January 16, 2009 / 12:31 AM / 11 years ago

Celebrities make Obama-inspired service pledges

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria Parker swore off plastic water bottles and “Charlie’s Angels” actress Lucy Liu also vowed to help the environment by riding the subway when she’s in New York.

Host Eva Longoria Parker dances on stage during the taping of the 2008 "NCLR Alma" awards at the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, August 17, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

In a show of support for President-elect Barack Obama’s call for community service, more than 50 Hollywood celebrities have pledged to take positive action, in a video from husband-and-wife acting duo Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.

The video will premiere on social networking website MySpace.com by next Monday, the day before Obama’s inauguration.

“There’s an assumption that this one man is going to take on his new job full-time and somehow wave a magic wand of change, and I don’t believe that to be true,” Kutcher, 30, told Reuters.

“I think that we have to be the leaders, and that’s not celebrities — I think that we as citizens have to be leaders of the movement that we want to create,” said the actor, best known for playing a dim-witted stoner in the teen sitcom “That ‘70s Show.”

Obama has appealed to Americans to help better their communities and he has promised to expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps.

It’s no surprise celebrities are among the first to respond, as Hollywood figures eagerly lined up behind Obama during his presidential campaign. But so far, few celebrities recording pledges have promised to sign up for programs Obama is expanding, preferring a more varied platter of projects.


Soleil Moon Frye, 32, a former child star from the 1980s sitcom “Punky Brewster,” pledged to support the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, a cause she is already involved in because her father suffers from it.

She believes a cure is possible — for future generations at least — for the disease that robs sufferers of memory.

“I just want my babies to be able to hold onto their memories and to be able to pass on the memories to their little ones, because how profound are our memories?” she said.

The other celebrities who recorded pledges included actresses Cameron Diaz, Dakota Fanning and Eva Mendes, and rock singer Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Comedian George Lopez jokingly pledged not to drive a hybrid-electric vehicle because “it’s not very Latino.” But he promised to be more inclusive and work for national unity.

“Entourage” star Kevin Connolly pledged to visit the Obama-created website usaservice.org and sign up for a community service project in his neighborhood.

Bob Stern, president of the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies, said Obama’s call for community service harkens back to appeals made by presidents John F. Kennedy, who established the Peace Corps, and George H.W. Bush, the current president’s father who inspired Americans to volunteer by speaking of “a thousand points of light.”

“I think (Obama’s appeal) could even be bigger, because people criticized Bush and they said, ‘Well you don’t really mean it, this is just a way to get government out of things,’” Stern said. “I think this will be more equivalent to Kennedy.”

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Dean Goodman

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