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CEO calls for hands-on help

May 28, 2008|TINA DAUNT | CAUSE CELEBRE

Entertainment industry moguls and various local billionaires seem to have two favorite California Republicans: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (of course) and the not as well known but equally liked Noel Irwin Hentschel.

This week, the Bel Air entrepreneur and GOP activist sent out a clarion call to all her friends in Hollywood (and everyone else on her vast e-mail contact list) to join her campaign to aid the victims of China's deadly earthquake.

Hentschel, CEO and co-founder of travel company AmericanTours International, has been working in conjunction with the Red Cross in China since the earthquake struck on May 12. (She left for Beijing soon after the quake hit.)

"As part of the immediate effort we are purchasing tents to help provide shelter to the 5 million people left homeless, many of whom are children sleeping in fields and parking lots," Hentschel wrote in her emergency missive. "These tents will be considered permanent housing for a very long time due to continuing aftershocks and soil instability."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, May 31, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
Noel Irwin Hentschel: The Cause Celebre column in Wednesday's Calendar section said that Noel Irwin Hentschel had run unsuccessfully for Congress against Rep. Hilda L. Solis in 2002. Hentschel ran against former state Sen. Diane Watson in 2001.

The fund, set up through her charity, the Noel Foundation (which she established after she met Mother Teresa in Calcutta in 1988), will also help build a school for children orphaned by the quake.

"The people here continue to be at extreme risk, from lack of shelter, medicine, food and clean water. This entire area is extremely unstable due to aftershocks and the imminent danger of dams breaking," Hentschel wrote in the e-mail. "Evacuations were underway in Beichuan and now are planned for Dujiangyan City. We felt the earth moving from the moment we arrived and it's evident that these people will need help for some time."

Hentschel serves on the L.A. World Affairs Council, the Board of Governors at Cedars-Sinai, and the arts council at the Vatican. She won cross-over support when she ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Rep. Hilda L. Solis in 2002. (Some of her campaign contributors at the time included Norman Lear, Alan Horn, Kirk Kerkorian, Eli Broad, Terry Semel, Jack Valenti, Dino De Laurentiis and Burt Bacharach.)

With longtime ties to China, Hentschel announced in April that she was joining Olivia Newton-John's "Great Walk to Beijing 2008" to fight cancer worldwide by holding a fundraiser for the singer-actress' group.

A neighbor of Semel, Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin, Hentschel (who also happens to be the niece of the late Georgia Frontiere, owner of the former L.A. and current St. Louis Rams), recently hosted a fundraiser for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign.

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tina.daunt@latimes.com

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