Guest List: Ernie Banks

March 5, 2010 5:34:05 AM PST
Landmarks Illinois announces its 5th annual Legendary Landmarks Gala on Saturday, March 6 at The Palmer House Hilton (17 E. Monroe) to honor those who have made significant contributions to the civic and cultural life of Chicago and Illinois. This year's honorees include: Major League Hall of Fame baseball player Ernie Banks; advertising innovator and founder of the Chicago Marathon Lee Flaherty; and award-winning actor, director, writer and producer Harold Ramis.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Landmarks Illinois, the state's leading voice for historic preservation dedicated to protecting historically significant sites, structures and districts. In the past four years, the Gala has raised over $1.5 million to help preserve architectural and historic treasures throughout Illinois, including the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Theater, Cook County Hospital, Farnsworth House, Marquette Building, and many more.

Past honorees at the Legendary Landmarks Gala have included: investor/philanthropist Richard Driehaus, jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, Bernie Sahlins, the co-founder of the Second City comedy troupe, photographer Victor Skrebneski, and Lois Weisberg, Chicago's cultural chief.

"This year, we are thrilled to honor three individuals whose work has not only benefited the city of Chicago, but has impacted individuals across the nation and the world," said Jim Peters, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. "They are three incredibly accomplished men who have left a permanent mark with their outstanding contributions."

Ernie Banks is known throughout the sports world simply as "Mr. Cub." His career with the Chicago Cubs baseball team spanned 19 years and included 512 home runs, 1,636 runs batted in, 1,305 runs scored, two Most Valuable Player awards and 11 All-Star games. Following his retirement as an active player in 1971, Mr. Banks was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. His uniform, number 14, was the first to be retired by the Chicago Cubs organization. Mr. Banks's charitable efforts include his own Live Above and Beyond Foundation, and his enthusiasm for baseball, Wrigley Field and the people of Chicago is legendary and can best be symbolized by his phrase: "What a great day for baseball. Let's play two." He is the first sports figure to be honored as a "Legendary Landmark."

Lee Flaherty is CEO of Flair Communications Agency, a Chicago based marketing agency that he founded in 1964. In the company's 45 years in business, it and Mr. Flaherty have received many awards and accolades. In 1977, Mr. Flaherty founded the Chicago Marathon , underwrote the event for the first two years and managed it for 31 years. It is now the world's largest marathon with 45,000 runners, raising over $11 million annually for charity. Mr. Flaherty also co-founded the Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party, which raises $1.4 million a year for St. Frances Xavier Warde School and founded the Pets Are Worth Saving 4K dog walk, which raises $500,000 a year for a local pet clinic and adoption center.

Harold Ramis is a screenwriter, director and actor whose films include some of the most popular and influential comedies of our time: Analyze This, Animal House, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, National Lampoon's Vacation, and Stripes.

Among his numerous professional honors and awards, Mr. Ramis is the recipient of the American Comedy Award, the British Comedy Award, the BAFTA (British Academy) award for screenwriting (Groundhog Day) and The Just for Laughs Lifetime Achievement Award. Four of his films were listed among the American Film Institutes' "100 Funniest Movies," and Groundhog Day was recently chosen as one of the "101 Greatest Screenplays" by the Writers Guild of America. Mr. Ramis has also directed several episodes of television's award-winning series, The Office.

The celebrated black-tie event begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Red Lacquer Room followed by an elegant dinner in the Grand Ballroom, dessert, dancing and a live auction. The Gala's Master of Ceremonies is Chicago radio and television broadcaster Bob Sirott, and event co-chairs are Joseph M. Antunovich and Madeline Gelis. Tickets are $500/person and may be purchased by calling Landmarks Illinois at 312.922.1742. Information on the preservation advocacy programs of Landmarks Illinois can be found at .

Legendary Landmarks Gala
The Palmer House Hilton
17 E. Monroe, Chicago
Tomorrow, 6:30pm