In Greek mythology, the three graces represented joy, charm, and beauty. The daughters of the god Zeus and the nymph Eurynome, they were named Aglaia (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Good Cheer). The Graces presided over banquets, dances, and all other pleasurable social events, and brought joy and goodwill to both gods and mortals.
In 1955 several members of the entertainment community established a group named after Thalia (Good Cheer) called The Thalians, but all the graces were invited to an annual dinner filled with comedy, entertainment, and celebration. Debbie Reynolds was elected President. More than 50 years later, she is still President. The sole purpose of the Thalians is to raise funds to support the Mental Health wing of Cedars Sinai to which they have contributed more than $30 million.
Each year, an honoree becomes the butt of all the jokes and merriment and walks off with a statue of Thalia. This year Roger Moore will be honored at the annual banquet at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills. Over the years, the following who's who of Hollywood have been victims of this rather raucous and unbelievably generous charity:
Peter Ustinov, Lana Turner, Harold Lloyd, Shirley MacLaine, Jimmy Durante, June Haver, Frank Sinatra, Fred MacMurray, Ed Sullivan, Ann-Margret, Busby Berkeley, Carol Burnett, Gene Kelly, Van Johnson, Sammy Davis, Ann Miller, Lucille Ball, Angela Lansbury, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, Bing Crosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Hope, Liza Minnelli, Dorothy Lamour, Donald O`Connor, Rita Hayworth, Count Basie, Carol Channing, Jack Lemmon, Sally Field, Lena Horne, Kenny Rogers, Mary Tyler Moore, Marianne Rogers, Ruta Lee, Jane Wyman, Phyllis Diller, Mary Martin, Burt Bacharach, Robert Preston, Red Buttons
The Thalians Presidents club has established a StarWalkers Side of Stars in front of the Thalians Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai. Each glittering golden star bears the name(s) of benefactors who have donated more than $100,000, thereby keeping the dream alive and stronger than ever.
And another bit of "Grace" from my youth: Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane: White Rabbit