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Reba McEntire to return to Celebrity Fight Night, shares Robin Williams memory from 2006 event

by Brandy McDonnell Published: August 15, 2014
Reba McEntire. Photo provided.
Reba McEntire. Photo provided.

Oklahoma native Reba McEntire, Lionel Richie, David Foster and Larry King will join Andrea Bocelli for the international debut of Celebrity Fight Night Sept. 3-7 in Tuscany, Italy.

Thanks to Bocelli’s personal invitation to present the event in Italy, this marks the first time it will be celebrated outside the United States. Joining these celebrities will be Maestro Zubin Mehta, Sophia Loren and the face of Celebrity Fight Night, Muhammad Ali, has also been invited.

The benefit trip will bring 100 philanthropic donors and special guests all around the region showing them the best in arts, culture and entertainment, according to a news release. Loren will be celebrated at an exclusive event at Bocelli’s villa in Forte dei Marmi, a few days before her 80th birthday. Sixteen-time Grammy winning producer David Foster will direct the entertainment at this private party that will include Lionel Richie, McEntire, former Tulsan Ronnie Dunn, and Sinbad.

“Although we have been asked many times to bring our annual charity event to other cities, we have always politely declined.” said Jimmy Walker, Chairman of Celebrity Fight Night, in a release. “All that changed when Andrea Bocelli personally invited us into his home country to join him for this tremendous endeavor. We are fortunate to have the partnership of such an iconic superstar, along with the welcoming cooperation and support of many people and companies in Italy.”

The festivities will culminate with a star-studded charity gala dinner on Sunday, Sept. 7, at Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Bocelli will sing along with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra directed by Zubin Mehta. Reba McEntire will receive a special honor during the evening commemorating her long-term support for charities.

“We’re deeply proud that Celebrity Fight Night has offered to dedicate this year’s charity trip also to the Andrea Bocelli Foundation,” said Laura Biancalani, President of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, in the release. “This collaboration among the different entities, blending our ideas, strengths and resources, has proven to be a labor of joy. The enthusiasm that continues to develop on all sides is proof that our combined energies will conquer new frontiers and bring us nearer to our ambitious goals. Our heartfelt thanks for CFN’s support, which is already enabling the Andrea Bocelli Foundation to move ahead of schedule with our empowerment projects, especially on the ground in Haiti.”

“The Internationally known Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, part of the Barrow Neurological Institute, in Phoenix, USA, has been able to carry out Muhammad and Lonnie Ali’s vision of providing the best care to all people with Parkinson’s disease from everywhere on the planet regardless of ability to pay,” said Dr. Abraham Lieberman, Director of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, in the release. “The research and the services provided by the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center is made possible through the generosity of the benefactors of Celebrity Fight Night. Muhammad and Lonnie Ali join me and everyone at the Center in wishing a resounding success to Celebrity Fight Night in Italy. This event’s generosity benefits all people with Parkinson disease”

Families of the most exclusive Italian fashion houses in Italy will also be joining the cause, including Stefano Ricci, Antico Setificio Fiorentino, Ermanno Scervino, Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Emilio Pucci, as well as the renowned Marchesi de Frescobaldi winery, luxury automaker Maserati, and Italian watch designer Officine Panerai.

All proceeds will go to the Andrea Bocelli Foundation and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.

Earlier this week, McEntire took to Facebook to share her favorite memory of Robin Williams, who died Monday:

My favorite memory of Robin Williams was from Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night. I was the em-cee at the benefit dinner/auction, trying to get everyone to take their seats so we could start the show but not having much success. Jim Carrey jumps up on his chair at the head table and says, “Hey!! Do you know who that is? That’s Reba McEntire! Now sit down and shut up!” Robin at the other end of the head table, stands on his chair and says the same thing but in a foreign language! The crowd loved it, laughed and found their seats. I was speechless and in awe of these very talented wonderful men.

I will miss Robin so much, as we all will. Thank God we have so many wonderful memories of him, his wit, talent, big heart and generosity.
Love you Robin,

Later, she posted a video to Facebook of Williams translating Carrey’s shouting to fake Spanish. It is fairly hilarious (you can read my Robin Williams tribute here).


by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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