While many know him as George Oscar Bluth Jr. (aka G.O.B.k Bluth), a fun fact that may not be known is that Will Arnett is a proud Torontonian.
The actor and comedian rose to fame through his work on the Emmy Award-winning sitcom Arrested Development, but Arnett’s work spans beyond the screen.
Arnett, who grew up just off of Yonge Street, between Bloor and St. Clair, now spends his time between New York and Los Angeles, but he’s coming home for a special event this weekend.
Returning as a host for the fourth time, Arnett will be attending the Laughter is the Best Medicine gala on May 4.
The gala benefits the Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), one of North America’s leading community teaching hospitals.
The Canadian-born comedian told Daily Hive that he got involved with the MGH Foundation because his dad was involved with them previously.
His father, Jim, served on the Hospital Board of Directors for over seven years, according to Mitzie Mourihno, president of the Foundation.
Will Arnett first got involved back in 2012, when the hospital was known as the Toronto East General Hospital.
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“I realized what an important cause it was and important hospital it is,” he said.
Despite having lived away from the city, Arnett returns three to four times a year.
“I grew up in Toronto and it’s really important to come back and to maintain a connection to the city and to do what I can on various levels to give back,” said Arnett.
“I am a beneficiary of having grown up in Canada, specifically Toronto, and I am eternally grateful for that experience. Whatever I can do to give back is super important to me.”
While family and friends bring the actor back to his roots, one hockey team also seems to do the same. “My beloved Toronto Maple Leafs,” he calls them. Arnett also worked on a support video for the Leafs back in 2014.
To Arnett, his home is where he relaxes.
“Toronto is such a great, easy livable city. I love coming back and just going out and eating, there’s such a great vibe in Toronto and it maintains that fantastic Canadian laid-back vibe that I really enjoy,” he said. “I feel like when I go back to Toronto, I relax a little bit.”
And coming back home for a good cause excites him.
“It’s going to be a fun event,” he said, while praising Emmy-nominated White House Correspondents’ Dinner headliner Michelle Wolf, who will be attending and headlining.
“She’s so funny, she has such a great original voice. I’m excited to see people vibe on that.”
And of course, it all comes back to the hospital foundation.
“I hope that we can raise a lot of money for Michael Garron Hospital, we try to expand and increase the capabilities of this great hospital that serves East Toronto,” Arnett said.
“We’re so honoured and grateful for Will’s generosity and advocacy for Michael Garron Hospital,” said Mourihno. “That he has chosen to support us through this event since 2012 demonstrates how committed he is to Toronto and the well-being of everyone who lives here. It’s also a cause close to the Arnett family’s heart.”
The Foundation’s president said Laughter is the Best Medicine has benefitted the hospital in many ways so far.
“It’s a critical source of funding for the hospital’s expansion and most urgent needs,” Mourihno told Daily Hive. “The high profile of the event also helps spread awareness of the hospital’s central role in East Toronto – and why donor support is so important to keeping our community healthy. When people are healthy, everyone around them benefits, creating a stronger community.”
Besides Laughter is the Best Medicine this weekend, the Michael Garron Hospital has embarked on the Heart of the East Campaign, a $100-million fundraising effort in support of their $500-million redevelopment project.
According to the hospital, The Heart of the East will completely transform their campus, including construction of the new, eight-storey Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre and the “dramatic redevelopment” of their existing facility.
Will Arnett will be at Michael Garron Hospital Foundation Gala’s Laughter is the Best Medicine on May 4, at the Beanfield Centre.