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As power in the film industry shifted during the 1960s from the studios to the stars, Beatty helped to define the new opportunities available to Hollywood's brightest lights.Unsatisfied with appearing before the camera as a magnetic (if often veiled) leading man, he moved behind the scenes as a producer, director and writer. Although he campaigned some for causes and candidates through the early 1970s (especially for Democratic presidential nominee George Mc Govern in 1972), the cerebral, guarded and self-contained Beatty quickly came to pursue his political passions offstage.In his political life, Clooney is helping to forge the emerging model of 21st-century celebrity activism.Following a mold cut primarily by Bono (whom he freely acknowledges as an inspiration), Clooney is global in his orientation (his principal political cause has been the violence in Darfur); disciplined in his commitments (the relief telethon he organized after the Haitian earthquake was a rare break from his focus on Africa); interested more in direct action than in electoral politics (although he supports President Obama, he wasn't a visible figure in his campaign); willing to work with political leaders from both parties; measured in his public comments; and creative in his use of modern communications tools to advance his causes.Belafonte's compass has wobbled in recent years; his comments on foreign policy veered toward the fringe, and during the George W.Bush presidency he offensively compared Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice to house slaves.Clooney became perhaps the first celebrity with his own satellite when he partnered with Google, Harvard University and the United Nations to fund one to monitor potential violence during the voting on independence for south Sudan this year.Clooney has also been an institution builder, joining with actors Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and others to found Not on Our Watch, a group that aims to mobilize global attention in the wake of humanitarian disasters and atrocities.
For Mc Govern, Beatty did everything from organizing fundraising rock concerts to mounting a long-shot effort to persuade Hubert Humphrey to sign on as the nominee's running mate.
Inside the campaign, however, even Hart's most hard-bitten advisers viewed the star as a positive, creative and oddly stabilizing influence on the tightly wound candidate.
Occasionally impractical (and sometimes inscrutable) in his advice, Beatty was never again as involved in a campaign and frequently felt alienated from a national Democratic Party that sought the center.
But no entertainer did more to help lift the stain of state-sponsored segregation from the United States.
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