Hollywood's helping hands
Disney to aid fire relief efforts with money ... and Mickey.
Disney will send some familiar characters over to Qualcomm Stadium, where thousands of San Diego evacuees are staying, as well other shelters in the next week. (Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images / October 25, 2007)
Despite the temper tantrums, the power plays, the backstabbing and the manipulation, it's an industry that tends to do the right thing during an emergency.
So it's not surprising to find that Hollywood has reacted quickly to aid in the wildfire relief efforts.
Disney announced that it would donate $2 million to the relief effort, with $200,000 of that going to the Red Cross for immediate needs and the rest earmarked for volunteer centers, rebuilding and restoring the environment.
And because it's Disney, the company will send some familiar characters over to Qualcomm Stadium, where thousands of San Diego evacuees are staying, as well other shelters in the next week.
Nothing says "feel better" like a pat on the head from Mickey.
The Red Cross reports that actress Victoria Principal ("Dallas") has donated $50,000 to its relief efforts, that Judith Light ("Ugly Betty," "Who's the Boss?") has taped a public service announcement in response to the fires and that both Jewel and Ali MacGraw have offered to volunteer.
In addition, Malibu resident Jeffrey Katzenberg put out a statement championing the "Herculean" efforts of the firefighters in Malibu and thanking them for keeping his and his neighbors' homes safe from the flames.
Katzenberg's partner in DreamWorks, David Geffen, offered up his hotel, the Malibu Beach Inn, to two dozen evacuees and a rotating group of more than 90 firefighters who were invited to grab a room, sleep and shower before heading back out to battle the flames. The hotel, which had been booked full for the weekend, was left empty when the fires started.
"Why be empty? I'd rather it go to good use," managing director Alan Goldschneider told Reuters. "They try to throw down money and their credit cards, but we're not charging a soul. They're saving our houses."
The talent agencies are pitching in as well. Michael Donkis, a spokesman for Endeavor, which represents such A-listers as Ben Affleck, Adam Sandler and Martin Scorsese, said the boutique agency with about 250 employees was planning to conduct a clothing drive around the first of November, collecting both business attire for people who lost their work wardrobes in the fires as well as general clothing for families. The agency also plans to hold a food drive in November and a toy drive right after Thanksgiving.
"We look at the Red Cross and the United Way, and they are doing a great job in the short term," Donkis said. "We thought maybe we don't need to pitch in today, but they are going to have needs for the next few months."
Chris Day, a spokesman for the United Talent Agency, which reps Ben Stiller, Johnny Depp and Vince Vaughn, said that the agency was still planning what it would do, but that its in-house UTA Foundation had been providing information to agents about volunteering in shelters, making financial donations and giving blood.
Among the studios, a spokesperson for Sony said that it would put out an announcement regarding its relief plans next week, but that in the meantime the studio had provided basic communications gear in response to a request from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.