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"Taste for a Cure" Signature Event Raises More Than $780,000
Posted Date: 4/29/2013 4:00 PM

Joe Cohen and Dr. Judy Gasson
Joe Cohen and Dr. Judith Gasson
More than $780,000 was raised at the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation’s 18th annual signature fundraising event, "Taste for a Cure," held April 26, 2013 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The money will support highest priority research at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, including efforts to find more effective and less toxic treatments for cancer.

This year the foundation honored Joe Cohen of Creative Artists Agency with the Gil Nickel Humanitarian Award. Jon Holman, John Landgraf, Larry Maguire, Gary Newman, Jay Sures and Dana Walden co-chaired the event, which featured musical entertainment directed by Academy Award and Grammy Award winning musician, songwriter and record producer T Bone Burnett. The ensemble performance included the Secret Sisters and The Americans. Emmy-nominated actor Mike O’Malley hosted.

The event also showcased food prepared by top chefs from California’s Central Coast as well as luxury wines from 12 prestigious Santa Barbara wineries. The featured chefs presented their gourmet signature dishes, including Chris Kobayashi of Artisan Restaurant, Paso Robles; Patrice Martineau of El Encanto, Santa Barbara; Frank Ostini of Hitching Post II, Buellton; and Clark Staub of Full of Life Flatbread, Los Alamos.

Wine sponsors included Andrew Murray Vineyards, Brewer-Clifton, Cent’Anni, Dierberg Vineyard, Foxen Wines, Grassini Family Vineyards, Jonata, Jorian Hill, Margerum Wine Company, Palmina Wines, Star Lane Vineyard and Transcendence. Honorary Napa Valley wine partners included long-time event supporters Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel and Dolce wineries. Following the food and wine reception, a tasting menu of savory and sweet dishes was served during the awards program, live auction and entertainment portion of the evening.

“It gives me great pleasure to honor Joe, an extraordinary and accomplished entertainment business leader, who is committed to raising funds for important research endeavors that will bring hope to cancer patients everywhere,” said Judith C. Gasson, Ph.D., Director, UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “His devotion to improving the lives of others is deserving of the Gil Nickel Humanitarian Award.”

The award was created in memory of cancer center foundation event supporter Gil Nickel, proprietor of Napa Valley's Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel and Dolce wineries, who lost a courageous battle against melanoma in October 2003.

Cohen is Co-Head of the Television Department at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Nashville and Beijing. Based in Los Angeles, Cohen represents many of the world’s leading writers, producers, directors and production companies. His clients include the creators and executive producers of such critically-acclaimed shows as CSI, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men, Glee, The Closer, Californication, Boardwalk Empire, Damages, Revenge, Nurse Jackie, Southland, American Horror Story, The Americans, Nashville, Masters of Sex, Ray Donovan, Longmire and Drop Dead Diva, among others.

Cohen supports a number of philanthropic causes and organizations including AIPAC, The Ben Appelbaum Foundation, The Help Group, The Jewish Federation, Kehillat Israel and Yo San University. He has also been a supporter of the CAA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the agency, since its formation in 1996. Entirely underwritten by CAA, the Foundation empowers employees, companies, artists, and athletes to contribute their time, talents, and resources to make a difference, be of service, and improve conditions worldwide.

The Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation, founded in 1945, is the single most important vehicle for raising private funds for cancer research at UCLA. UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center is ranked among the nation's top 10 cancer centers by U.S. News & World Report. The cancer center’s dedicated researchers are recognized as international leaders in the discovery of new and better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer. For information on the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation, please visit Find out more about “Taste for a Cure” at


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