Channeling Rita Hayworth



By Judy Carmack Bross



Cathleen Healy and Theresa DeMaria

Nearly 300 Chicagoans came together at the Four Seasons Chicago for the 35th annual Alzheimer’s Association Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala. Held annually in New York and Chicago, the Rita Hayworth events have collectively raised more than $86 million since 1984 to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association’s care, support and research programs, while bringing awareness to the disease.

Lauren Hughes in Rita Hayworth red. Osvaldo Montelongo, Illinois Chapter Board Member, with Delia Jervier, Exe

Osvaldo Montelongo, Illinois Chapter Board Member, with Delia Jervier, Executive Director of the Illinois Chapter

Jimmy Susan and Shea Draddy

A longstanding Chicago tradition, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan founded the gala more than three decades ago, inspiring millions of people around the world with the story of her mother, Rita Hayworth, a Hollywood legend whose life was cut short by early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

the world’s most famous redhead Rita Hayworth.

Princess Yasmin Aga Kahn, Natalie Morales, Jon Harris and Allie Harris at the Rita Hayworth Gala in 2018 Photo Credit Bill Richert

Princess Yasmin Aga Khan talked to Classic Chicago about starting this extraordinary fundraiser honoring her mother:

“My mother, Rita Hayworth, was a beautiful actress, dancer, and producer who was diagnosed in 1980 with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As we all know, Alzheimer’s and other dementias are still not spoken about as publicly as other illnesses and it’s a world problem. I made the tough decision to speak about my mother’s diagnosis publicly and in turn created the Rita Hayworth Galas, with the help of my mentor Jerome Stone, to honor her legacy and increase awareness of this devastating disease.”

Gala Chair Tara Gibney

Matt McGrath and Lourdes Duarte

Lourdes Duarte, WGN-TV anchor and investigative reporter and the evening’s emcee, was welcomed by gala chair Tara Gibney.

Kerry Peck, 2023 Philanthropy Award nominee

.Connect Care Hero founder Tornu N

Connect Care Hero founder Tornu Ngwayan, Victoria Reese with the Gala Mission Moment speaker Osvaldo Montelongo.

During the event, Dr. Maria Carrillo, Chief Science Officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, provided an update on the Association and the latest in Alzheimer’s research. Osvaldo Montelongo shared a powerful mission moment about his journey as a young primary caregiver for his father, who passed away with Alzheimer’s in 2018. Kerry Peck and Peck Ritchey, LLC were recognized with the 2023 Philanthropy Award for their commitment to the Alzheimer’s Association and dedication to Alzheimer’s Disease Planning and Elder Law.

Association Founder Jerome Stone’s son, James Stone, and granddaughter, Phoebe Nitekman, enjoy the Gala with their guests.

Devan Faris and Ana Redman


Today, more than six million Americans are living with the disease. In Illinois alone, there are more than 230,000 people aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s. Additionally, more than 11 million family members and friends serve as caregivers, including more than 312,000 Illinoisans providing unpaid care to a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Princess Yasmin Aga Khan talked with us earlier this year about her mother whom Fred Astaire said was his favorite dance partner.

Rita Hayworth

“There’s something iconic about the Golden Age of movies and the stars who were attached to those films. The incredible dancing also doesn’t hurt to increase the dazzle! My mother had a joy that shone through when she performed and that seems to still resonate with a lot of people.” 

Matt and Lauren Hughes of Barrington at the 2023 Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala xxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx

Longstanding supporters of the Alzheimers Association, Dan Murphy, Jr. and JoAnn Murphy, attended the Rita Hayworth Gala

Photos by Widia Viti and Robin Subar