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Entertainers play role in helping victims

SHARE Entertainers play role in helping victims

All too often we movie critics find ourselves railing against Hollywood and the film industry in general, so it's nice when you get the opportunity to say something positive about both of them.

However, it's unfortunate that it took something as horrifying, as tragic, as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to get them to do something good to write about.

In addition to the all-star telethon that aired on all the major networks Friday night, other celebrities have stepped up and pitched in when possible. For example:

Like many Americans, actors Robin Williams and Rob Lowe both waited hours to donate blood.

Actor/producer Robert De Niro, his production partner Jane Rosenthal and chef Don Pintabona have teamed up to feed hungry rescue crews in New York City.

Pintabona, the head chef at the Tribeca Grill, which De Niro co-owns, got several local five-star restaurants to donate meals for emergency workers.

And they've found a unique method to transport the meals to the tired and weary heroes — using luxury cruise ships and yachts, which are some of the only forms of transportation able to come and go in that area.

Speaking of feeding the hungry, actress Kathleen Turner helped serve meals to patients and those being treated at a New York hospital two days after the tragedy. The following day, she helped carry much-needed supplies to the help center in New York's Independent School.

Actress and animal lover Drew Barrymore also got into the act, donating money to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has set up a command center to help stranded pets and their owners.

And though her efforts might not be as tangible as those by the others, musician-turned-actress Courtney Love invested $200,000 in the New York Stock Exchange when it reopened, doing her part to revitalize the American economy.

Meanwhile, the nation's theater owners are also doing their part:

On Sept. 12 and 13, the United Artist theater in New York's Union Square ran films for free, even chipping in free popcorn and soda for everyone who attended movies there the day after the tragedy.

On a much-larger scale, members of the National Association of Theatre Owners are planning to make Tuesday, Sept. 25, "Victims' Benefit Day at the Movies."

On that day, proceeds from all ticket and concession sales at participating movie theaters nationwide will be donated in equal portions to the United Way of America's Sept.11th Fund, as well as the American Red Cross, both of which are organizing relief efforts for those affected by the tragedy.

"(We) recognize and commend the heroic efforts of the individuals and organizations who have worked so tirelessly in the rescue and relief operations. We want to help the cause," the group's president, John Fithian, said in a press release.

Among the theater chains participating are Carmike Theatres, Century Theatres, Cinemark USA, Inc. and Consolidated Theaters, all of which operate moviehouses locally. And nearly every theater nationwide is expected to pledge its support.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I had to be at the top of one of the towers for one of the scenes. I would probably have died if the shooting had gone ahead as planned. I guess my time is not up yet." — Jackie Chan, who was set to start shooting his action film "Nosebleed" at the World Trade Center on the same day as the terrorist attacks. The shoot was delayed because of script revisions.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com