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A good cause on the catwalk

August 31, 2003|Ann Conway

With backstage tips from supermodel Cindy Crawford, Marlo Thomas knew exactly what to do when she reached the end of the catwalk during her appearance in a fashion show at the Beverly Hilton Hotel: "Pause. Have some attitude. Make a picture."

Modeling at the annual Runway for Life benefit that raised $2 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital was unnerving, Thomas said after the show. "I'm not a model," she said. Not only did she have to hold her own with Crawford and celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Ray Romano, Calista Flockhart, John Ritter, Jane Kaczmarek and Allison Janney, but she had to do it on a 40-foot runway in front of a video wall blazing with images from the Oscar-winning musical "Chicago." "It was scary," she said.

But when it comes to raising funds for St. Jude, the Memphis hospital founded in 1962 by her father, comedian Danny Thomas, she's ready to take on just about anything. Especially when it involves celebrities. "My dad and mother founded the gala 23 years ago with their pals -- Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, George Burns, Sammy Davis Jr. and Milton Berle," she said. "Now that they're gone, it's really satisfying to see stars like Jennifer, Calista, Allison and Ray become part of it."

-- Ann Conway

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