A star-studded TV telethon featuring Cameron Diaz, Robert Redford, Justin Bieber and Sting has raised more than $1.3 million to boost clean-up efforts along America's Gulf Coast in the wake of the oil disaster.
A huge host of celebrities turned out to appear with veteran newsman Larry King for a special two-hour live broadcast on Monday night. The show saw stars including Jenny McCarthy and Ted Danson manning the phones to take donations in a bid to boost funds for those affected by the massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, which has been drifting ashore since a BP rig ruptured in April.
Country singer Tim McGraw was among the first to plead with the public to pledge cash to the cause, insisting the people of his native Louisiana need help: "It's devastating. Anybody that's ever been down there will tell you that it's some of the finest people you will ever meet down in South Louisiana. And they will give you their shirt off their back... And they're in trouble... It's just heartbreaking."
Actors Cameron Diaz and Robert Redford also called on the public to hand over their hard-earned cash, with the Charlie's Angels star insisting the situation on the Gulf Coast makes her "sad and mad and sick at heart" and Redford adding, "(I'm feeling) heartbreak. Frustration, because I think it was avoidable."
Teenage singer Justin Bieber also joined the show in a bid to encourage younger viewers to get involved, and he addressed his message to his fans, saying, "The oil disaster in the Gulf has been a big problem. But every little bit can help. There's no such thing as being too young to pitch in. And this is urgent. What we do now can affect our future. You can donate money or time or anything to the groups that you've heard about on this show."
The show also saw a performance from British rocker Sting, who dedicated his track Fragile to all those affected by the disaster: "I want to dedicate this next song to all the people in the gulf who have lost their livelihoods because of this terrible oil spill. All the animals, all the birds we're losing, and to remember that our ecology is very fragile."
Other stars to have made an appearance on the show include Lenny Kravitz, Harry Connick, Jr., Gavin Rossdale and The Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder, who initially called for a celebrity telethon to raise money for the cause. Former Fall Out Boy rocker Pete Wentz also appeared on the broadcast, and admitted his wife Ashlee Simpson-Wentz was planning to make a large donation, as long as she could get her picture taken with True Blood star Sam Trammell, who was also taking part in the show. He told King, "She was going to make a generous donation if she could get a picture with Sam over there."
The Disaster in the Gulf: How You Can Help special had raised $1.3 million by the time it went off air, and donations to charities including the United Way, National Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy are expected to rise.