Chaz Bono was honored twice — and surprised by mom Cher — at the 23rd Annual GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Awards, where "The Hunger Games" star Josh Hutcherson and TV's "Modern Family," "Drop Dead Diva" and "Hot in Cleveland" were also recognized. Cher and Bono's stepmother, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, presented the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Bono for his efforts in promoting equality, a surprise since he had no idea that Cher planned to attend. Bono's OWN documentary "Becoming Chaz" also won Best Documentary.
"It means a lot coming from GLAAD. To be honored by them is very personal to me," said Bono earlier. His book "Transitions" is coming out next month in paperback with an additional 20-page chapter he wrote covering the past year and his experience on "Dancing With the Stars," which he continues to watch. "I'm really glad that I did it last season and not this season because the competition is really stiff. I've really enjoyed watching everybody. They're really great dancers." While he wasn't planning anything for Earth Day the next day, "I've always been a recycler, and tried to watch my carbon footprint," he said.
Hutcherson was presented the Vanguard Award for his efforts to increase understanding of the LGBT community via the Straight But Not Narrow campaign, started by his best friend Avan Jogia last year as a way for straight people "to talk about how important it is to be a straight ally and support the gay community." He's just as invested in eco-awareness. "I try to celebrate Earth Day every day," he said. "I turn the lights off as much as possible. I've always been a big recycler. I try to buy reclaimed things. I don't use plastic bags, all that good stuff."
Brooke Elliott's Lifetime series "Drop Dead Diva" won for its "Prom" episode, in which her attorney character Jane represented teen lesbians who want to attend their school's gala together. "I'm really proud of that episode, and this is a really wonderful organization and I wanted to be here to support that," said Elliott, who flew in from Atlanta, where "Diva" is halfway through shooting the series' fourth season, premiering in June. "It picks up three weeks later, in Italy," she said. "It's a great season. We deal with that thing in life where you love someone and they don't love you and you find someone else and now they love you. It'll be that back and forth thing." Guest stars include Patty Duke as a client and Valerie Harper, reprising her role as a judge. Aware that she wasn't honoring Earth Day in the best way because she'd be flying back to Georgia, Elliott endeavors to be green in other ways. "I'm very hyper aware of turning off lights and how many times I flush the toilet," she said.
"Hot in Cleveland" tied "Diva" for its "Beards" episode, and several of the cast members were on hand to accept, including Wendie Malick, Jane Leeves, Betty White and guest star Gilles Marini. "I'm a big supporter of the gay community, the majority of my friends and the most beloved people in my life," said Leeves, who planned to spend Earth Day with her daughter at a horse show. Malick, whose Dolly Couture dress was made from vintage fabric, credited the LGBT community for supporting her career. "They're a huge reason I'm in the position I'm in today, and I'm so grateful," she said. While she wouldn't spill details on the "Hot" finale, "We have a really big surprise coming next season which will change all of our lives," she hinted. As for Earth Day, "I celebrate Earth Day every day," she said.
"The gay community has been with me my entire career, more than supportive. I feel I have to give back to this community that gave me everything," said Marini, who'll return to ABC Family's "Switched at Birth" this fall and is awaiting word about the pilot he shot for ABC, "Scruples," based on the Judith Krantz best seller and starring Claire Forlani, Chad Michael Murray, Boris Kodjoe and Mimi Rogers. "I play a mystery man," said Marini, who planned to honor Earth Day by doing the same things he always does. "We have a garden, raise chickens, we recycle, we try to walk if we don't need to use the car. I teach my kids to respect the Earth."
GLAAD Awards regular Marissa Jaret Winokur called the event "one of those things I come to because I want to, not because I have to." Working on "Retired at 35," which returns to TV Land June 23, she said she's been trying to grow avocado trees from pits in her back yard, and noted that her son Zev, 4, is taught about plants at his green-minded pre-school. "He knows everything there is to know about bamboo," she said.
"Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'" Lisa Vanderpump, who'll headline a spinoff for Bravo, has been a GLAAD spokesperson and hosted many events for them. "It's an important organization," said the reality star, who has a water filtration system and a garden at home.
"What's important is the ability for all of us to continue to raise awareness about gay rights in North American culture," said "Fringe" star Joshua Jackson. "I feel like we've come a hell of a long way, but we're not there yet and any voice that we can add and any broadening of acceptance we can have in the broader culture, I think is hugely important and if I can be a part of that I'm happy to do it." The "Fringe" season finale airs may 11 on Fox.
Photos courtesy GLAAD