Supporters turned out in droves for the 2022 Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles Gala on Saturday night. Celebrities from Chris Pine to Jimmy Kimmel showed up to honor the hospital’s lifesaving work, dance the night away and, of course, enjoy a one-night-only performance from Justin Timberlake.
Held at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica and hosted by Pine and his father Robert Pine, the celebration was the hospital’s first in-person gala since 2018, after the 2020 event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CHLA CEO Paul S. Viviano told reporters on the red carpet that it was the biggest night the hospital has ever had.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to have it,” Viviano said of the annual celebration. “Here we are back in full force and this will be biggest crowd that we’ve ever had and we’ll raise more money tonight than we ever have.”
The evening ultimately raised more than $5.5 million for the hospital, whose mission is close to the hearts of many who attended, including actor Nikki DeLoach, who chairs the foundation’s board of trustees.
“My son had three surgeries at Children’s Hospital — his life was saved not one, but three times,” DeLoach said. “No mother and no father should ever have to choose between going in debt and saving their child. Because of fundraisers like tonight … we are able to financially make sure those kids lives are saved.”
DeLoach was also the force behind Timberlake’s performance. The two have been friends for more than three decades; they met at casting camp before joining “The Mickey Mouse Club” together. To convince him to perform, DeLoach said all she had to do was give him a call.
After dinner was served to attendees and speeches from honorees and special guests — including California governor Gavin Newsom and Jamie Lee Curtis — concluded, it was time for the show. Following an introduction from DeLoach, Timberlake sang his way to the stage, sauntering through the audience singing Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight,” accompanied by a full band and three backup singers.
During a packed 40-minute set, Timberlake performed some of his greatest hits, including “Suit and Tie” and “Señorita,” but made the track list feel unique by layering in various covers — from Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” to Smokey Robinson’s “Cruisin’” — that seamlessly flowed in and out of his own songs.
Per the singer’s request, the crowd sprang to its feet almost immediately as many rushed toward the front of the airplane hanger to get a better view of the performance. Taking a brief pause from the song and dance routine, Timberlake shared his own connection to CHLA, through his brother-in-law Justin Biel, who was in attendance alongside Timberlake’s wife, actor Jessica Biel.
“My niece, Zaya, had a life-saving heart surgery at CHLA,” Timberlake told the crowd. “I’m humbled and I’m honored to be here tonight, and if you guys ever want me back to sing for my supper, you know how to get me.”
Others in the star-studded assembly shared their connections to the hospital, including longtime CHLA supporter Kimmel, who attended with his wife Molly McNearney.
“Our son Billy had two open heart surgeries here … so we’re really grateful,” Kimmel told reporters. “We’d never imagined that this organization we supported would be a place that we needed to go.”
For hosts Chris and Robert Pine, the connection to CHLA may not be immediate to their own family, but it is just as meaningful.
“Chris and I have gone in and read for the kids, which we really love to do,” Robert Pine told reporters. “To see the smiles on these kids’ faces … they’re under incredible hardships and to be able to go in and create some joy with them, why wouldn’t you?”