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Acclaimed Actress Julie Andrews, Award-Winning Filmmaker Blake Edwards to Receive 2010 Caritas Award

Actress Julie Andrews and filmmaker Blake Edwards will receive the prestigious Caritas Award on Oct. 16 at the 2010 Caritas Gala, hosted annually by the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation Trustees and the Irene Dunne Guild. Additionally, Saint John’s Health Center Trustee Carolyn Dirks and her husband, Brett Dougherty, will receive the Spirit of Saint John’s Award for their unwavering commitment and generous support.

Each year, the Caritas Gala honors an individual or individuals who demonstrate compassion and concern for others through exceptional service to the community. Proceeds from the Gala, which will take place at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, benefit Saint John’s proceeds and services.

Andrews and Edwards, who have been married almost 41 years, were chosen this year for their shared deep concern for the well-being of others, which is reflected in their long-standing involvement with Operation USA, an international relief organization committed to providing assistance to disaster-stricken areas around the world and in the United States.

“Julie and Blake are the ideal honorees for this year’s Caritas Gala because of their dedication to multiple charitable causes and long-standing friendship with Saint John’s,†Saint John’s President and CEO Lou Lazatin said. “They truly uphold Saint John’s mission of providing help to the poor and vulnerable.â€

Additionally, in 1992, Andrews was named Goodwill Ambassador for UNIFEM (The United Nations Development Fund for Women), an organization dedicated to helping women and communities in impoverished countries. In 2000, Queen Elizabeth II appointed her a Dame Commander of the British Empire.

Edwards is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker who became an international favorite with the 1961 release of his enchanting classic, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and many other memorable films, including The Days of Wine and Roses, Experiment in Terror, Shot in the Dark, That’s Life, SOB, The Great Race, 10, Victor Victoria and his legendary Pink Panther films. In 1992, Edwards was honored by the 45th Annual Cannes Film Festival and received the coveted French Legion of Honor for his outstanding contributions to the arts. In 2004, he was presented with an honorary Oscar in recognition of his remarkable, memorable and unique filmmaking career. In addition, Edwards is recognized in the art world as a highly accomplished painter and sculptor.

As an actress, Andrews received an Academy Award for her first film, Mary Poppins, and was nominated for her performance in The Sound of Music. In 1989, she became the first actress to be given the special Tribute Award of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and won five Golden Globe awards. Today’s film audiences know her as a queen trying to transform her teenaged granddaughter into a princess in The Princess Diaries and its sequel. She is also known for her voiceover roles as Steve Carell’s mother, Marlene, in the recent box office blockbuster Despicable Me, as well as Queen Lillian in the very successful Shrek franchise. A best-selling author of children’s books, she is a staunch advocate for literacy and the arts.

Andrews and Edwards are extremely committed to their work and humanitarian causes, but their greatest pride and joy is their family. For their boundless generosity and passionate concern for others, Saint John’s is proud to honor them with the 2010 Caritas Award.

Also being honored at the event will be Dirks and Dougherty. This remarkable Los Angeles couple shares a passion for charitable giving and for the many causes they support. They made substantial gifts toward the rebuilding of the Health Center following the 1994 earthquake, including the Dirks/Dougherty Laboratory for Cancer Research and the daVinci Surgical System, the latest technological advance in prostate surgery. Dedicated benefactors of the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s, they generously support the Institute’s research and fellowship programs.

Dirks is best known to Saint John’s as a member of the Foundation Board of Trustees, Board of Advisors of the John Wayne Cancer Institute, and President of the Joseph B. Gould Foundation, a charitable organization founded by her father. Most recently, the foundation provided significant contributions to fund the Ambulance Entrance and Trauma Bay in the new Saint John’s Emergency Department and the beautiful Sister Marie Madeleine Chapel at Saint John’s.

“Carolyn’s and Brett’s contributions to Saint John’s are immeasurable,†Lazatin said. “We are proud to honor Carolyn and Brett with the 2010 Spirit of Saint John’s Award.â€

With an annual attendance of 600 individuals, the Caritas Gala has a distinguished following of prominent Westside residents, including the Saint John’s Board of Trustees, Irene Dunne Guild, patrons and friends, physicians and hospital leadership, prominent business and community leaders. This year’s Gala Chair is Pacific Palisades-resident Maria Arechaederra who has been assisted by Gala Co-Chairs Evelyn Guerboian from Tarzana and Patricia Lorne from the Pacific Palisades

Since its founding in 1942 by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Saint John’s has been providing the patients and families of Santa Monica, West Los Angeles and ocean communities with breakthrough medicine and inspired healing. Saint John’s provides a spectrum of treatment and diagnostic services with distinguished areas of excellence in cancer care, cardiac care, orthopedics, women’s health and specialized programs such as the internationally acclaimed John Wayne Cancer Institute. Saint John’s Health Center is dedicated to bringing to the community the most innovative advances in medicine and technology.

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