Tom Hanks is Hollywood's go-to Mr. Nice Guy, and he has no bigger fans than the surviving veterans of Easy Company, America's most celebrated fighting unit of World War II.
This past week Hanks, who helped immortalize historian Stephen Ambrose's account of the company's war in the HBO series "Band of Brothers," accompanied the surviving vets to Normandy for the 65th anniversary of D-day, attended by the presidents of the U.S. and France among others.
It was an emotional journey for the actor, who has spent a great deal of time meeting war veterans since playing a soldier himself in the Steven Spielberg movie "Saving Private Ryan."
On a train ride from Paris to Normandy, eight surviving members of Easy Company recounted their stories for Hanks and his traveling partner, Hollywood political consultant Andy Spahn.
"It was very moving," said Spahn. "Hearing their stories and seeing them together, with the bonds they have. They talked of 'the greatest generation' and their hopes for the president and this generation." (Don't worry. You'll get to see the conversation for yourself sometime soon. An HBO crew came along to film Hanks and the veterans.)
At Normandy, they listened to the speeches and mingled with the world's leaders. Spahn had arranged for Hanks to have some private time to talk to President Obama.
Both Hanks and Spielberg were present for the 60th anniversary of D-day in Normandy five years ago. But this time was different. There were fewer WWII veterans left to mark the occasion.
"Tom wanted to be there for the vets," Spahn said.
The fact that the actor got a private meeting with Obama was just a bonus.
Chrysalides to butterflies
Stars turned out by the dozens Saturday night in Brentwood and raised more than half a million dollars for Chrysalis, a nonprofit group that assists homeless and economically disadvantaged people in Los Angeles County.
"This evening brings much-needed attention to the homelessness in Los Angeles," event emcee Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the television series "Family Guy," told the crowd gathered at the home of Hayward Kaiser and Susan Harris for the group's 8th Annual Butterfly Ball.
Chrysalis "is helping put thousands of the members of this economically disadvantaged population back to work, back into society and back with their families and friends," MacFarlane said.
Among those attending the fundraiser were: Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Bynes, Amaury Nolasco, AnnaLynne McCord, Annette Bening, Brad Rowe, Bruce Cohen, Camille Guaty, Chace Crawford, Chelsea Handler, Dan Jinks, Doug Ellin, Eve, Faith Evans and much of the cast of "Entourage" (Jerry Ferrera, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Perrey Reeves and Rex Lee).
Over the last 25 years, Chrysalis has provided employment services to more than 2,500 people annually through its service centers in downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica and the San Fernando Valley.
The group offers services including job-preparation classes, one-on-one mentoring, interview clothing, bus tokens and access to phones, computers and fax machines.
Cohen and Jinks -- producers of the Oscar-winning films "American Beauty" and "Milk" -- were given a special award for their work on behalf of the organization.
"Bruce and I went to Chrysalis headquarters in downtown L.A. a few months ago," Jinks told the crowd. "In addition to meeting the clients that they serve and meeting the people in the trenches who work with them, we saw where they lived. I have been a L.A. resident for almost 18 years so obviously I knew there was a homeless problem in L.A. In these tough economic times that we are going through, they truly need us now more than ever."