Delivering an F-bomb here and there along with a handful of remarkable impersonations and intriguing personal insights, Best Buddies ambassador Kevin Spacey proved on Saturday night to be as entertaining in person as on the big (or little) screen. The stage was the glam home of John and Becca Cason Thrash where he was celebrity guest at a Best Buddies black-tie dinner.
The Academy Award winner dished with Becca and Best Buddies founder Anthony Kennedy Shriver on a number of topics, the conversation laced with Spacey's impersonations of President Bill Clinton, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jack Lemmon and his Francis Underwood character.
As he spoke about the importance of Best Buddies, he stepped to the edge of the pool, around which the dinner was held, and quipped, "Oh baby, I'm going in and someone's going to fucking pay for it."
As the crowd erupted in laughter, Becca, the ardent fundraiser, chimed in, "Anyone give $100,000 to see it?"
"The notion of giving back"
The evening was not without its meaningful tone. Spacey credited actor Jack Lemmon, whom he met at age 13, with introducing the notion of giving back and the elevator analogy. "If you've been fortunate enough to do well in the business that you wanted to do well in," Spacey said, "then it is your obligation to spend a good portion of your time, sending the elevator back down.
"In a way, we all can send the elevator back down because it doesn't matter what floor you are on. In life there are always people just below waiting for the opportunity to be invited up and so it's our jobs to fill that elevator with as many people as we can."
Spacey has been a Best Buddies ambassador for more than 20 years and has traveled extensively with the organization.
"I get this incredible opportunity to interpret what is written," Spacey said. "I've had unbelievable characters that writers have written and I've been able to work with some pretty remarkable directors."
Noting that he has had a long career on the stage and in film, he added, "The great thing is I feel like I'm just getting started."
Becca asked what among his many "diabolical" characters was the most challenging.
"The building and creation of the role that I'm currently doing, of Frances Underwood, (House of Cards) has been an incredible journey . . . It's an incredible part and for me to be able to go to work every day and have Robin Wright at my side is pretty, excuse my language, fucking awesome."
The party scene
As is the norm at parties in the Cason Thrash home, the pool room was grandly decorated by Richard Flowers of The Events Co. Three long tables peppered with bouquets of salmon-hued roses and hundreds of candles in clear candelabra and votives lined the table. The evening began with photo opps with the amazingly patient star and cocktails that included Moet & Chandon champagne and Belvedere Vodka.
Dinner was a multi-course feast provided by B&B Butchers and Restaurant, SaltAir, Grotto and Brasserie 19.
The Cason Thrash dining room was laden with tempting silent auction items which helped bring the night's tally to $600,000. Thanks in part to high bidders such as Dylan and Jordan Seth who picked up the Zihuatanejo trip in the live auction.
The glamorous crowd included Samantha Boles, Rhonda McDonald, Sue and Lester Smith, Dancie and Jim Ware, Carl Lewis, Joyce Echols and Steve Wyatt, Elizabeth Petersen, Duyen and Marc Nguyen, Fay and Salim Zakhem, Diane Lokey Farb and Nancy and Marcus Hiles.