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PALM LATITUDES

THE BIZ : Cause, Celeb

May 16, 1993|Idelle Davidson

On this coast anyway, a fund-raiser without a celebrity is like a day without a Sig Alert: unimaginable. And while Liz is already spoken for, Michael or Victoria might be available. Just call Barry Greenberg; he can set you up.

Greenberg's Celebrity Connections, located in--where else?--Beverly Hills, has access to thousands of entertainment, sports and other high-profile figures who lend their name to telethons, parades, public service announcements and other events whose goals they may support.

The process begins when the charity pays Greenberg a search fee of $750. Once a celebrity agrees to appear, a onetime appearance costs up to $2,000. The charity must also provide two first-class plane tickets, ground transportation and luxury hotel accommodations for out-of-town events.

A star's presence may help draw donations, but it also boosts a charity's public image, Greenberg says, noting that "people have fonder memories of events if someone like Bob Newhart was there."

Over the years, Greenberg has connected Michael J. Fox with the Spina Bifida Association of America and Victoria Principal with the Arthritis Foundation, but most of his celebrities are not exactly stars of the highest magnitude.

Celebrity Connections also helps nonprofit groups find celebrities worthy enough to honor. But as Greenberg points out, even the best of causes must be realistic. "A nonprofit organization could honor the Pope," he says, "but he probably wouldn't show."

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