as well as on the stage wearing dazzling gold bikinis.
Extravagant one-of-a-kind items and vacations were auctioned off at the gala to help meet their fundraising goals. There was a brand new 2019 Ferrari Portofino donated by Ferrari of Beverly Hills, Super Bowl tickets for the February 3, 2019 game at the stadium in Atlanta Georgia, a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a one-on-one interview with Larry King as a guest on his Hulu show, and a pair of custom, autographed Christian Louboutin shoes.
Actor Joe Manganiello, star of ”True Blood,” was the recipient of the Spirit of Sobriety Award. He gave a moving speech, telling the audience, ”16 years ago I crashed and washed ashore on the banks of sobriety…I thought alcoholics were old, homeless, toothless men on the streets, and [that label] could never apply to me.”
The Brent Shapiro Foundation for Drug Prevention has exceeded all expectations, changing young people’s lives, helping them to achieve their education goals, and helping them to avoid alcohol and drug abuse. Robert and Linell Shapiro’s son’s name is now a living legacy that will benefit generations to come and they should be proud For the Brent Shapiro Foundation’s ability and dedication to saving lives every day.