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  TODAY'S BUZZ

Michael Leppen to be honored at AIDS Assistance Program's "Evening Under the Stars" in Palm Springs
From a News Release
2011-03-20

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PALM SPRINGS — March 15, 2011: Ann Walker, best known for her role in the cult classic film Sordid Lives, will grace the stage as mistress of ceremonies for the 18th Annual 'Evening Under the Stars' gala benefitting AIDS Assistance Program. Walker will head up the 80's party theme for this year's occasion, which will also feature the music of popular new wave rockers The B-52s, considered to be the world's greatest party band. This 'ultimate Palm Springs event' will take place Saturday, May 7, 2011, beginning at 6:00 PM at the O'Donnell Golf Club in Palm Springs.

Ann Walker is best known for her role as LaVonda Dupree in the cult classic film Sordid

Lives ( 2000 ) , the story of a small town Texas family with a comedic twist on the idea of unconventional love. She is a native of Houston, and has appeared in countless films and television series throughout her illustrious career. Some of Walker's other film credits include Father of the Bride II, The Fanatics, It Takes Two, Soul Man, and The Jagged Edge. Her television guest appearances have included The Suite Life, Providence, Arliss, Passions, Diagnosis Murder, Las Vegas, and Mad TV. Some of her movies-of-the-week credits include The Mary Kay Letourneau Story, She's No Angel, and Lone Rider. In 2008, Walker joined the cast of Sordid Lives—The Series as a regular.

Along with the fabulous entertainment, Evening Under the Stars is the one night that AAP sheds a light on several deserving honorees. This year, AAP is honoring Michael Leppen ( Jeannette Rockefeller Humanitarian Award ) , Michael Childers ( Herb Lazenby Community Service Award ) , John Bowab ( Gloria Greene Inspiration Award ) , Arturo Montez & David Erickson ( Frank Jurczyk Volunteer Award for service to the community ) , and AAP volunteer

Jeffrey Bach ( Frank Jurczyk Volunteer Award for service to AAP ) .

"We are thrilled and honored that Ann will serve as our Mistress of Ceremonies this year," said Mark Anton, Executive Director of AIDS Assistance Program. "She is a vibrant and engaging person, and one of the most dynamic women in show business. Her unique personality is perfectly suited for our event, and we are delighted she agreed to participate."

AIDS Assistance Program • PO Box 4182, Palm Springs CA 92263 • 760.325.8481

Tickets for the benefit are $395 and $500 per person and may be purchased by contacting AIDS Assistance Program at 760/325-8481 or by visiting www.aidsassistance.org .

Since its founding in 1991, the AIDS Assistance Program of Palm Springs remains dedicated providing nutritional support to improve the quality of the lives of those surviving HIV/AIDS.

Initiated by a small group of concerned citizens, led by the late Gloria Greene and Jeannette Rockefeller, AAP provided meals to members of the community with low incomes and suffering with HIV/AIDS. Since then, the AIDS Assistance Program's client roster has grown from approximately 20 to more than 500 people.

For more information on AIDS Assistance Program, its Angel program, Evening Under The Stars, or to volunteer or donate, please contact Executive Director Mark Anton at 760/325-8481 or visit www.aidsassistance.org .

About Ann Walker

Ann Walker grew up in Houston, Texas. She attended Stephen F. Austin High School and was a member of the famed Scottish Brigade Drill Team. Proudly, Ann can still do the Highland Fling with the best of them. She started her acting career in Houston, appearing in many small theater productions that made up the theater community there in the late 60's and early 70's. After that, she went first to New York City to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, then to Los Angeles in 1974 to continue the pursuit of her dream. She worked in regional theater for a while, ending on a tour with the legendary Pat O'Brien. After returning to Los Angeles, she worked continually in film, television, and theater for the next fifteen years.

In April of 2001, Walker completed the 10-month Los Angeles run of Del Shores' newest play, Southern Baptist Sissies. Her portrayal of Odette Annette Barnett garnered her a Robby Award, a Maddy award, as well as the prestigious Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and a nomination from her peers for The Ovation Award.

Los Angeles theatergoers have enjoyed her in other award-winning productions such as Tyler Hansen's Ballad ( for which she received a Drama-Logue award and the Robby Award for Best Actress in a Drama ) , Rain, Best Wishes, Steel Magnolias and The Glass Menagerie, among others. Her biggest joy in her theatrical career came in 1996 with the Del Shores' comedy hit Sordid Lives, in which Ann originated the enduring and beloved character LaVonda Dupree, a role she reprised in the award winning film adaptation in 2000.

Sordid Lives played to delighted audiences in cities across the U.S. and in Canada, but the phenomenon that occurred here in Palm Springs, California astounded everyone. The movie ran here for an extraordinary three years. In April of 2002, the mayor proclaimed two days as "Sordid Lives Days."

This wild Texas comedienne has a following that crosses all groups of people, including gay/straight, young and old.


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