Hearts were aflutter in every room of the Cason Thrash home Thursday night as George Clooney slayed everyone in his path with his drop-dead good looks and earnest charm. No photo opp was missed, no damsel overlooked as the two-time Sexiest Man Alive coursed through the art-filled home at a $2,500-a-plate fundraiser for the Brilliant Lecture Series.
From the moment he arrived at the black-tie dinner chaired and hosted by Becca Cason Thrash, Clooney had most among the 170 guests swooning. As he moved through the party scene, John Thrash observed, "He's charming the women and the men, too."
More handsome than on the big screen, boyish in nature and exhibiting superhuman charisma, the actor and human rights activist was all party on this night. A little wine, a little vodka on the rocks, a few glasses of Dom Perignon — as he confessed earlier in the evening at the Brilliant Lecture Series at Wortham Theater Center, "I drink." Compliments to Moet Hennessy for providing the vast array of libations for all.
"I've seen some big-ass tables in my life. This is one big-ass table!"
It was a spectacular night on all counts. Kudos to Becca, dressed in Givenchy, not only for her deft handling of the star power but also for the glamorous room design and financial rewards. By night's end, Brilliant Lecture Series coffers had been enriched by $600,000. "This is a game changer for us," said Scott Brogan, Brilliant founder, who beamed throughout the night.
As he sat down at one of three dramatically-dressed dining tables wrapping around the Cason Thrash swimming pool, Clooney exclaimed, "I've seen some big-ass tables in my life. This is one big-ass table!" The lucky ladies sharing that enviable table location with Clooney were Becca to his right, Greggory Burk to his left, Allie Fields directly across and Dominique Sachse and Karen Pulaski on the flanks.
Across the table was Naeem Khan, who had flown in from Los Angeles with his wife, Ranjana, for the party. Although he didn't know Clooney well, Khan allowed that he has dressed the star's steady, Stacy Keibler, for a number of red carpet moments. "She's a perfect sample size and that makes it easy," he said.
Tradition once held that a bash in the Cason Thrash home was not complete without at least one guest tumbling into the pool, the occasional reveler actually jumping in. Thursday night, Will Gaultney took one step back too many and made an unplanned dive into the waters. Becca jumped up in horror from her dinner table perch. At her side, Clooney rose to his feet, clapped his hands and shouted "Everyone in!"
It was a round of applause for the accidental swimmer. Among those saluting Gaultney and the lavish evening were Cherie and Jim Flores, Laura Sweeney, Karol and Paul Barnhart, Raquel Segal, Richard Fant, Diane Lokey Farb, Lisa and Michael Holthouse, Sofia Adrogué and Sten Gustafson, Leigh Smith, Ann and Mathew Wolf, Leticia Loya, Carla and Jack McDonald of Austin, Elizabeth Arnold and Lynn Wyatt, Brilliant Lecture Series chairman emeritus who had conducted the question-and-answer session with Clooney at Wortham Theater Center.
Click here to read George Clooney Unplugged: 10 things Hollywood's hottest star taught us during his Brilliant visit