At Our Next Luncheon: SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

The long-running co-host of Entertainment Tonight, Mary Hart, will receive PPB's Art Gilmore Career Achievement award at the next celebrity luncheon on September 30. Mary came into our homes each weeknight as a host of ET from 1982 to 2011.

Born and reared in South Dakota, she became Miss South Dakota in 1970 and was a semi-finalist in the Miss America pageant of 1971. She is fluent in both Danish and Swedish. She began her full-time television career at KMTV in Omaha, Nebraska.

With the long-time dream of singing and dancing on stage, Mary appeared with comedian David Brenner at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas during the summer of 1988. She flew between LA and Las Vegas while working both shows.

On August 5, 2010, Hart announced that she was leaving ET at the end of the upcoming 30th season, citing that she was ready for a change. Her final episode aired on May 20, 2011—ending her 29-year history with the program. On October 29, 2015, Mary made a guest appearance on ET, being interviewed by current host Nancy O'Dell; her appearance was meant to kick off a month-long celebration of the program's 35th season.

In 1989 aboard a private yacht. Mary Hart married film producer Burt Sugarman. They have a son, Alec. An avid LA Dodgers fan, she has sung the National Anthem before their games several times.

As co-chair of the New Hospital Building Campaign Committee for Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Mary helped pave the way for the opening of the new hospital building in July 2011. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2003. On August 17, 2011, Hart was announced as the official spokeswoman for Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Initiative,

• Kevin Frasier
• Frank Luntz
• Linda Bell Blue
• Roberta Kent
• Cindy Crawford
• Jim Hill


Honoree: Tom Dreesen

PPB’s latest celebrity luncheon honoree’s life is equal parts comedy and philanthropy. He excels at both, and has created an extraordinary legacy in both arenas. Tom Dreesen received our Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award from President Alan Perris on June 29 in Sportsmen’s Lodge.

Dreesen has made over 500 appearances on national television as a stand-up comedian, including more than 60 appearances on “The Tonight Show.” He was a favorite guest of David Letterman, and frequently hosted the show in Letterman’s absence.

For 13 years he toured cross country and opened for Frank Sinatra, and has appeared countless times in Las Vegas, Tahoe, Reno and Atlantic City with artists like Smokey Robinson, Liza Minnelli, Natalie Cole and Sammy Davis, Jr. Tom has acted in numerous television shows – from “Columbo” to” Murder She Wrote” – and appeared in motion pictures including “Man on the Moon” and “Spaceballs.”

Tom has recorded comedy albums, starred in his own TV comedy special, “Dreesen Street,” and hosted a late night talk show in Chicago, “Night Time Starring Tom Dreesen.” He is currently appearing to rave reviews around the country in his one-man show “An Evening Of Laughter and Memories of Sinatra,” excerpts from which Tom performed in a special program following the luncheon, in lieu of the normal dais guests' comments.

Dreesen has also made an indelible mark with his philanthropic activities. For 30 years he has lent his talent to over 100 charities, and founded a “Day for Darlene” to benefit Multiple Sclerosis Research. He ran 26 miles on three occasions for the event, which is named for his late sister who was afflicted with MS.

And he’s still going strong. A proud veteran of the United States Navy, he continues to perform for US troops all over the world, and recently appeared at numerous bases in Iraq. Tom Dreesen’s hometown of Harvey, Illinois named a street after him. He was a 2005 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Dreesen’s comic style is down-to-earth, warm and unpretentious and our afternoon with him was filled with laughter and wonderful stories.

Pictured Below The usual post-luncheon salutes from a panel of dais guests were replaced this time by Tom Dreesen, left-center, performing his 90-minute comedy show. There to enjoy it were PPB member Wink Martindale and his wife Sandy, and far right, PPB Member Donna Anderson. (Don Graham photo)

Would you like to join the PPB and attend the Mary Hart Luncheon on September 30, 2016? If you have worked in Broadcasting or in any related field for 20 years or more, please e-mail our Membership Committee with your request to join us to honor Mary Hart. Please include your name and daytime telephone numbers.

PPB Members receive their Luncheon Notice and Reservation Form by mail before the date of each luncheon, and send in their request for table seating along with their check.

Past Honorees

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