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Special Olympics New York press release
July 15, 2003

Daytime Emmy Award-Winner Dedicated To Doing Good

Best-known for playing a villain, Thom Christopher will do good by attending the Hot Saratoga Nights Black-Tie Gala, which will benefit Special Olympics New York.

SCHENECTADY - As a Daytime Emmy Award-winning actor, Thom Christopher is a busy guy. So why does he donate his time each year to attend the Hot Saratoga Nights Black-Tie Gala, presented by GE?

"'Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity,'" said Christopher, quoting Horace Mann, a famed educator and the first president of Antioch College. "I really feel it's my responsibility to be involved, and I take great pride in the athletes."

Christopher, who won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1991 (Outstanding Supporting Actor) for his portrayal of mobster Carlo Hesser on "One Life to Live," first became involved with Special Olympics in 1990, volunteering at a competition in New York City.

"It was literally an epiphany," Christopher said. "I saw the human commitment to facing challenges. You realize the enormous determination and courage that Special Olympics athletes have. Working with them has become a tremendous love for me."

The Hot Saratoga Nights Black-Tie Gala, which is part of the 13th annual Satins, Silks & Stars week to benefit the 40,000 athletes with mental retardation that Special Olympics New York serves, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, at the Prime Hotel in Saratoga Springs. It will include dinner, dancing, a silent auction and a presentation featuring Special Olympics athletes.

In addition to attending the Hot Saratoga Nights Black-Tie Gala, at which he will mingle with Special Olympics New York athletes and supporters, Christopher will serve as master of ceremonies for Cool Sunday Mornings Day at the Races on Sunday, July 27. Also part of the Satins, Silks & Stars week, Sunday's festivities will include an equestrian demonstration, a question-and-answer session with celebrities and a gourmet luncheon.

To register for the Hot Saratoga Nights Black-Tie Gala or Cool Sunday Mornings Day at the Races, both of which will feature a host of other celebrities, call 518-388-0793 or visit

Christopher played Colonel Dax on "Guiding Light" from 1999 till 2002, and he played Hawk on "Buck Rogers." He also has appeared on "Law and Order," "Murder, She Wrote," "Kojak" and "T.J. Hooker," and his film credits include "Ten Hundred Kings," "Peril" and "Nola." And he won the Clarence Derwent and Theatre World Awards for his Broadway debut in "Noel Coward with Two Keys."

During a recent phone interview, Christopher, who has worked with Special Olympics athletes for more than a dozen years now, said: "I've seen them go from children to incredibly independent adults. It's a wonderfully satisfying experience."

Special Olympics New York provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for children and adults with mental retardation, at no cost to the athletes or their families. Founded in 1970, Special Olympics New York is the largest Special Olympics program in the United States, providing sports opportunities to nearly 40,000 athletes through a network of 30,000 volunteers.

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