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PDS Gypsy Awards to Honor George Chakiris and Barrie Chase, Choreography Award To Toni Basil


PDS Gypsy Awards to Honor George Chakiris and Barrie Chase, Choreography Award To Toni Basil

Academy Award and Golden Globe winning performer George Chakiris and acclaimed dancer, Barrie Chase have been named the honorees for the Professional Dancers Society's (PDS) annual Gypsy Awards Luncheon, it was announced by PDS President, Mitzi Gaynor and PDS Board Chairman, Joni Berry. Emmy and Grammy nominated choreographer/director/singer Toni Basil will receive the organization's Choreographer's Award. PDS' 31st Anniversary Luncheon will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel (9876 Wilshire Blvd.) in Beverly Hills, CA.

"As we celebrate PDS's 31st Anniversary Luncheon, we are so pleased to be honoring three outstanding individuals, George Chakiris, Barrie Chase and Toni Basil, who have all made such an important impact in the entertainment and dance world," said Joni Berry, Luncheon Chairman.

The Professional Dancers Society (PDS) is an affiliate of The Actors Fund of America. PDS is a non-profit corporation formed to serve the professional dancer, active and inactive and with The Actors Fund of America is achieving the long-needed goals of low income housing; plus retirement and nursing facilities for dancers on both coasts. Previous Gypsy Award winners include Carol Burnett, Rita Moreno, Ben Vereen, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Carl Reiner, Ann-Margret, Florence Henderson, Mary Tyler Moore, Chita Rivera, Julie Andrews, Leslie Caron, Carol Lawrence, Paula Abdul and last year's honoree, Carol Channing.

The April 15th event will begin at 11:00am No Host Cocktails, followed by a Noon Luncheon and the Awards Show at 1:00pm. For more information about the event including tickets or ads, please visit or call (310) 278-5222.

About George Chakiris:

George Chakiris won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for his iconic role in WEST SIDE STORY. A native of Ohio, his parents were immigrants from Greece. A graduate of the American School of Dance, George made his film debut in the chorus of SONG OF LOVE. After appearing as a dancer or chorus member in musicals, he was featured as a dancer in Marilyn Monroe's number "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES and with Rosemary Clooney in "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" in WHITE CHRISTMAS. In 1961, George's biggest success arrived with the role of "Bernardo," leader of the Sharks, in the legendary film, WEST SIDE STORY. He appeared in the films DIAMOND HEAD and LES DEMOISELLES de ROCHEFORT alongside Gene Kelly. In addition to film, George appeared on Broadway and as "Riff" in the West End production of WEST SIDE STORY. He also embarked on a career as a pop singer. His television roles include WONDER WOMAN, MEDICAL CENTER, HAWAII FIVE-0, DALLAS, MURDER, SHE WROTE, SUPERBOY and the daytime drama, SANTA BARBARA.

About Barrie Chase:

Barrie Chase, child of entertainment parents, pianist Lee Keith and screenwriter Border Chase, was born in New York and relocated to Encino, CA. Barrie started her career in 1950 at the age of 17 in the chorus of a Hollywood Bowl production of DIE FLEDERMAUS. She then went on to work in the chorus of many Hollywood musicals including HANS Christian Anderson, CALL ME MADAM, BRIGADOON, KISMET, THE OPPOSITE SEX, PAL JOEY, LES GIRLS and two Fred Astaire films, DADDY LONG LEGS and SILK STOCKINGS. Barrie also acted in such films as WHITE CHRISTMAS, THE George Raft STORY, CAPE FEAR, IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (where she and Dick Shawn did their famous spaced-out gyrations) and THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX. As a dancer, Barrie has worked with Hermes Pan, Bob Fosse, Bob Sidney and Norma Kaye, among many other top choreographers. On television, Barrie was featured on THE Dean Martin SHOW, THE Carol Burnett SHOW and the TIMEX TV SPECIAL WITH Bob Fosse. While working as Jack Cole's assistant choreographer at MGM, Fred Astaire asked Barrie to dance with him in SILK STOCKINGS. Later, she danced with him on AN EVENING WITH Fred Astaire and became Fred's dancer partner on several television specials.

About Toni Basil:

Toni Basil is an Emmy and Grammy Award nominee. Toni began her career as a featured dancer in the iconic AIP Go-Go films and was assistant choreographer on films such as VIVA LAS VEGAS and TV's SHINDIG. As a choreographer, her credits include the films THE COOL ONES and VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS. Her acting credits include EASY RIDER and FIVE EASY PIECES. In the 1970's, Toni was a founding member of THE LOCKERS, "the group that changed the face of dance." The legendary street dance group performed on numerous television shows including THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH Johnny Carson, THE Carol Burnett SHOW, SOUL TRAIN and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and Toni is recognized as a seminal influence in bringing street dance to the attention of the American public. She co-directed and choreographed David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" tour and choreographed many tours for Tina Turner. She has also collaborated with Bette Midler on numerous projects. She choreographed the film, AMERICAN GRAFFITI, as well as LEGALLY BLONDE and THAT THING YOU DO!, among others. She was Emmy nominated for her work on THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR. Toni is also known for her groundbreaking Grammy nominated gold album, WORD OF MOUTH which features her double platinum smash hit single, MICKEY. Toni has choreographed and directed over 50 videos and commercials. She co-directed a Talking Heads video with David Byrne and has choreographed and co-directed concerts for Mick Jagger and David Lee Roth. Toni has also appeared as a judge on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. In 2008, Toni received the "Living Legend of Hip-Hop" Award. A filmmaker since she was eight years old, her films have been exhibited at numerous museums and a film about Toni, called BREAKAWAY, by contemporary artist Bruce Connor, was recently screened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

About The Professional Dancers Society (PDS):

The Professional Dancers Society (PDS) holds its Gypsy Awards luncheon honoring celebrities who have made a specific contribution to the entertainment field. The Luncheon serves as PDS' major fundraising event, bringing in upwards of $100,000 for the Actors Fund. This year marks PDS' 31stth year luncheon. PDS is a non-profit corporation formed to serve the professional dancer, active and inactive. There is no separation between ballet, Broadway, television, motion pictures, etc. Now PDS has joined forces with the Actors Fund of America, a national organization dedicated to the welfare of all entertainment professionals. Together, PDS hopes to achieve the goals long needed of low income housing, retirement and nursing facilities for all dancers. For more information on PDS, please visit

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