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Thalians honor Hugh Hefner as 'Mr. Wonderful'

April 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Thalians, the entertainment industry's nonprofit organization dedicated to the treatment of mental health issues, hosted its 55th Anniversary Gala at the Playboy Mansion on Saturday.

Playboy Enterprises founder Hugh Hefner was honored with the "Mr. Wonderful" award.

Impressionist Rich Little, "Last Comic Standing's" Felipe Esparza, singers Joy Enriquez and Christopher and Kyle Massey, Hefner's fiancee Crystal Harris, Mark McGrath, Billy Morrison and deejay Linne were set to perform.

"The Thalians is very, very special," Hefner said. "It was the first major celebrity charity event that I came to when I first started hanging out here in Hollywood. It's close to the heart."

The evening also supports the work of Operation Mend, which serves military members who are injured physically and emotionally by way.

"There were days when I didn't think there would ever be a smile on my face that I recognized," said Marine Cpl. Aaron Mankin, who was at the event. "Now I'm at the point where I can look in the mirror and know tomorrow is going to be a brighter day."

City News Service contributed to this report.