Stars in the shad­ows: Hol­ly­wood ac­tors mum on do­na­tions to GOP

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Joseph Curl

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have been draw­ing sup­port — and cash — from Hol­ly­wood celebri­ties, but few of the stars in su­per-lib­eral Tin­sel­town want to be pub­licly linked with the Grand Old Party.

One high-profile celebrity, when asked about her po­lit­i­cal views, even had her lawyers de­clare “our client’s rights of pri­vacy and other legally pro­tectable in­tan­gi­ble rights” and warn that she should not be la­beled a Repub­li­can.

So far, just a hand­ful of ac­tors have come for­ward to sup­port Repub­li­can hope­fuls. Adam San­dler, who cast for­mer New York City Mayor Ru­dolph W. Gi­u­liani in a cameo role in his 2003 movie “Anger Man­age­ment,” has con­trib­uted $2,100 to Mr. Gi­u­liani’s cam­paign. The two met re­cently on Mr. San­dler’s movie set in New York.

For­mer “Frasier” star Kelsey Gram­mar and his wife also have tossed in $6,900 for the mayor.

But nei­ther would com­ment about their sup­port. In fact, not a sin­gle one of the dozen ac­tors con­tacted for this story who have been iden­ti­fied as con­ser­va­tive lean­ing would com­ment pub­licly.

“Bo isn’t avail­able [. . .] sorry,” said Bo Derek’s han­dler. “Mr. Cost­ner is not avail­able to be in­ter­viewed,” said Kevin Cost­ner’s pub­li­cists. “I’m sorry, but un­for­tu­nately Mel is un­avail­able to con­trib­ute,” said Mel Gib­son’s peo­ple.

While Democrats en­joy very pub­lic sup­port from Hol­ly­wood’s top ac­tors and mu­si­cians, who of­ten hold lav­ish events for their fa­vorite can­di­dates, Repub­li­can sup­port­ers in Hol­ly­wood try hard to keep their po­lit­i­cal views quiet.

“They learn very quickly, if they know what’s good for them, to do­nate to the Demo­cratic Party,” said Andrew Bre­it­bart, co-au­thor of “Hol­ly­wood, In­ter­rupted.” “If they were to do­nate to the Repub­li­can Party, they would be ex­posed to ca­reer-end­ing ridicule, pe­riod.”

Teri Hatcher, an ac­tress on the television show “Des­per­ate House­wives,” even for­warded an in­ter­view re­quest to her at­tor­neys. Ms. Hatcher, who had lunch in Fe­bru­ary in Bev­erly Hills with for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush, has re­peat­edly turned down in­vi­ta­tions to be on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Ma­her.” MSNBC re­ported that “a source” said “she’s not in-sync” with the ag­gres­sively lib­eral host, prompt­ing some to won­der if she is se­cretly con­ser­va­tive.

“Please be ad­vised that Ms. Hatcher is not a Repub­li­can, but more im­por tantly does not choose to have her po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion or view­points on any par­tic­u­lar can­di­date or is­sue in the cur­rent pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in­cluded in your pro­posed ar­ti­cle,” lawyer Barry W. Ty­er­man said in an e-mail.

Michael Medved, a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated con­ser­va­tive talk-show host and movie critic, said ac­tors are skit­tish for good rea­son.

“Peo­ple who might be a lit­tle bit in­se­cure about their sta­tus in Hol­ly­wood any­way wouldn’t want to am­plify that in­se­cu­rity by tak­ing out­spo­ken con­ser­va­tive po­si­tions,” he said.

Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer Joel Surnow, of the television show “24,” re­cently said he and other con­ser­va­tives in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try are lean­ing to­ward sup­port­ing the mayor, adding that Mr. San­dler “is go­ing to come out and sup­port Rudy Gi­u­liani.”

Of the few ac­tors who have de­clared sup­port for Repub­li­cans, only a cou­ple have pub­licly made state­ments. Robert Du­vall, star of such movies as “The God- fa­ther” and “Apoc­a­lypse Now,” en­dorsed Mr. Gi­u­liani, who dined with the Du­valls last month at their Vir­ginia es­tate.

“I don’t nor­mally get in­volved in pol­i­tics, but I think the stakes are too high this elec­tion,” the ac­tor said, but only in a state­ment re­leased by the cam­paign.

Ac­tor Chuck Nor­ris also has been out­spo­ken in his sup­port for for­mer Arkansas Gov. Mike Huck­abee. But most stay in the closet, Mr. Bre­it­bart said, and be­come mem­bers of what amounts to a se­cret so­ci­ety.

“They seek each other out on sets, they talk to each other se­cretly, they ex­change e-mails,” he said.

Still, Repub­li­cans have streamed into Hol­ly­wood for cash — for­mer Mas­sachusetts Gov. Mitt Rom­ney courted con­trib­u­tors in the state on Nov. 15 and held a town meet­ing just out­side Hol­ly­wood.

In the first nine months of this year, Sen. John McCain of Ari­zona pulled in $390,000 from Hol­ly­wood, with Mr. Gi­u­liani close be­hind at $360,000, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Re­spon­sive Pol­i­tics, a non­par­ti­san, non­profit re­search group based in Wash­ing­ton.

Those num­bers pale in com­par ison to Democrats. Sen. Hil­lary Clin­ton of New York drew $2.2 mil­lion from the movie, mu­sic and TV in­dus­tries over the same pe­riod. Sen. Barack Obama of Illi­nois pulled in $2.1 mil­lion from some A-list ac­tors, in­clud­ing Tom Hanks, Tobey Maguire, Ed­die Mur­phy, Ed­ward Nor­ton Jr., Morgan Free­man and Ben Stiller.

Mr. Bre­it­bart noted that seven anti-war films re­cently have bombed at the box of­fice, and said op­ti­misti­cally that Hol­ly­wood con­ser­va­tives may speak up more this elec­tion cy­cle.

“A lot of th­ese peo­ple re­ally be­lieve that we’re at cross­roads, whether or not we’re go­ing to be ag­gres­sively tak­ing on as­cen­dant rad­i­cal Is­lam,” he said. “At that point, you’ll see a lot of peo­ple come out of the closet.”

The po­lit­i­cal per­sua­sion that dare not speak its name. “24” pro­ducer Joel Surnow is one of the few vo­cal con­ser­va­tives in Hol­ly­wood.

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