Tom Hanks, Sally Field and Glenn Close Make Brain Research Their Top Priority at the Circle of Hope Gala

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Tom Hanks, Sally Field and Glenn Close Make Brain Research Their Top Priority at the Circle of Hope Gala
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Tom Hanks and Glenn Close join forces to fight brain disease at the Circle of Hope Gala in Beverly Hills …

What should be America's priority in the next ten years? If you ask Tom Hanks, Sally Field and Glenn Close, the next giant leap for mankind must be curing brain disease.

Those Oscar- and Emmy-winning actors joined fellow thespians Gena Rowlands and Tom Skerritt at the Beverly Hills Hotel for the One Mind for Research First Annual Circle of Hope Gala on September 19. That organization, founded by Patrick Kennedy, Garen and Shari Staglin of Napa's Staglin Family Vineyard and retired U.S. Army General Peter Chiarelli (who together threw the party), is dedicated to funding and delivering new treatments and cures for brain disorders.

Hanks, who hosted the often-emotional evening, pointed out the many U.S. servicemen and women in the ballroom, from every branch of the military. Many those attending the gala are affected with traumatic brain injuries or post traumatic stress from their service in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and are struggling to return to normal lives.

"It's a test of us as a society, to know if we have the national will to give our veterans a chance to recover, to come back and to heal," Hanks said.

Glenn Close got serious about what she called "the Big Four" -- schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression and post-traumatic stress -- revealing that her sister is bipolar. "I want to help eradicate those illnesses and the stigma that goes with them," she said. "The stigma can be worse than the illness at times."

But it wasn't all serious all night at the bash, especially when Tom Hanks discovered that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was a no-show -- but only after he introduced him to the room!

"Quite frankly, traffic is hell in this city!" the actor joked, then later circled back at the end of the night to add in another zinger, when the mayor never made it (even worse, word is he was at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills nearby instead, at a different event).

"Mayor Villaraigosa is currently stuck in the drive-through at the In-and-Out Burger in Van Nuys," Hanks chortled, then closed out the fundraiser with a reminder.

"We're going to take the Big Four of brain disease on, and we're going to get it done. It's our national duty!"

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