What do Tom Hanks and Pauly Shore have in common? About as much as Paul Newman and Jamie Foxx — and no, they’re not the cast for “Wild Hogs 2.”
They’re some of the prominent Hollywood types who’ve ponied up big bucks in the first six months of 2007 to support the presidential candidacies of Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, respectively, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
A glance at the hundreds of pages of donor lists for the top Republican and Democratic presidential wannabes is full of surprises — like, who knew Ben Stiller was the type to throw heavy chips down on several candidates? — but mostly it confirms the old myth that Tinseltown is a bastion of Democratic good feelings.
Among the actors and singers who’ve donated between $250 and the $4,600 maximum to Clinton’s campaign are: Danny DeVito, Tobey Maguire, Stiller, “Star Trek” actor George Takei, “The Office” actor Ed Helms, Michael Jackson spokeswoman Raymone Bain, Howard Stern regular Dominic Barbara, fashion icon Vera Wang and “The Nanny” star Fran Drescher. They join a list that includes the expected mix of bankers, real estate and insurance moguls, as well as former HBO boss Chris Albrecht and Madeleine Albright, the secretary of state during the Bill Clinton administration.
The list for top Democratic money-hauler Barack Obama is equally star-studded, including Foxx and Newman, as well as Jennifer Aniston, Jodie Foster, Cedric the Entertainer, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, former “Grey’s Anatomy” castmember Isaiah Washington, Edward Norton, Eddie Murphy, Zach Braff and Rancid singer Tim Armstrong. Albrecht also doubled-down on Obama, alongside Netscape/Ning founder Marc Andreessen, songwriter Johnta Austin (Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige) and Interscope TV and Film division head Polly Anthony.
In some cases — such as Maguire, Stiller, Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson — the actors donated to Obama in the first quarter and to Clinton in the second, exercising a rule that allows donors to give up to $4,600 ($2,300 each for the primary and general election) to as many different candidates as they choose.
Though his prospects are not as bright as the leading Democrats, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has some big-name firepower behind his campaign as well, including Michael Douglas, Val Kilmer, double-dippers Newman and Foster, Steven Steven Spielberg — who is officially endorsing Clinton — model Christie Brinkley and Bette Midler.
The star wattage dips a bit by the time you get to 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, who got $500 from controversial director Oliver Stone, as well as a $4,600 bump from Stiller and contributions from Albrecht, Dave Matthews Band member Boyd Tinsley, longtime Kiss manager Doc McGhee and Eagles singer Don Henley.
For now, the bottom-tier Democratic candidates have to settle for a “Surreal Life”-worthy cast of supporters, with Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich getting nods from “Will and Grace” actress Shelley “Rosario” Morrison, “Baywatch” co-star Alexandra Paul and “Days of Our Lives” actress Deirdre Hall; while Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd has to make do with modest donations from John Lithgow and the voice of “Kim Possible,” Christy Romano.
And while his acting cred is solid, it doesn’t seem likely that the $700 from “In the Cut” actor Mark Ruffalo is going to do much to help Alaska Senator Mike Gravel.
What about the top Republican candidates? They haven’t been totally dissed by Hollywood, though we couldn’t find any bold names on the list for one of the leading GOP candidates, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani might be sitting pretty at the polls, but so far his celebrity donations are thin, including Adam Sandler, ex-”Frasier” star Kelsey Grammer, “Dancing With the Stars” hoofer John O’Hurley, “Sopranos” co-star Tony “Paulie Walnuts” Sirico and ex-”Little House on the Prairie” star Melissa Gilbert.
And, in keeping with his rapidly fading profile, Arizona Senator John McCain’s star list is short, comprised most prominently of über-producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) and his wife.
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