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Celebrities Splurge on Obama Festivities

James Hirsen By Tuesday, 23 December 2008 02:34 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Celebrities Splurge on Obama Festivities
2. Tom Cruise’s John Wayne Inspiration
3. Madonna and A-Rod on Adoption Flight to Malawi?
4. Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, and the Clinton Foundation
5. Bernie Madoff's Hollywood Heist

1. Celebrities Splurge on Obama Festivites

During the drawn-out campaign for the White House, President-elect Barack Obama got the lion’s share of celebrity endorsements.

Now, on the eve of his inauguration, stars are queuing up to write checks that will fund black-tie bashes for the 5 million or so folks who are expected to attend the festivities.

Incoming presidents typically rely on private money to finance inaugural galas. In Obama’s case, though, the word “typical” doesn’t accurately describe the list of party patrons.

Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, and Jamie Foxx are included among the famous donors for the Washington, D.C. main event set for Jan. 20, 2009. Each gave $50,000, according to the New York Post.

Of course, each also received a coveted ticket for the Barack Hussein Obama swearing in ceremony.

2. Tom Cruise’s John Wayne Inspiration

Joseph Stalin wanted him dead. Liberals still revile him.

But to Tom Cruise, the late great John Wayne served as an inspiration for his role in “Valkyrie.”

Cruise’s latest movie has a plot line that centers around a plan hatched by a group of German officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

For his onscreen portrayal of a Nazi colonel it was necessary for Cruise to wear an eye patch throughout the project.

The prop evidently caused equilibrium issues for Cruise.

It appears as though once again the “Duke” saved the day.

“I remember as a kid seeing John Wayne in 'True Grit,'” Cruise told David Letterman while appearing on his late-night show. “He had the eye patch — I didn't realize. I got a little nauseous when I first put it on. I lost depth perception, I was banging into things, I thought of John Wayne on the horse, and what it must've been like for him.”

Cruise added that Wayne “made it look so easy.”

Wayne made courage, gallantry, and love of country look easy, too.

3. Madonna and A-Rod on Adoption Flight to Malawi?

Madonna is reportedly going back to the impoverished nation of Malawi to adopt another child.

This time she’s taking baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez along with her.

Only months after splitting with spouse Guy Ritchie, the material girl has reportedly signed documents for an additional Malawi adoption.

In 2006 Madonna adopted son David Banda, while reports circulated about alleged objections by the birth father and protests by human rights organizations.

The new child is a 4-year-old girl named Mercy James. Mercy’s 18-year-old mother apparently died 18 days after she was born.

Earlier reports indicated that Madonna and Ritchie had been interested in adopting the child months ago.

Mercy’s grandfather told Star magazine, “It breaks our hearts to know she will leave us, but adoption is best for her.”

4. Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, and the Clinton Foundation

Predictably, there is an array of stars on the list of those who generously gave to former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.

The late Paul Newman, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Barbra Streisand all donated between $500,000 and $1 million.

After all the sleepovers in the Lincoln bedroom during the 1990s, Streisand gave her half-million to the Clinton Foundation in 2006, with a request that the donation be used to combat global warming.

Streisand and Spielberg are both advised in their charitable and political contributions by longtime Hollywood consultant, Margery Tabankin, who regularly receives calls from Democrat candidates.

Incidentally, Denise Rich, spouse of pardoned fugitive Mark Rich, gave the ex-prez’s foundation $450,000.

5. Bernie Madoff's Hollywood Heist

Some of Hollywood’s biggest names have had the misfortune of finding out that money they had invested with Bernie Madoff has vanished.

Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks fame may have lost millions in Madoff's alleged Ponzi scheme, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Spielberg and Katzenberg’s Wunderkinder Foundation had investments with Madoff that were made on the two celebrities’ behalf by their business manager.

Eric Roth, who wrote the screenplay for “Forrest Gump” and recently received a Golden Globe nomination as screenwriter of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” lost all of his retirement money.

Madoff, who was once the chairman of Nasdaq, helped the upstart stock trading facility rise to become a respected alternative to the New York Stock Exchange.

When it came to the methods that his now defunct investment firm used to achieve unusually consistent returns, Madoff was quite secretive. Reports sent to investors by him only disclosed general strategies, such as using stock options to take advantage of market volatility.

Now the mystery is beginning to be revealed. Madoff was paying existing investors with money from new investors. When the credit crunch hit, things swiftly fell apart.

At the time, if Madoff were managing your money, you had bragging rights. That’s how hot he was. Sources indicate that plenty of other entertainment industry figures have lost big-time in the alleged scam.

Hollywood is unique, even in the financial sense. This is partly because there’s a fame meter that operates, and residents are all tuned in. A continuous internal read is taking place, and externals are used to project one’s measure. How much fame does one possess? Stars consciously and subconsciously assess each other’s scores and respond accordingly.

Madoff’s score was super high, the result of his own eventual level of investment celebrity.

Like a Ponzi scheme, though, fame had been artificially multiplied for Madoff, which he used to gain more Hollywood clients, and so on. When the bottom fell out, the fame itself changed character.

As circumstances unfold, Madoff’s score on the fame meter may still remain high, but it won’t be a measure he’ll feel proud of.

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Celebrities Splurge on Obama Festivities2. Tom Cruise’s John Wayne Inspiration3. Madonna and A-Rod on Adoption Flight to Malawi?4. Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, and the Clinton Foundation5. Bernie Madoff's Hollywood...
Tuesday, 23 December 2008 02:34 PM
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