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CAUSE CELEBRE

Quayle walks out of Mellencamp's concert

July 21, 2006|Tina Daunt | Times Staff Writer

For some stars, it's not all about box-office numbers or plastic surgery. (Although those things are important in this town). Some are actually thinking about the world beyond Hollywood. This column will explore the juncture between celebrity and politics.

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Singer John Mellencamp may have plenty of fans from his home state, but fellow Indianan Dan Quayle isn't one of them.

The former vice president was attending the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe, last Friday when he decided to stop by Mellencamp's concert at Harveys Lake Tahoe Casino.

Half way through the show, Mellencamp -- who didn't know Quayle was in the audience -- took a swipe at President Bush. When introducing the song "Walk Tall," Mellencamp said: "This next one is for all the poor people who've been ignored by the current administration ... "

Quayle then did some walking of his own -- and left the concert in protest.

"He decided enough was enough," said Craig Whitney, Quayle's spokesman. "He wasn't going to sit there and listen to this." Mellencamp said if he had known Quayle was there, he "certainly wouldn't have changed a word."

"I still feel there are many people left behind by this administration," the singer said in a statement. "Not talking about problems doesn't make them go away. It's kind of telling that he chose to walk out as I was doing a song about tolerance."

Let the Clinton credits roll ...

Democratic New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is raking in plenty of Hollywood cash -- much of it raised at a star-studded event held at supermarket magnate Ron Burkle's house in April.

Donors included Tom Hanks (who, along with his wife, Rita Wilson, gave $4,200), Owen Wilson ($2,100) and Billy Crystal ($4,000), according to her lastest financial report, which was viewed by the Associated Press. Other donors include director Rob Reiner ($3,200) and Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger ($2,100).

In all, Clinton has raised $43 million for her re-election effort -- or a White House run.

McConaughey donates dream car

The ad reads like a diary excerpt from a guy who finally found his dream-mobile: "Back in '98 I went to a California car show and was lookin' at getting a 1962 Vette, but this '71 Stingray caught my eye.... The lines on this Vette are my favorite lines on any sports car ... it's got the shoulders & the hips."

But, alas, actor Matthew McConaughey has decided that it's time to part with his beloved car -- a Mediterranean blue, Chevy Stingray convertible that he named Mako (as in the shark). He is selling the vehicle on EBay and will donate the money to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as part of Oprah's Angel Network. (The auction ends Thursday. Bids have topped $42,000.)

McConaughey said he's willing to let go of the car "because I'm fortunate enough to have everything I need, and the sale of it will help so many with the necessities in life."

Besides, he added: "I can't pull my Airstream with it!"

Fictional reporter, real support

Actress Mary Tyler Moore, chairwoman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, surprised reporters this week when she appeared on Capitol Hill before the Senate voted to approve a controversial bill to expand federal support of medical research using embryonic stem cells. (The bill was later vetoed by President Bush.)

One newspaper reporter, who described Moore as "slim and wearing a pantsuit," gave an account of the celebrity sighting: "She's being escorted to the elevator around the corner," Lynn Sweet wrote on the Chicago Sun-Times' website. "She exits on the third floor and is ushered into the Senate Gallery, entering a door near the Senate Press Gallery. (She's kind of press, right? Moore played Mary Richards, a news producer for WJM in Minneapolis in the 1970s ... )"

Moore, who had just finished a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), has made a number of trips in recent months to Washington in support of using stem cells to treat debilitating diseases.

Gore sticks with green theme

Former Vice President Al Gore joked recently that he would hand out popcorn if it meant getting people into theaters to see "An Inconvenient Truth," his documentary on global warming. (It hasn't come to that: The movie is doing well without Gore manning the concession stands.)

But with the DVD set for release later this fall, Gore doesn't want to lose momentum. When he traveled to Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., last week to show the film to company executives and nearly 800 employees, suppliers and contractors, it received a standing ovation -- and a pledge from Chief Executive Lee Scott that Wal-Mart would become an industry leader in the fight against global warming.

Now executives for the chain, a giant retailer of DVDs, are in talks with movie producers on ways to market "An Inconvenient Truth" when it comes out on DVD.

Gore is donating proceeds from the movie to combat global warming.

Gore told the gathering that he's heartened by Wal-Mart's commitment to tackling the environmental problem.

"The message from Wal-Mart today to the rest of the business community is there need not be any conflict between the environment and the economy. We will find the way ... to find new profits and new opportunities."

Wal-Mart officials say they're already taking taken steps to reduce energy use in stores by installing more efficient lighting and retrofitting refrigerators. They're also working with the automotive industry to develop hybrid trucks.

Tina Daunt can be reached at tina.daunt@latimes.com.

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