Some Hollywood 'Stars' Work the Knight Shift

The "stars" came out for a glitzy Hollywood-style gala staged Saturday by the Casa Teresa Guilds.

Celebrity look-alikes joined 350 guests at the Irvine Marriott hotel for the "Starry, Starry Knights" dinner and men's fashion show. The $75-per-person benefit raised $30,000 for Casa Teresa, a home for single mothers.

That's Hollywood

"We decided to recognize the men who are involved with Casa. That's why we spelled starry knights with a 'K,' " said Barbara Beneville, event chairwoman. "The volunteers and board members are our knights."

Stage props, including skyscrapers, a cardboard limousine and palm trees, turned the hotel ballroom into a make-believe Avenue of the Stars. Greeting guests at the door was Humphrey Bogart look-alike Tony Heller.

"You know how to whistle, don't you?" he asked couples as they paraded past.

Inside the ballroom, black and white balloons floated to the ceiling. Tables were draped in black and silver linens with clear balloons containing champagne and chocolates. Guests were served a gourmet dinner of grilled medallion of beef with peppercorn sauce, smoked duck breast with raspberry sauce, grilled swordfish with papaya-pineapple relish and tiramisu for dessert.

The men's fashion show followed, with master of ceremonies Kitty Leslie narrating. Amateur male models--all Casa supporters--took their turns down the runway to the sound of Hollywood show tunes. Sean O'Toole, a police officer, modeled to the "Hill Street Blues" theme song. The models were joined by look-alikes for John Wayne, Clark Gable and Elvis, with Todd Vigiletti performing as Phantom of the Opera.

"We wanted this to be like a Broadway show," said Donna Yergler, event co-chairwoman who attended with husband Kary.

Graduate's Story

The real star of the evening was Terry Marousek, a 1990 graduate of Casa Teresa. She recounted how Casa came to the rescue after her fiance left her when she was pregnant.

"If you follow the program, it works," said Marousek, who is now raising her son and living independently.

In addition to running a shelter in Orange for 21 pregnant women, Casa Teresa provides residents with counseling, prenatal classes and financial and educational assistance. The shelter was founded in 1976 by Neill and Sally Sullivan.

"Sally was a social worker and knew young girls who were pregnant and sleeping in their cars," Neill Sullivan said. "There was no place for them to have their babies. So we turned a vacant apartment we had into a shelter, and one thing led to another."

Other guests were board president Lissa Callaghan, executive director Bill Erickson, director Jim Pugh, Jim Arnold, Al Baldwin, Joan Bejarano, Mary Camilleri, Patty Gallivan, Josie Hamers, Mary Hofflander, Dolores McLaughlin, Roen Kisela, Toni Nelson, Jean O'Toole, Jeannette Ramirez, Monsignor John Sammon and Jennifer Spindler.

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