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THREE COMMUNITY LEADERS LAUDED MARSHALL, RIORDAN, COOK HONORED BY ECONOMIC ALLIANCE OF VALLEY.

Byline: Lisa Mascaro Staff Writer

NORTH HOLLYWOOD - Local leaders gathered Saturday night at the television academy to salute three community leaders who have made the region a better place.

Television producer and film director Gary Marshall, outgoing Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and Global Crossing co-chairman Lodwrick M. Cook, received praise for their work at the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley's fourth annual Valley of the Stars Gala Dinner and Ceremony.

``They're really, truly stars of the Valley,'' said David Fleming, chairman of the Economic Alliance, as guests arrived.

More than 500 people gathered for the evening's event at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, where a video of each winner was shown on the theater's screen before the awards were presented.

Actor Hector Elizondo led the evening's presentations as master of ceremonies.

What started four years ago as a way to honor community leaders has grown into a highly awaited annual event.

Alliance president and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Ackerman said the event stands out, in part, because it brings a diverse gathering of representatives from the arts, education and business communities.

``It's kind of a blending together of those three areas,'' said Ackerman. ``It really is a coming together of three communities. ... They're not normally in that arena together.''

Marshall, producer of television favorites like ``Happy Days'' and director of such blockbuster films as ``Pretty Woman,'' is also known for having built The Falcon Theatre, a local performance venue in Burbank.

His latest movie for The Walt Disney Co., ``The Princess Diaries,'' which also stars Elizondo, is scheduled to open in August.

Marshall, recognized for his contribution to the arts, said before the presentation that he has received other awards, ``but never so close to my house.

``This is the best honor of all, he said. ``Its nice to be honored in your own neighborhood.''

< Cook, the former chief executive officer at Atlantic Richfield Co. and now co-chairman of the fiber-optic company Global Crossing, has been known for his philanthropy, volunteering as a trustee of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and as director emeritus of National Junior Achievement. He received an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994.

``It's special because it's here in the Valley, because this is where home has been for 25 years,'' said Cook, honored in the field of business. ``To be (honored) the same night as Dick Riordan, who is a good friend, and Garry Marshall, who is just an outstanding person in his industry... all of it makes for a very nice event.''

<As his final day as mayor came to a close, Riordan was honored as an advocate for education who has helped distribute computers to schools through The Riordan Foundation and who helped prepare young people for college and careers through The Riordan Scholars and Fellows Programs. He also has encouraged reading programs at city libraries.

Riordan is a founding member of the city's LEARN organization, which promotes school reforms, and of L.A.'s BEST, an after-school program for disadvantaged kids.

``It's one of the proudest awards, if not the proudest awards, I've ever ever received,'' said Riordan during the reception. ``The Valley's the engine that turned L.A. around,'' Riordan said, taking a moment in his last hours as mayor to discourage the San Fernando Valley secession movement. ``My last statement to the Valley is, don't divorce us. We love you.''

The alliance, formed to bolster the region after the devastating 1994 Northridge Earthquake, is a nonprofit economic development and marketing coalition made up of public and private organizations and companies, including the Daily News.

Among those attending the gala for the Daily News was John Schueler, who made his first local public appearance even though he doesn't officially become the paper's new publisher until July 9.

The alliance works to improve the area's economic base while marketing the region - most recently through its Valley of the Stars name campaign, organizers said.

This year's event was expected to raise $250,000 for the organization.

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Photo: Garry Marshall, former Mayor Richard Riordan and Lodwrick M. Cook were honored by Valley leaders Saturday night.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 1, 2001
Words:691
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