Celebrities act right: From Hollywood’s golden age to today’s biggest names
They were part of a Hollywood that celebrated patriotism, like John Wayne in “The Green Berets,” Gary Cooper in “Sergeant York,” and Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
And it was a time when Hollywood embraced political freedom, allowing its stars to openly support the political affiliation many shared, the Republican Party.
In that golden age of Hollywood, Republicans also counted among their ranks such stars as Doris Day, Eva Gabor, Irene Dunn, Charlton Heston, and of course, Ronald Reagan.
The silver screen once mirrored the cultural identity of the nation and affirmed the American way of life, but the cultural revolution of the 1960s changed all that and now an afternoon at the cinema is more likely to feature a castigation of American values and the demonization of U.S. military missions.
Today, Hollywood is a shining symbol of the liberal left, an ambassador for the Democratic Party that in 2008 contributed more than $36 million to like-minded politicians.
Instead of Lou Costello, we have Bill Maher, rather than the movie classics created by Cecil B. DeMille or Frank Capra, we get Oliver Stone and Michael Moore, and Frank Sinatra has been replaced with Barbra Streisand.
“They are uninteresting, they’re vicious, they’re vitriolic and they are really, really not good people,” is how Andrew Breitbart, the late crusader against Hollywood liberalism, once described the new scene.
Today’s Republican stars
That’s not to say there aren’t any Republicans left in Hollywood, and some of them aren’t afraid to admit it, including Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, David Lynch, Shannen Doherty, and Clint Eastwood, who has endorsed Mitt Romney.
Actor Kelsey Grammer is also supporting Romney and recently told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the former governor would “make a terrific president.”
But appearing recently on The Tonight Show, Grammer questioned whether his Republican politics cost him an Emmy nomination this year for his work on “Boss.”
“I am a declared, out-of-the-closet Republican in Hollywood. So, do I believe it’s possible that some young voting actor or even older voting member for the Emmys would sit there and go, ‘That’s a great performance, but I hate everything he stands for?’”
Gary Sinise, a Hollywood hero for military veterans, attended the 2008 Republican convention, as did actor Jon Voight and country legend John Rich.
One celebrity scheduled to speak at this year’s convention is Janine Turner, an actress whose credits include “Friday Night Lights” and “Northern Exposure.”
The music world will be well represented in Tampa at private parties as well as official convention functions. Kid Rock will perform, as will Trace Adkins and Rodney Atkins. Willie Nelson and Randy Travis were set to perform, but Nelson reportedly backed out due to illness and Travis is dealing with a recent alcohol-related arrest.
Interestingly, Obama supporter and rapper Wyclef Jean will replace the duo at an event hosted by Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) wife Cindy and daughter Meghan.
The Urban Daily writes that the announcement comes “as a shock,” and that the musician once called himself an Obama groupie.
“So what would make an adamant Democrat, like Wyclef Jean, make a deal with the opposing team to perform at their event?” the Urban Daily asked. “Who knows, but Jean has been relatively silent about who he is endorsing for this election. Furthermore, Wyclef Jean has come out and said he likes Sarah Palin.”
The classic Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd will give a concert, and front man Johnny Van Zant tells Politico he is hoping to make a name for the band in Republican politics.
Van Zant did not vote for Obama in 2008, and remains skeptical of the Democrat’s policies. “His whole platform was change, change. Well, very little has changed, I know, for the people that are our fans,” Van Zant told Politico. “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve heard the president (say) we’re asking the rich to take a little bit more in taxes. Well, that’s not asking, that’s telling. I still believe in the trickle down effect.”
Jeff Bridges of “The Big Lebowski” fame, says he doesn’t dig party lines, so he will be attending both the Republican and Democrat conventions to promote No Kid Hungry, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger.
Kid Rock will also be performing at a private party hosted by the Republican National Convention, and other invitation-only functions will feature Gregg Allman and Friends, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Better than Ezra, Blues Traveler, and Drive By Truckers.
What to say if you see one
Okesene Tilo, marketing director of the Ritz Ybor, knows his way around the red carpet and gave the Tampa Bay Times some helpful tips on getting a photo or autograph with convention-going celebrities.
He advises fans to be respectful—those who are rude or verbally disagreeable over politics will be ignored. “Be straightforward. Try to keep it short and sweet, and always know what you’re talking about. Usually they will accommodate you if you aren’t going to take up a lot of time,” Tilo said.
Show that you are a devoted fan to separate others vying for a musician’s attention: “Instead of saying, ‘I love your new album,’ say, ‘I love track six of your new album.’”