Gregory Peck and his wife were among hundred persons at a dinner to benefit the Free Southern Theater on May 11, 1969, at the Waldorf-Astoria. The six-year-old FST makes theater available to the poor black communities of the rural South. Co-chairing the evening were Philadelphian Bill Cosby and North Carolina-born Ava Gardner, now living in London. For the first time the Waldorf offered soul food served family style (pass around servings at each table) consisting of fried chicken, beer, cornbread, collard greens, black-eyed peas, rice sweet potato pie, pecan pie and that very non-soulful dish consommé Madrilene. Among the guests were Lauren Bacall, Sidney Poitier, Neil Simon, Harry Belafonte, Ann-Margret, Soupy Sales, Diana Sands, Godfrey Cambridge, Pauline Trigere and Rosalind Russell.