September 10, 2001 08:18 AM

A smorgasbord of stars — from Paul McCartney to Kid Rock — added some spice to the weekend’s 21st annual award’s gala thrown by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, reports PEOPLE. Sir Paul, 59, presented the Linda McCartney Humanitarian Award to rocker Chrissie Hynde, 49, for her years of devotion to the cause. “Paul McCartney was the first person who ever made me a veggie burger,” said the lead singer of the Pretenders, who has eschewed meat for the past 30 years. “I was over at his house, and he personally served it to me. I was a brown-rice hippie, but you’re not going to say no to Paul McCartney when he hands you a veggie burger, are you?” Saturday’s event was hosted by Pamela Anderson and Bill Maher, 45, who brought down the house with some “politically incorrect” remarks about recent shark attacks. “I am for them,” he said, reasoning that if people weren’t swimming in shark feeding grounds, then the problems simply would not exist. Anderson, 34, didn’t say much, but didn’t have to. She still managed to be the center of attention, thanks in large part to a revealing hot pink mini-dress and metallic pink shoes with six-inch heels. Her beau, Kid Rock, 30, spent much of the evening hiding behind a black derby and sunglasses. “I’m just here to support my girlfriend,” he said. “This is very important to her.” Also keeping the issue of animal rights on the front burner at the event: “Golden Girl” Rue McClanahan, Aida Turturro of “The Sopranos,” Sandra Bernhard, Rachel Miner and Charlize Theron, 26, who told PEOPLE, “I just feel like this is what we should be doing.”

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