The charitable Dallas lunch bunch was in for a treat recently when actress Robin Wright popped into town for a chat at the downtown Omni Hotel. The House of Cards star had a clear purpose in returning to the city where she was born: support Phoenix House Texas at its largest fundraising event, the Triumph for Teens luncheon.
Wright skipped onto the stage, looking adorable in her pageboy cap and menswear-inspired laceups, and settled into a chair opposite emcee Ron Corning, who referenced Wright’s Texas roots. The actress smiled and said she still had family in Weatherford, Coppell and Tyler.
The juicier tidbits of the conversation centered on her experience on House of Cards — how Netflix has been revolutionary in its programming, how the show inspired her to direct, and how costar Kevin Spacey was good at reminding her when she wasn’t acting enough like her character, Claire Underwood, in a scene. But her more significant and relevant remarks revolved around her experience as a mother of teens.
Wright said she “tries not be too reactive to their stories” and shared a good approach to speaking with kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol: Frame it like, here’s what you do if your friends find themselves in trouble. She credited friend Leslie Lanahan for that advice.
Lanahan, along with her husband, Michael, were the day’s recipients of the Hope Award, given to those who go above and beyond to educate our community, raise awareness about the dangers of substance abuse and offer hope for addition-free lives. The couple founded the Gordie Foundation in Dallas in 2004, after their 18-year-old son, Gordie, died of alcohol poisoning in a fraternity hazing incident at the University of Colorado.
During her acceptance speech, Lanahan said Gordie’s death was completely preventable, and they formed the foundation to help kids navigate the peer pressure around alcohol and binge drinking. Once in Dallas, the foundation is now the Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Wright has served as honorary spokesperson for the foundation, and she also provided the introduction to the 2009 documentary Haze, which explores the environment on today’s college campuses that leads to alcohol-related deaths like Gordie’s.
“I’m honored to call her a good friend,” Lanahan said.
The Triumph for Teens luncheon raises critically needed funds to sustain Phoenix House Texas substance abuse treatment programs. Phoenix House Texas serves more than 15,000 people each year with innovative prevention, intervention, residential and outpatient treatment programs, as well as recovery support services for both adolescents and adults.