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Actors Giving Clothes Off Their Back for Charity

September 27, 2002|MICHAEL QUINTANILLA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

They sweated in them for almost two hours, but the actors wearing the designer gowns and tuxedos on the sweltering red carpet at Sunday's Emmy Awards have had their duds dry-cleaned.

And now Jane Kaczmarek's black lace creation by Heidi Kaczenski, Wendie Malick's champagne-colored cocktail dress by Estevan Ramos and Allison Janney's red number by Erik Gaskins are on the block at www.Ubid .com to raise funds for UNICEF, Cure Autism Now, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Heifer International.

The idea for the first "Clothes Off Our Back" charity auction, which runs through Oct. 7, came from a group of actors, including Kaczmarek, who is seven months pregnant; her husband, Bradley Whitford; and Janel Moloney.

"I'm not a sample size, so I always buy the gown, but it's pretty easy for celebrities to keep them. And you can never wear them again, so why not donate them to a great cause?" Kaczmarek said.

Some of the auctioned outfits were purchased by the actors; others were loaned to the stars by designers who later agreed to donate them to the cause, she said.

In all, 10 gowns and nine tuxes can be viewed on the Web site. They include the purple Halston worn by Patricia Clarkson, the Thierry Mugler creation for Patricia Heaton and the vintage Christian Dior that Jennifer Aniston wore, which as of midday Thursday had 23 bidders with the highest offer at $8,900.

Kaczmarek, who raises funds for several charities, said she and others had planned the first auction for last year, but the 2001 Emmys kept to a businesslike dress code in deference to Sept. 11. So she brought up the idea again this year and, with help from others, contacted nominees about participating. She also publicized the auction on the red carpet, handing out cards about the Web site. "The idea behind the auction is all about what can you do to give back."

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