Home » Event honoring actor Robert Duvall raised record $9.1 million for Texas Children’s Cancer Center
Celebrity Robert Duvall interviewed live on stage by CBS veteran news anchor Bob Schieffer
February 24, 2011 – Texas Children’s Hospital
An evening fundraiser honoring legendary actor Robert Duvall, attended by more than 900 supporters, raised an unprecedented $9.1 million for the genomic research program at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, the # 1 pediatric cancer center in Texas as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Texas oilman, two-time cancer survivor, philanthropist and author of the book “You Gotta Dance Like No One’s Watching,” Lester Smith, and wife, Sue, chaired the seventh annual “Evening with a Legend” dinner and program at Hilton Americas on Feb. 23rd. The Smiths made it the highest-grossing event ever for Texas Children’s Cancer Center by matching every donation made with funds from The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation. The fundraising total announced during the evening program was $8.9 million—until an anonymous donor pledged the $100,000 needed to reach $9 million—and the Smith Foundation matched that gift.
“We are thrilled to have chaired this record-breaking event for Texas Children’s Cancer Center, which will fund genomic research that can bring us one step closer to a cure for childhood cancer,” said Lester Smith.
Presented by Wells Fargo, the event featured a live interview with Duvall and celebrated the Texas epic mini-series “Lonesome Dove”. The Academy, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning Duvall shared memories of his role as Augustus “Gus” McCrae in “Lonesome Dove” and other highlights of his Hollywood career. The interview was conducted by Bob Schieffer, CBS News’ Chief Washington Correspondent, moderator of “Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer” and former anchor of “CBS Evening News”. Houston’s KHOU-TV Channel 11 news anchor Len Cannon served as master of ceremonies.
“This evening has been a powerful celebration of generosity on behalf of children,” said Dr. David Poplack, director of Texas Children’s Cancer Center. “From the fascinating program provided by Robert Duvall and Bob Schieffer to the philanthropic leadership of Lester and Sue Smith, we’ll all be talking about this night for a long time to come.”
Guests heard personal stories from Duvall, including many light-hearted moments, as he shared fascinating tales from behind the scenes on the sets of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Godfather,” “Lonesome Dove” and other roles. The actor stated again that the role of former Texas Ranger Augustus “Gus” McCrae was his personal favorite.
Past honorees from the popular “Evening with a Legend” benefit include Lance Armstrong, Roger Clemens, Darrell K. Royal, Dr. Denton A. Cooley, Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Gene Cernan and Jim Lovell, and the Junction Boys of Texas A&M University.
Children come to Texas Children’s Cancer Center from 35 states and 26 countries for state-of-the art treatments, many of which are unavailable elsewhere. Ranked among the nation’s top pediatric cancer centers by U.S. News &World Report, Texas Children’s Cancer Center treats 1,900 new patients and conducts 33,000 outpatient visits annually.
Texas Children’s Hospital is committed to a community of healthy children by providing the finest pediatric patient care, education and research. Renowned worldwide for its expertise and breakthrough developments in clinical care and research, Texas Children’s is nationally ranked in all ten subspecialties in U.S.News & World Report’s list of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. Texas Children’s also operates the nation’s largest primary pediatric care network, with more than 40 offices throughout the greater Houston community. Texas Children’s has embarked on a $1.5 billion expansion, Vision 2010, which includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute™, a comprehensive obstetrics facility focusing on high-risk births and a community hospital in suburban West Houston. For more information on Texas Children’s Hospital, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news from Texas Children’s Hospital by visiting the online newsroom and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/texaschildrens.