||USA: Hollywood hails U2's Bono for philanthropy.
By Dean Goodman
Reuters English News Service
HOLLYWOOD, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Hollywood stars such as Tom Cruise and
Kevin Spacey, and rock bands No Doubt and R.E.M. tossed valentines to
U2 singer Bono at a fund-raiser on Thursday marking the outspoken
Irishman's "extraordinary philanthropy."
The first annual "Love Rocks" concert was held in Bono's honor, and
also brought out the likes of comedians Ray Romano and Drew Carey,
actor Sean Penn, R&B singer Lauryn Hill and Walt Disney Co. Chairman
Michael Eisner. The event was designed to raise money for
Bono, a.k.a. Paul Hewson, was feted with the "Heart of Entertainment"
award for what organizers described as "his extraordinary
philanthropy and dedication to improving the lives of millions of
people throughout the world."
In his two decades at the helm of his politically active rock group,
Bono has championed such causes as debt relief and AIDS awareness in
the Third World, and worked with such groups as Amnesty International
Cruise told the crowd at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre that Bono "makes
us all proud to be human." Former President Bill Clinton and Rolling
Stone Mick Jagger sent congratulatory videos. R.E.M. singer Michael
Stipe described Bono as a "singer, songwriter, statesman, fashion
R.E.M. performed a short set that included a cover of "I Got You
Babe" during which pop diva Cher made a surprise appearance from the
wings to duet with Stipe on her '60s classic. She said it was the
first time she had ever performed the song without her late former
husband, Sonny Bono.
Later, R.E.M. performed U2's mournful ballad "One" with help from
Bono on vocals.
In accepting his award, Bono proudly described himself as "a thorn in
the shoe" of President George W. Bush's administration because of his
efforts to apprise U.S. lawmakers of suffering in the world's poorest
Earlier this month at the World Economic Forum in New York, Bono's
lobbying charmed hardened businessmen and politicians such as
Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul
Wearing his trademark wraparound sunglasses, Bono told the
sympathetic Hollywood crowd that 28 million HIV-positive people in
sub-Saharan Africa would leave behind 100 million AIDS orphans by the
end of the decade.
"This is probably the greatest threat to humanity that the world has
seen really since the bubonic plague took out about a third of Europe
in the Middle Ages," he said.
He challenged the creative minds in Hollywood to help end suffering.
He noted that 8 million people died each year from preventable
diseases that could be avoided with the expenditure of $30 on each
Still, even a charismatic rock star knows he can command people's
attentions for only so long.
"I guess right down the hall from beatification comes crucifixion, so
I better enjoy this," he said.