The Elios Charitable Foundation announces the HELLENIC CHARITY BALL 2017 Honorees

Debbie Matenopoulos, Evan Spiliotopoulos, Michael Zagaris, and Mistress of Ceremonies – Marilu Henner

The Elios Charitable Foundation‘s biennial Hellenic Charity Ball, honoring Hellenic Americans in the creative, artistic and entertainment worlds, announced its distinguished 2017 Honorees who include TV host Debbie Matenopoulos, screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos, and photographer Michael Zagaris.


The Hellenic Charity Ball was founded to celebrate and preserve the spirit, values and ideals of Hellenic culture and heritage. The Elios Charitable Foundation launched the Hellenic Charity Ball in 1997 as a way to continually note the ongoing arts and entertainment contributions of Greek-Americans on American culture.  This year’s gala takes place at the historic Fairmont Hotel San Francisco on Saturday, November 4, 2017.

The Hellenic Charity Ball is the principal source of funding for the Foundation’s philanthropic endeavors.  The gala benefits the continuing philanthropic mission of the Foundation to preserve the values of Hellenic culture through its grants, sponsored projects and programs. Previous recipients include the Nemea and Tebtunis archaeological research projects at the University of California at Berkeley, the Modern Greek Studies Programs at San Francisco State University and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, the graduate student research of the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection at Sacramento State University, the National Hellenic Society’s Heritage Greece Program, the Kairos Youth Academy, the annual San Francisco and Los Angeles Greek Film Festivals, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for its acquisition of major pieces of ancient Greek art as well as its extensive onsite program for middle school children to study and explore ancient Greek art, among others. For twenty-two years, the Foundation has also been a leading underwriter of the nationally-acclaimed three-day Folk Dance and Choral Festival.

The Hellenic Charity Ball is an elegant, black-tie celebration that attracts influential taste-makers and industry leaders. The evening’s festivities will include a formal seated dinner at the Fairmont hotel atop Nob Hill, followed by the awards show, which will include previous honoree, Marilu Henner, as emcee. The evening’s program will include presentations, performances and specially produced videos celebrating the Honorees’ Greek heritage and their notable careers followed by live dancing to Hip Service and Greek dancing to Mediterranean Soul.

The Fairmont Hotel San Francisco is located at 950 Mason Street in San Francisco. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


Your 2017 Elios Award Recipients …


Debbie Matenopoulos, TV Host/Journalist

Debbie Matenopoulos is a three-time Emmy® nominee for her celebrated work as a TV host and journalist. She began her career in entertainment at the age of seventeen when she was hired by MTV. At twenty-one, she became the youngest person in history to hold a permanent co-host position on daytime network television when Barbara Walters handpicked her to be one of the first five cohosts of ABC’s venerable talk show The View.

After The View, Debbie went on to host shows for FOX (Good Day Live), the Style Network (the Emmy-nominated Instant Beauty Pageant), and E! (Live from the Red CarpetThe Daily 10Fashion Police), among others. She was instrumental in the launch of the TV Guide channel as one of its first on-camera hosts, and she has appeared in several films.


Most recently, Debbie served as co-host of CBS Television’s Emmy®-nominated The Insider. She is currently the co-host of Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family as well as a special correspondent for CBS Television’s flagship entertainment news show Entertainment Tonight.

Most important to Debbie is her Greek heritage. She is the first member of her all-Greek family to have been born in the United States. A Greek American girl at heart, her love of family, love of tradition, and love of her Greek culture is essential to her above all else. She is passionate about sharing her experience with food, health, wellness, and family.



Evan Spiliotopoulos, Screenwriter

Evan Spiliotopoulos is a Greek-American screenwriter. Born in Greece, Spiliotopoulos moved to the United States after high school where he graduated from the University of Delaware, and the American University in Washington D.C. where he was awarded a Master’s degree in Screenwriting. After moving to Los Angeles in 1995, his first job in the industry was as an intern for Trial by Fire.

Since the late 90’s, he has been a non-stop working Hollywood screenwriter, teaming up with the leading companies in the Motion Picture and Television Industries, which include: Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, New Line Cinema, Walt Disney Studios, Amazon, Paramount Pictures, MGM, The Weinstein Company, and Sony Animation.

Evan began his career writing on numerous animated films for Disneytoon Studios including: Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, The Little Mermaid 3, and Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure.


After his successful stint in the animated world, Evan made the transition into live action in 2005.

His draft of Snow White and The Huntsman got the green light at Universal Pictures, in addition to procuring the attachment of co-lead Chris Hemsworth. Subsequently, Universal hired him to write The Huntsman: Winter’s War which starred Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain. He also co-wrote the 2014 hit Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson.

In the past few years, Evan has worked with Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Brett Ratner, Bill Condon, Chris Columbus, JJ Abrams, McG and Timur Bekmabetov. Evan’s most recent work is the Disney release, Beauty and the Beast, with Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellen, Josh Gad, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Kline and Emma Thompson.



Michael Zagaris, Photographer

Michael Zagaris grew up in the central valley of California. In 1967 he entered law school and also started working for Robert Kennedy on his presidential campaign. The trauma of witnessing Kennedy’s assassination first hand propelled Zagaris away from politics and into photography. Taking photos started out as a hobby but soon became a career and Michael captured the most influential musicians of that period. He also captured some of the most vital counterculture figures of the time including Jim Caroll, who used one of Michael’s portraits for the cover of his book, Basketball Diaries.


Michael’s photographs have been dubbed the “last untouched rock archive.” He was responsible for shooting everyone in the rock music scene in San Francisco in the 1970s, including The Clash, Grateful Dead, Blondie, The Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Led Zeppelin, and many more. His recent book, Total Excess, is a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain of the rock and roll scene.



It was also during the 1970s that Michael started shooting professional sports. He began as a team photographer for the San Francisco 49ers in 1973, and the Oakland Athletics in 1981, both of which he continues to shoot to this day. To date Michael has photographed 34 Super Bowls, 12 World Series, and 14 All Star games. His photos have graced countless publications including the coveted Sports Illustrated cover as well as Time magazine.



Marilu Henner, Actress/Health and Wellness Expert

Best known for her acting career in film and television, Marilu Henner’s work includes her break-through role as receptionist-turned-cabbie Elaine Nardo on Taxi, films such as The Man Who Loved Women, L.A. Story, and Perfect, and the hit TV sitcom, Evening Shade. This five-time Golden Globe Nominee also served as host of the PBS series America’s Ballroom Challenge and competed in the first Celebrity Apprentice.

Marilu is also a New York Times Best Selling author of nine books on health, parenting, memory, and lifestyle improvement. As one of only twelve people documented with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, she was the subject of a two-part special on 60 Minutes and on 60 Minutes Australia, as well as featured in news programs and articles throughout the world.

Since last joining the HCB in 2015, she has shot eight movies and showcased her dancing roots as she advanced to the semi-finals on Dancing With The Stars in 2016.



Email the author: The Hellenic Journal

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